Handmaid’s Tale Episode 6 Explained in Detail


Ok, sorry gang, but I’m back from vacation and ready to go, and with a vengeance. First, where’s the couch? Hahah. No seriously, adored this episode. We had some cliff hanger reveals that I even thought they would wait for season 2 for, but no! Season 1! They had some big curve balls internationally. All good stuff from top to bottom. This was a wonderful episode in my mind. And now that I’ve written the write up for six, I can sit down and watch 7. (Sorry, that’s just a personal rule, mainly want to talk about each episode independently and also have to give myself a reason to write, yes? Otherwise no cake for you. (There is no cake. Sorry, geek humor there. First commenter to identify that quote wins a free hug. And oh how I despise hugs. I know. I’m broken. I have personal space issues.))

Handmaid’s Tale Episode 6 Overview

The episode kicks off with an enormously poignant scene with all the Handmaids scrubbing the blood off the walls where the execution happens. Ofwarren comments, “Looks funny without the dead people. You get use to things being one way.” Which their Aunt even hinted at earlier in the show… human’s have an amazing capability for redefining normal… or something to that effect.

Which brings us to the exestential crises of the episode. When Offred gets home, she learns that a delegation from Mexico would be at the house that evening and that Offred isn’t to embarrass Serena Joy, the Commander’s wife. They may ask questions, and she is to respond appropriately… pregnant pause (pardon the pun.)

We also got a number of stunning revelations about our favorite character, Serena with this show. Here on the blog as we have dismantled this show the biggest conversation point when you email or comment on the posts is about Serena. She sticks out as the real demon of the this world, the true devil, but it wasn’t adding up to me. Shouldn’t it be the Commander that raises our collective ire? Oh, but episode six explains all that – and then some.  Because, the real brains behind this Gilead operation? Was all apparently Serena’s doing. Not 100%, but alot of the really controversial ideas come from the warped brain of the Commander’s Wife. Most specifically – the idea of the Handmaid’s, all Serena. Boom. Mic drop.  And even later in this episode Serena is so hell-bent on power and control that she willingly throws away her own book later in the show. She willingly subverts herself to the Commander to see her ideas born out.

o yeah, she gets my vote for the evil minion of hell award. I expect this aspect of the Commander’s and Serena’s relationship only to get more and more detailed out as the seasons heads towards the conclusion.

Back to the ‘Don’t embarrass me threat’ to Offred, the Ambassador from Mexico  – a woman we should note – asks, ‘Are you happy’ to Offred. Which at this point, the entire show hangs in the balance… Do I dare, Do I dare? (Poetic reference this time… another hug on the line folks!) And her response? ‘I have found happiness, yes.’ And at this point, all of us are collectively screaming out our televisions. THAT WAS YOUR CHANCE!!!

A little while later Offred is summoned to the Commander who is completely out of sorts about the Mexican visitors and his wife’s poor answers, “Women who can’t even read the book you wrote!?” But Commander Waterford quickly asks Offred to leave. She muscles up the courage and asks to stay, and the Commander asks her to kiss him. No, like you mean it… and then Offred is afraid that the Commander smelled Nick on her? (I should comment that there was an exchange very similar to this where the Commander asks Offred to kiss him, and he responds to kiss him like she meant it. But I don’t remember the Nick overtone in the book at all. Maybe I’m wrong.)

After Gilead shows off the babies to the Mexican delegation it looks like everything is right in the world again. The Gileadeans are happy. The Mexicans are happy. The Handmaids are all happy. Even Serena is happy again. There’s enough happiness for everyone and then some. Until, that is, one of the other Handmaids let’s slip to Offred that the Mexicans don’t want the Republic of Gilead’s fruit! They want the Handmaids! Oh, wait, WHAT?! And Offred told the Mexican Ambassador that she had found happiness as a Handmaid?!? Oh wow.

So Offred stumbles into the Ambassador alone, gets her chance to unload. Tells them absolutely everything. They beat us, electrocute us with cattle prods, they rape us. But you know what? The Ambassador gives Offred chocolates and then tells her that she’s very very sorry, but that she can’t help her. Which is evil that is really dark. Her country is faced with a negative population growth, and the Republic of Gilead has offered her an opportunity that she can’t pass up… rape or no rape. Cattle prods or no. And her justification? “My country is dying.” To which, Offred has the response of the season, “My country is already dead.”

Second Mic Drop of the Episode

In a twist straight out of the X-Files, the Ambassador’s husband makes it clear that he knows Offred very very well. And not only that, but he also knows that June’s husband is alive. And that if she wants to write him a message now is her chance.  And the episode ends with the his saying, “June, write something.”

This Just Got Complicated

In one of the previous episode discussions, I predicted that June would get to see her daughter, and that eventually she would make contact with her husband – which I guaranteed you all, would still be alive. This is TV afterall. What I didn’t predict would be that we would get reconnected with Luke in season 1. I was nigh on certain that he would arrive in season 2. But what I lack in imagination I make up for in stamina. And so here we are with Offred, paper in hand, trying to decide what to do, what to say… Does she say she’s ok? Does she say that she wants him to move on. She’s a lost cause? That she’s working with the underground group May Day, and that hopefully will find their daughter? What? She currently is battered about by a good case of Helsinki Syndrome in connection with the Commander. She could possibly be in love with Nick? (Or is she milking him for information only? HRMMM.)

It could very well be that we never see Luke on the show again until season 2, but even the mere mention of his name throws absolutely everything up in the air. Can’t wait to watch Ep.7 later tonight. What are your thoughts on THIS EPISODE? Where do you see this thing going? Love to hear your thoughts.

Interested in reading all of my Handmaiden’s Tale episode recaps so far? You got it – I will update them here as I write them:
Episode 1 – Offred
Episode 2 – Birth Day
Episode 3 – Late
Episode 4 – Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum
Episode 5 – Faithful
Episode 6 – A Woman’s Place
Episode 7 – The Other Side
Episode 8 – Jezebels
Episode 9 – The Bridge
Episode 10 – Night