Hulu Recap: The Handmaid’s Tale, Episode 9, “The Bridge”

Warning: Graphic content and general depressing stuff.

I am so tired.


The episode opens with One-Eyed Batshit Janine handing off her baby to her commander’s wife, though it’s far from a smooth transaction. Janine is understandably resistant to let her baby go, though after her rapist/baby daddy gives her a reassuring nod, Janine relinquishes her daughter. (The baby doesn’t seem particularly pleased to be with her new mom.) OEBJanine’s exit from the house is somber; she walks through a corridor of fellow handmaids, all of whom are murmuring variations of ‘blessed be.’ Janine stops to hug Offred, telling Offred not to be sad, that ‘he’ – Commander Baby Daddy – is ‘coming for her.’ It’s hearbtreaking enough to prompt Offred to seek out fellow handmaid Alma afterward and offer to help with Mayday – but Alma dismisses Offred soundly, saying she has ‘no idea’ what Offred’s talking about.

After the farewell, OEBJanine is promptly driven to another family. There is apparently no respite period for the handmaids between families, which really shouldn’t shock me at this point but I was somehow further crushed by this revelation.  OEBJanine notes that they ‘live very far,’ and Auntie Thunderc*nt sharply asks ‘far from what.’ It’s clear that OEBJanine is expected to fully put her daughter out of her mind and simply ‘move on’ to the new family, which, what the hell, do they think this is going to work?

In the meantime, we’ve got Mrs. Baby Daddy and Lady Beardface out on a walk together, pushing the baby in a stroller. Mrs. Baby Daddy is just bitching about OEBJanine the whole time, which is pretty rich considering the whole ‘she grew a human at your command’ thing. Lady Beardface seems to think so too, since she gently admonishes Mrs. Baby Daddy and reminds her that the baby is a ‘blessing.’

The next time we see Offred, she’s being accosted by Alma outside of a grocery store and told to go retrieve a package from Jezebel’s, behind the bar. Offred, understandably, is like how tf did you know I went there, but Alma is all urgent and dismissive. She wants Offred to get to Jezebel’s tonight. It’s a tall order, but one that Offred takes seriously, since later that evening she waits for Cmdr. Beardface downstairs and turns on the charm.

She does some serious acting, playing flirtatious and coy, and despite the clear toll it takes on her, she’s successful. Nick drives them to Jezebel’s again and is impassive as ever, even as Offred and Cmdr. Beardface flirt and are gross in the backseat. Cmdr. Beardface comments that Nick ‘is no fun,’ and Offred agrees by pointedly saying he ‘needs to chill.’

Fun’s over once they get to Jezebel’s, though, since Cmdr. Beardface tells Nick that it won’t be long since they’re going… straight to the room. Offred is understandably unhappy with this and suggests they go to the bar, but Beardface says ‘maybe after.’ It’s panic-mode, since now Offred’s basically agreed to an extra night of rape for nothing, but she can hardly turn back now.

Back at the house, Lady Beardface is awake, melancholy and restless about not having a baby. She goes downstairs to the kitchen and she and the maid lady cross paths, with the maid lady taking sympathy on her and suggesting she have a drink of something with ‘more flavor.’ Lady Beardface agrees and invites Maid Lady to join her; it’s clear that Lady Beardface is lonely, but difficult to feel sympathetic for her given the role she plays in this woman-hating hellscape. She and Maid Lady bond over Maid Lady’s quiet, sad story about her son, dead at nineteen thanks to the war, and Lady Beardface spouts off some bible verse as consolation. She is truly garbage at relating to people.

Across town – presumably way across town – OEBJanine is anxious as the first Ceremony in her new house approaches. She’s clearly waiting on Cmdr. Baby Daddy to burst in and stop it, though as the wife pins her down and her new commander, Daniel, starts to undo his pants, it becomes painfully clear that it won’t happen. OEBJanine isn’t having it; Cmdr. Daniel gets a few thrusts in before OEBJanine freaks out and snarls ‘don’t you fucking touch me’ before fleeing into a crouch at the opposite end of the room. “He’s coming for me,” she says tearfully, and why, oh my god, why. This episode is the most painful so far.

At Jezebel’s, Offred is enduring Cmdr. Beardface, who upon finishing has the nerve to ask, ‘did you like that?’ Offred tonelessly tells him yes, and he sharply instructs her to let him know next time, she doesn’t have to be quiet here, she can be – get this – ‘free.’ Before we can fully digest the utter idiocy and insensitivity of such a comment, Beardface says that he knows why Offred wanted to come here – she panics for a silent moment, before he says he’s onto her wanting to meet someone. He brings that ‘someone’ in and it’s Moira, dressed up like a cheap hooker and looking as shocked to see Offred as Offred does to see her.

Offred is quick to shoot down Beardface’s creepy allusion to a perverse threesome and Beardface gets snappish, telling her to ‘relax, he did something nice for her.’ He then goes to shower and leaves them alone, where Moira loses her shit and tells Offred not to come back here. She wants Offred to go home, to follow orders, but and Offred isn’t having it. She reminds Moira that Moira swore they’d find Hannah, and tells Moira she needs to ‘keep her shit together and fight.’ Moira snaps that she was doing alright until she saw Offred again, and storms out.

Offred, in a rare moment of weakness, begins to cry. Beardface comes out, sees this, and we are once again made privy to the depths of his cruelty when he rolls his eyes and tells her to ‘pull herself together, we’re going.’

While this is happening Nick is downstairs, talking to his Sister again, not playing into her flirtation. He asks if there’s any word about Cmdr. Beardface’s handmaid; the Sister pinpoints that Nick has feelings, warns him that it’s dangerous to be sweet on a handmaid, he could get strung up. Nick, as always, makes no substantial reply.

But the fun’s not over yet! Offred is rudely shake awaken early the next morning by Lady Beardface and taken to the bridge, where… OEBJanine is holding her baby, stolen from her old Commander’s house, and clearly preparing to jump. At this point I basically dissolved into stress tears because I was watching this scene while holding my eight-week-old baby, so it’s really all a blur. Offred does manage to convince OEBJanine not to jump with the baby; OEBJanine hands the baby off to Offred, then jumps herself, and I let out a horrible strangled sob because I really freaking love OEBJanine.

The next scene we see is OEBJanine in a hospital bed, hooked up to all sorts of stuff, with Auntie Thunderc*nt watching over her. She says, “You stupid girl,” very softly, so that cannot bode well for OEBJanine’s future. Also, I’m dropping the Batshit from Janine’s title. She’s not batshit. I love her. I would be a volatile mess too after all of this, good god.

And this episode still isn’t over.

Apparently everyone knows what happened to the Beardface’s last handmaid – everyone but us, anyway – since Mrs. Baby Daddy snappishly tells Lady Beardface to ‘worry about her own husband’ since she knows ‘what happened to the last handmaid.’ This is in response to Lady Beardface’s attempts to console Mrs. Baby Daddy as her commander is being hauled off to court for the affair One-Eyed Janine confessed they were having.

As for Offred, she’s at the market, listless and depressed, grabbing the meat for the Commander. What she isn’t expecting is the package bundled up with her meat; there’s a note attached, and the butcher is totally deadpan as he hands it over. Offred thanks him, then hurries outside to read the attached note:

“Praised be, bitch. Here’s your damn package. Xo, Moira.”

HELL. YES. MOIRA. The episode ends with her, bloody-handed after presumably killing a driver AND a john, driving away in a stolen truck.



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