1.Starting with sirens just in case you don’t get how dark this is gonna get.
2.And a car chase down a deserted highway, to make sure you are well and truly scared
3.A child hears the gunshot that kills her dad. If you thought this was heart-warming family drama, change channels now.
4.Somehow the blazing sunlight makes the content all the more dark.
5.How do you run from evil when evil is the law?
6.Answer: you don’t. You get caught.
7.Offred’s body is dragged off camera – her past life has been taken. In its place – a handmaid.
8.So starts the inner monologue of Offred (the coiled spring of terror that is Elizabeth Moss) ‘I had another name but it’s forbidden now’.
9.‘If I get trouble i will give trouble back’ a climate of fear. The handmaid is afraid of the wife, the wife is afraid of the handmaid. What is the husband afraid of in this man’s world?
10.‘A return to traditional values’ but what about the values they have forgotten? Such as human decency?
11.‘Ofglen is not my friend…I sincerely believe that Ofglen is a pious little shit with a broomstick up her ass’. Even her friends are forced and fake.
12.The body shows obedience. The eyes tell a different story
13.The commander’s driver is ‘low status, hasn’t even been issued a woman’ anything female is a status symbol. A belonging, not a being.
14.Offred’s face fits perfectly with the inner voice, a true masterclass in reaction.
15.Well hello Rory Gilmore, aren’t you a long way from Star’s Hollow?
16.The painful half scripted small talk is as controlled and restrictive as the costumes. Notice how the hats ensure their heads are cast down – a woman’s place, blinkered, like a carthorse.
17.The supermarket feels out of place – modern clean and shiny, in a world attempting to go back in time.
18.‘I don’t need oranges, I need to scream’ the jolly music juxtaposes barely hidden rage.
19.Capital punishment. Of course. A return to ‘traditional values’ .
20.Blink and you flashback to indoctrination. A Trunchball who escaped the children’s story and graduated to a purer form of evil
21.Poussey from Orange is the New Black is another famous face emerging in the dystopian dark. A friend from a past life of freedoms curtailed.
22. All is said in secret glances, nothing is permitted
23. First they come for the birth control, then they come for you
24. ‘Dirty women’ ‘sluts’. This is all sounding horribly relevant
25. You will serve the men and bare fruit, but only at the correct time as decided by anyone but you.
26. Hiding evil behind the bible: ‘blessed are the meek’ they say as they maim and destroy. No bible endorsed this. Humanity picks and chooses, and then destroys.
27.The rebel who spoke out is mutilated for her crimes ‘if my right eye offend thee pluck it out’. I guess they forgot the part about love thy neighbour.
28. The handmaids are a flash of red in this world of blues and greys – their hearts still beat, even chained.
29. Back to indoctrination, and the one eyed former rebel shares her story of gang rape ‘who led them on, whose fault was it?’ victim blaming in its purest form.
30. Atwood herself makes a blurred cameo: the author slaps her protagonist, forcing her to point the finger at the abused rather than the abuser. Tow the party line, or you are next
31.Back to the present and the ‘ceremony’ is about to begin. Notice there is no mirror in Offred’s room – even her image is not her own.
32. The wife is stoic, the handmaid a rabbit in headlights, the husband – late.
33.The church music accompanying the ceremonial rape of the handmaid deepens the horror of this abuse of both body and scripture.
34. Hands are held, clothes are kept on, faces blank as paper. Even the husband shows (almost) no pleasure in the act. This is not about pleasure, but functionality.
35.The flash of red lays on the consummation bed as the rapist leaves in silence and the wife orders her servant out. The wife cannot blame the man, so blames the handmaid. It is always easier to blame the woman.
36.In her own bed, hair free of restraints, Offred looks almost like her former self, but for her terror. ‘I think about the moon. they haven’t changed that’. Thank heaven for small mercies.
37. Drowning in state enforced abuse she runs for air, then returns to her prison for fear of discovery, Even one moment of freedom could end end all hope.
38.Back to the past, and the one-eyed rape victim retreats into delirium – the only freedom she has left.
39. The incentive to obey is unveiled – those who won’t comply are sent to the colonies where (presumably due to global warming – thank you Trump) their skin will peel off until they die. Yes, that would certainly help enforce their tyranny – obey or die.
40. The future breeding mother wants her own mother.
41.The curtains are once again drawn on Offred’s true self, as the memory of her last friend reminds her why she needs to ‘keep her shit together’. No compliance = no escape, no daughter.
42.Sarcasm is the last defence of the beaten down ‘my pleasure’ says Martha ‘go to hell’ thinks Martha. No translator needed.
43.What do the three bells mean? Nothing good, we can be sure.
44.I am thoroughly sick of adverts by this point.
45.Guided by guns, the fairy tale figures of the maidens gather like a chained army.
46.Whispered conversations are all they can afford. Begging for news, always under his eye.
47. Then the worst is revealed. the one eyed survivor of the centre, heavy with prescribed child cheerfully (and crazily) informs Offred that Moira, her last true friend, is dead. Will her hope die with her friend?
48.But fake friend Offglen has noticed her pain, and rather than judgement she shows concern. Is she friend of foe?
49. The meaning behind the bells is revealed. A rapist. A raper of handmaidens. To rape a handmaid is apparently the rapist’s fault, whereas, as we know by this point, to rape any other woman is her fault *PAUSE WHILE I THROW THINGS AT THE TV IN DISGUST*
50. A circle is formed and rage is rallied. This time the handmaid’s are ending a life, not creating one. All the suppressed rage is released on the convicted man.
51.This, then is justice, and how they keep the downtrodden on the floor- moments to release their rage and hatred, followed by calm subservience.
52. Offred offloads her fear pain and hatred, then when the whistle blows, begins to hate herself for what she briefly became.
53.Another flashback, to the moment she discovered her beloved baby had been conceived. She fears losing it, like so many have. Of course she did lose it, but not in the way she feared then.
54.Was there ever a before? Ofglen reveals her true colours through memories of salted caramel and sex. ‘They do that really well, make us distrust each other’. Divide and conquer.
55. True selves are revealed. Horror stories shared. Loved ones lost ‘they weren’t gonna let one of us get away’. One of us. The worst club to belong to.
56. ‘It was nice to finally meet you’ how long has it been since either of them truly spoke?
57.There’s an eye in your house’ one more reason for Offred to hide her fighting spirit deep inside. Lock it up, but never throw the key.
58. The world blurs. Which eyes are THE eyes. Who must she hide from. Where is safety.
59. The music twists and turns in a discordant dream. This house is not a home.
60.Offred is sent to her room, ever obedient Offred complies.
61.But her name isn’t Offred.
62. ‘My name …is June’