After three seasons, devoted fans of The Handmaid’s Tale are now ready for the “Big Fight”. This post is the first part of a “ 3-part series”. Follow us for each season recap before you start watching Season 4 on HULU.
Trigger warnings – Sexual assault, Murder and Violence.
Spoiler Alert for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1
This series is adapted from the best-selling novel by Margaret Atwood. Set in Gilead which was previously a part of the United States, a totalitarian society formed by a fundamentalist regime. Although Gilead is mainly(falsely) focused on religion and virtues, women are treated as the property of the state.
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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1
A series of terror attacks on America’s key political landmarks occur by “The Sons of Jacob”. The Handmaid’s Tale.
Firstly, Women and LGBTQ+ citizens lose their rights and children are kidnapped to re-house them with Gilead’s “Infertile” leaders.
Secondly, women are captured and segregated to be sent to fill various positions in Gilead. Fertile women are sent to “The leader’s” houses are their Handmaids. A Handmaid’s role is to bear children for them in the place of their infertile wives.
All the kidnapped Infertile women have three roles – Marthas (Domestic servants). Aunts( Self-righteous women who “educate” the Handmaids) and Workers to work in colonies, which are mainly toxic-wastelands.
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June is one such Handmaid who is housed in Commander Fred Waterford and Serena’s house. She and other Handmaids are prohibited from using their own names. She becomes Offred – meaning that she belonged to Fred.
The story starts with Handmaids getting familiar with each other and June befriending Ofglen. Ofglen warns June about “The Eye”, a part of Gilead’s surveillance. It turns out to be Nick who is Commander Fred’s driver. Who we find out later was placed there by Commander Bryce to keep an eye on Fred.
After a series of cruel events like -“The ceremony” where women are raped by their Commanders in the presence of their wives to help them bear their children. Aunts torturing Handmaids to obey the “scripture” by following their commander’s orders. And the sadistic ritual of “Birthing” where the wife pretends to be in labour as her Handmaid actually give birth.
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June has serious flashbacks about her daughter Hannah. She constantly thinks about the time when was kidnapped from her and her husband Luke, killed as they were escaping Gilead. She later finds out that Luke escaped and fled Gilead successfully. This gives her hope.
June’s cautious rendezvous with Nick and Fred
Meanwhile, she develops a flirtatious relationship with both Fred and Nick. She also finds out about “Jezebels” when Fred takes her along with him. She reconnects with her best friend Moira and reminds her about the promise she made to save Hannah.
Serena finds out about June and Fred and forces Nick to rape her as June. After being furious that she did not conceive even after a number of “Ceremonies” with Fred. When she finds out about her pregnancy, June tries to harm herself.
Simultaneously Ofwarren, who thinks her Commander is in love with her, bears his child. As soon as she gives birth, she gets repositioned elsewhere immediately after giving birth to his child. In a frenzy, she threatens to kill herself and her baby by jumping off a bridge. June calms her down and saves the baby.
We later find out that Ofwarren is alive but Aunt Lydia asks other Handmaids to punish her by throwing stones at her; June refuses. Other Handmaids also follow June’s lead. Aunt Lydia gets furious but she couldn’t Punish June as she was pregnant.
Meanwhile, Ofglen/Emily gets caught sharing an intimate moment with a Martha and is forced to see her die. Aunt Lydia punishes her by mutilating her genitals. She later tells her that her functioning uterus deemed her “worthy” to continue as a Handmaid.
Emily recalls her life as a University professor, happier times with her wife and son. We find out that they could safely move to Canada before Emily was taken to the “Red Centre”
Conclusion of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1
June later discovers the crimes of all the Leaders of the Gilead and finds out about a resistance movement among Handmaids and Marthas.
Serena worries that June may harm her unborn child. She manipulates June and gives her a fleeting moment with Hannah to stop her from harming herself and the baby.
A group of Mexican dignitaries visit Gilead to understand and import some Handmaid’s to solve their country’s problem of less population due to decreasing fertility in women. Offred is chosen to speak on behalf of other Handmaids and wants to tell them the truth. She later finds out that the Mexican diplomats are well aware of the cruel practices but are eager to solve their population problem in any way possible.
One of them sympathizes with June and gets her note to Luke, who is in Canada. In a series of dramatic events, Moira also joins Luke in Canada.
By the end of season 1, a van arrives for June and Nick tells her to go along with them. She does as Nick says.