The Handmaid’s Tale: 9 Key Moments from the First Three Episodes

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The Handmaid’s Tale — “Birth Day” — Episode 102 — Offred and her fellow Handmaids assist with the delivery of Janine’s baby, prompting Offred to recall her own daughter’s birth. Offred draws closer to Ofglen while dreading a secret meeting with the Commander. Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), shown. (Photo by: George Kraychyk/Hulu)

Playing Scrabble

How much can you pack into a simple word game? If you’re The Handmaid’s Tale, the answer is “a lot.” As we later hear in a voiceover, it’s an “illicit journey into the world of triple word scores,” which underscores the forbidden nature of something so simple as playing a game where Offred has to read in order to play. Remember: that’s forbidden to the handmaids. Think back to Loaves and Fishes from the first episode. There aren’t even any words on the cans we see, just pictures.

But there’s still more to look at. When determining who goes first, she and the Commander spell out the word am. One’s reminded of Descartes’ “I think, therefore I am,” because it’s true that Offred is still thinking and still existing as June if her last voiceover in the first episode is any indication.

A close look at the board shows that a couple of the words played include nation and zygote. The only reason Offred’s there to play with the Commander in the first place can be summed up with those two words, basically.

It’s all a little silly when you think about it, down to the handshake at the end. No wonder Offred has a miniature giggle fit in her room afterward.