Working Like Normal
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An episode of The Handmaid's Tale starting with a record album was weird, an offense to God.

June and Serena are working together and have been for months. There have never been two more insincere Praise Bes than those uttered after the words, "He's coming home tomorrow."

When Fred arrives, you can feel the tension in the air. Serena Joy is straightening the help at the front door, waiting for Offred to take her place in the row. She doesn't straighten June.

Fred barely kisses Serena Joy when he arrives. He tells Rita he missed her cooking. Eden gives to him a, I don't know, handkerchief from her and Nick. He's grateful for the miracle that is the baby inside the healthy looking June. She rolls her eyes after a praise be.

Fred cannot wait to push Serena out of his office, going to far as to usher her out with a swoop of his arm and a come hither of his fingers.

His "you risked so much for me" fell flat as Serena stood outside his door.

In her room, June finds a music box and a white rose on her bed. Gifts from Serena Joy for the help, and a bit more, I think.

Nick tells Eden he'll be a lot busier now that the Commander is back. She claims to understand. She wants to spruce up the house to make it homier. Yellow is a happy color. Happy home happy husband. Praise be, she says. Mm hmm, he replies. She's not enjoying marriage so much.

Rita and June talk about the strength they need to deal with Eden "trying" to be a good wife.

Serena shares with June that baby Angela, Janine's baby, isn't doing well. Naomi can use the support, so she's heading over.

On the way to the market, Janine is being Janine so beautifully.

Janine is happy with her new assignment since it's just the ceremony. No blowjobs. Emily is full of anger, she can't imagine anything but death and bombs.

June imagines what Emily would do to her if she knew what she had been doing with Serena Joy.

Suddenly, a baby ambulance goes by. One of the other girls says it's Charlotte. Outside, Janine starts to panic. June comforts her and promises to find out what's happening and to report back. When Janine says she needs to see her and June responds negatively, Janine's retort, "You sound just like one of them," stings.

In her room, June is listening to the music box when Serena Joy stops by. Nobody knows why Angela is getting worse. Serena knows of something that could help and wants June's opinion.

Serena goes to Fred for help. He denies her. June makes an appeal to Serena for Janine to say goodbye to her baby. Serena is against it until she speaks directly with While Mrs. Putnam doesn't want to. Her husband, though, thinks God would want it.

While Serena watches the pain in Janine suffers trying to say goodbye, she makes the decision to get the doctor to look into the baby's case.

The doctor is shocked to have been asked, but Doctor Hudson does the work. Just like June's click of the pen, she don's a stethascope for the first time in ages. Is Serena starting a revolution?

At home, Fred visits June's room, spotting both the music box and the rose.

The doctor shares bad news with the parents. The baby isn't going to survive in spite of having the best neonatal surgeon on board to help. She's beyond help.

While Janine cries in the arms of Aunt Lydia, Serena goes to Dr. Hudson.

How dare you give up?? There are no anatomic, metabolic, or infectious conditions causing the baby to die.

Upstairs, Naomi gives the baby over to Janine, who rips off her mask, takes off her gloves and gives the baby the love and warmth it so desperately craves.

Once Serena and June arrive home, they say goodnight and exchange thank yous before learning from Nick Fred wants to see them in his office. Serena wants June to let her handle it. June and Nick touch hands before she goes into the room.

He wants the door shut behind them as they enter. He has heard Serena signed his name to a transfer order for the Martha aka Dr. Hudson. He also discovers June's involvement. He says it's his fault. Then he babbles on about husbands and wives and decides to whip Serena with his belt in front of Offred. As Offred turns around in disgust, he says she must stay. With every strike, June flinches.

Eden is excited about her homemaking skills. Nick wants yellow curtains because they're her favorite. Yay.

On his bedside table are letters that were in the trunk. She says she didn't read them. But he's not stupid. He says don't ever touch my things and when she calls him sir, he realizes he's becoming one of them.

Serena is slowly undressing in her room, but she van barely move from the pain. She's crying having been humiliated and tortured. She looks at herself in the mirror and her buttocks are shredded.

June arrives at the door and tentatively knocks. She asks if Mrs. Waterford needs anything. Then in her regular voice asks if she can do anything for her, Serena... Serena puts on her steely voice and says to go back to her room. Serena puts her hands over her mouth to keep herself from crying out not from physical pain, but from emotional pain.

June takes that as an opportunity to visit Fred. Serena went to sleep, she says. She wants to apologize. She's really sorry. Can he forgive her?

Fred wants her to get to bed and rest for the sake of the baby.

Fred puts on an album. The music isn't happy, and finally June breaks into sobs similar to Serena's.

It begins snowing outside. Eden was watching from her window.

In the morning light, Janine is sitting on the window sill holding a very lively baby singing "I only want to be with you." She's radiant. "I told you. She remembers me."

The Handmaid's Tale
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The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 8 Quotes

June: Do you miss working?
Serena: It's a small sacrifice to be welcomed back into God's grace. [pause] I do truly detest knitting. To be frank.

We do our work in the evening. She writes; I read. This is the new normal, and an offense to God. In another life, maybe we could have been colleagues, but in this one, we're heretics. I was already on the naughty list -- an adulteress, a fallen woman as Aunt Lydia used to say. But this is new territory for Serena, I think. How does she feel about falling? She seems pretty fucking happy.