Wednesday, August 4, 2021

Recap: Beware the Deadly “Nightshade” in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4, Episode 2

Previously on The Handmaid’s Tale, June and the runaway handmaids are safe on a farm with the traumatized child bride Mrs. Keyes (McKenna Grace), the Waterfords are still in custody in Canada and have just been told about Operation Free the Children, and Nick has saved Commander Lawrence from a deadly fate.

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Guardians have come to the Keyes residence looking for the recently killed Johnny, but Mrs. Keyes is successful in fending them off. She’s nervous after their appearance, and June gives her even more bad news — she has to leave.

June tells the handmaids that they have to leave, Mayday will help them, and Alma is less than thrilled. David comes in with news from Mayday, but the contact will talk to June and June only. June agrees to go to the location.

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In Canada, Luke is hosting a fundraiser for their efforts with RAGP to help the children freed from Gilead. He’s giving a speech about Angels Flight — or Operation Free the Children — speaking highly of June and her mission in Gilead. He invites Rita to speak, and she can barely get her words out as she tells the crowd about June’s miraculous feats in Gilead.

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Luke bails her out as she begins to cry and Moira congratulates her for her bravery. After the event, Moira and Rita share words about June, with Rita ensuring Moira that June is still in her prayers.

June has arrived at the rendezvous point with the Mayday contact — a Jezebel. June is led through the club filled with what Gilead would rule debauchery and into a greenhouse where a shrouded woman is awaiting her arrival. They discuss June’s successes in dismantling what little of Gilead she’s been able to, and the woman gives June the location of the next safe house 13 miles west of them.

Quilt hanging on the line means it’s safe.

Before they part ways, June asks about the military commanders at the club, and she’s told that Gilead is about to launch a new offensive in Chicago.

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Serena is getting a medical exam in preparation for her defense against the claims made against her by Fred. She tells the nurse about his brothel visits and his physical abuse. Later, she joins her lawyer, Ms. Mathis, and Tuello and they begin sorting out her defense, and she doesn’t want to appear to be a victim regardless of it helping her chances at winning.

Tuello assures her Mathis has her best interests at heart, and Serena tells him that him arresting her made his key witness against Fred a sex offender. Serena then again gives Fred far more credit than he deserves and she tells Tuello that she knew him before Gilead. She wants to see him; she thinks she can get him to drop the claim.

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Moira and Emily are still hard at work placing the children brought in on Angel Flight. Moira’s girlfriend comes in to visit, but Moira needs to cancel dinner plans to help Emily with placements.

June has returned to the Keyes’ and she’s discussing her future plans with her fellow fugitives — she wants to save the women at that Jezebels. And they don’t think it’s worth the risk, but June does. Mrs. Keyes interrupts, telling them that the Guardians aren’t going to leave them alone, and June guarantees she’ll take care of it.

Mrs. Keyes stalks off and June follows, finding her in her kitchen. She breaks the news to her that they’re leaving the next night and Mrs. Keyes begs for June to take her with them. June agrees, but they have to do something about Commander Keyes. But Mrs. Keyes has a solution. She looks up to the various plants handing from the rafters of her ceiling and June asks, “Have you been poisoning him?” Yes. She has. Nightshade.

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The tea that she’s been serving the Commander has been poison all along, and June gets an idea. She asks if Mrs. Keyes can teach her to make more. Well into the night June and Mrs. Keyes are prepping more poison from the leaves.

Maybe there are no good men in gilead.

Mrs. Keyes

Serena’s wish to see Fred has been granted, and they meet in the chapel of the building they’re being held in. He asks if she plans to disclose every aspect of their lives in her case, and she tells him she’ll do whatever it takes to get her daughter back. But Nichole isn’t her daughter, and Fred reminds her of that fact. Fred has no intention of letting Serena go off and lead some happy life with that child.

One of the children from Gilead is having a hard time adjusting to life in Canada, and his aunt is having trouble getting through to him. Moira goes to to a well check and finds herself at a loss on how to help Asher — James per his real family — and his aunt. She heads back to headquarters and meets back up with Emily.

Moira is angry at June for throwing this mess into their laps. June takes the big swings and throws the clean up into their laps, and this was no exception. She’s had to co-parent Nichole with Luke, find homes for all these children, and she does it because she feels guilty for escaping when June didn’t. Emily agrees, recalling when June had thrown Nichole into her arms and stayed behind in Gilead, leaving Emily to find Luke and Nichole home.

It’s time to head back to Jezebels, and June tells Janine to get everyone ready to move to the new safe house that night.

Moira has discovered a solution to the Asher debacle. She brings Rita over to give Asher a taste of “home.” Rita cooks him a traditional Gilead meal and gives him a wooden toy, like he’d have had at home, and Moira leaves to have dinner with her girlfriend moments before she has to leave.

June equips the handmaid from the greenhouse with the nightshade — that’s her plan to free those handmaids and kill the commanders simultaneously and discreetly.

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Serena is ready to free herself of Fred, and she tells Tuello she’s ready, but now there’s an issue — Serena is pregnant.

The plan at the Jezebels is going off without a hitch, the commanders drinking their poison greedily, June prepping bottle after bottle. When the deed is done, June leaves to get ready for the handmaids’ next journey to their safe house. But when she arrives, something is wrong.

Bullet shells cover the lawn, and moments later David is shot dead right beside her. June grabs his dropped weapon but soon finds herself the next target, and when she looks to her right a familiar figure comes out of the Keyes’ home.

Nick. He wants to know where the handmaids are. They’d gotten out just in time.

He whispers that he’s trying to keep her alive, for only her to hear, and he waves the guns off of her as she lets her hand off of the pistol she’d been trying to grab.

June is then arrested, and things are really not looking up for her anymore.

The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale are streaming on Hulu. Episode 4 will release Wednesday, May 5.

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Kaity
Kaity started with Harry Potter in second grade and it’s been a losing battle ever since, or maybe a winning one ... She lives in New England with a small herd of cats, two dogs, three chinchillas, and one daughter. Her main fandoms are Marvel, The Umbrella Academy, Star Wars, and Lord of the Rings, with special emphasis on one vibranium shield-wielding Super Soldier. Contact: kaity@nerdsandbeyond.com

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