‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Recap: The Biggest Takeaways From Season 5, Episode 2 “Ballet”

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Sophie Giraud/Hulu

In the second episode of the season, Serena is set on giving Fred a proper burial. But does she have ulterior motives? Meanwhile, June still struggles after the confession, and we see a bit more of Janine and the other handmaids.

Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.


June is having a restless night and thinks about Serena, prompting her to bury her gun under a tree. During a game night with Luke, Moira, and Rita, she spots the Scrabble box and flashes back to when she played with Fred. But again, Serena comes back in mind. A little later, June is alone with Rita, and brings up how Serena went back to Gilead. She continues talking, but Rita doesn’t want to hear it. It’s not until she snaps that June finally stops.

Consumed only by thoughts of Serena, June soon tells Luke about the finger, how she sent it to Serena so that she’d know June was the one who killed Commander Waterford. Luke gets angry because it won’t help find Hannah. June knows that, and Luke’s anger fades as he tries to offer her some reassurance.

Funeral Preparations

Serena and Tuello arrive in Gilead, and Nick and Commander Lawrence show them the (tiny) church where they plan to hold Fred’s funeral. Serena is displeased, bringing up how June must’ve had help to do what she did. While everyone in the room knows who and what she’s talking about, Lawrence says he’ll see what he can do.

After Lawrence is useless on that front, Serena takes matters into her own hands and goes to see the other commanders (still including Nick and Lawrence) about the funeral. She wants it to be broadcast internationally, to paint Gilead in a different light. Putnam isn’t on board, but Nick and Lawrence help plead her case. Later, Lawrence tells Serena it worked.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

New Posting?

With Janine’s help, Aunt Lydia prepares the handmaids for the wake, including Esther. Aunt Lydia thinks Esther could be a good fit for the Putnams and wants Janine to stay with her. When they arrive at the wake the Putnams are hosting, Aunt Lydia introduces Esther to Mrs. Putnam, who’s skeptical at first. Aunt Lydia brings Esther elsewhere, and it’s then that Angela rushes into the room. Janine is thrilled to see her daughter again, and Mrs. Putnam even gives her a few moments with the child.

Aunt Lydia then introduces Esther to Putnam. He gets himself and Esther alone. Once they are, he forces her to eat chocolate. While it’s implied, we don’t see anything else happen on screen.

Back at the red center, Esther brings chocolate she stole to share with Janine. She brings up Angela and how it must’ve been hard to leave her like that. Janine talks about what it was like to be pregnant when Esther takes a turn. She’s angry at Janine for using her. Janine tries to convince her that’s not true, but both start coughing up blood. Janine shouts for help, and Aunt Lydia and another aunt find them.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

The Procession

While June and Luke are on a date at the ballet, Fred’s giant funeral procession is underway. As Serena nears the end of it, a group of girls go to meet her. The camera pans across their faces and hesitates on one of them. After the ballet, June and Luke walk through the town square but don’t immediately notice the giant TVs broadcasting the procession (which are slightly behind what we already saw). But then they do. Their broadcast reaches the girls again, and one goes to give Serena flowers: Hannah. Serena kisses her on the forehead, then looks straight into the camera and offers a small smile, knowing full well June would see.

Secret Meeting

Another notable scene from this episode is Nick and Tuello meeting. Tuello is impressed by Nick’s ability to stay under the radar. He asks if Nick wants to see Nichole in person, and Tuello can help with that. He thinks they can help each other.

The first two episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 are streaming now on Hulu. New episodes drop weekly each Wednesday. Find our review here and keep up with our recaps here.

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By Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.
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