The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 5 Review: Faithful

at .

Everyone will show their true colors sooner or later if you give them enough rope to hang themselves.

The Commander got a little too cool and breezy with Offred (who I now prefer to call June) on The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 5. The naming convention, an indoor Scrabble partner and sex slave has gone to his head.

We also discovered just how high up in the government of Gilead he really is. Too high for my taste.

True Colors - The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 5

Earlier in the series, Commander Fred looked like a man who might have some give. He's not all bad, and might have a little bit of good in there. It was almost easy to feel sorry for him for being a bit lonely, too.

After "Faithful," the bastard deserves his loneliness and anything else heading in his direction.

He's not only in command now but was apparently one of the founding fathers of Gilead. His tongue is loosening up because after 34 games of Scrabble with June, he thinks he has her wrapped around his finger.

He likes watching her drink his scotch, letting her win and perches his head up on his arm while she flirts. When he introduced a fashion magazine for her to read while he watched, she thought it was kind of weird. Looking back at the life that was is offputting.

The models look like caged animals and the words out of Fred's mouth start making more sense of his views of women. They're hardly flattering. 

A Startling Proposition - The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 5

But it's on a completely different night and after June has had sex with Nick that the conversation with Fred got really awkward. Yes, Serena Joy doesn't think much of her husband, either.

Serena Joy: Nothing yet?
Offred: Nope, nothing.
Serena Joy: Well, that's bad luck. Your time is running out here. You don't want to be sent to the colonies, do you? Maybe he can't. [whispers] The Commander. I was thinking maybe we could try another way.
Offred: I'm sorry, I don't understand what you mean.
Serena Joy: With another man.

She's worried she won't get the bundle of joy she wants from him, and she probably would prefer a bundle that came from a different lineage, if we're being honest about it.

The way the whole thing went down was terribly awkward, but even worse was that both Nick and June got pleasure out of it. It's not bad that they got pleasure, but that Serena Joy was standing there in the room with them. 

Even so, by the time the ceremony came around that night, June was feeling all kinds of things, and Fred was, too, for June. Brazenly gazing into her eyes and putting his hand up her leg was something I knew was coming, but the despair June felt was terrible all the same.

Offred: Don't you ever do that again!
Commander: Do what?
Offred: Touch me like that when she's there.
Commander: I didn't mind it. I don't think you did, either.

That's when the two found themselves in a darker place. 

June was feeling a little bit invincible after her meeting with Nick, the new alliance with Serena Joy and discovering Ofglen Number 1 was back. As for Fred, well, he didn't much like June's new attitude.

Knowing she was the OF of someone who thought so little of women, of love, that he set out to destroy their world and make females nothing but human breeding stock had to be hard to swallow.

The very people who she and Moira railed against at the beginning of all of this was not only standing before her, but June was actively trying to help him continue his family line. 

Commander: We only wanted to make the world better.
Offred: Better?
Commander: Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse for some.

As she repeated that line to herself, she knew it wouldn't stand. She couldn't and wouldn't let herself be so easily manipulated. Still, she had to know where things stood with Nick. 

How close to becoming a cautionary tale like Ofglen Number 1 was she? 

Nick told her he was an Eye. And you know what? I believe him. I believe he is an eye just as vehemently as I believe he is a member of Mayday. Because just like on Colony, you cannot effectively fight in the Resistance without being a part of the oppression. 

Someone has to be a double agent, and there's nobody I'd rather be in cahoots with than that person. They are all knowing and all seeing. They are more EYE than the Eyes themselves, who never really have their pulse on both sides.

Ofglen Returns - The Handmaid's Tale

Emily is Ofglen Number 1's name. She found a home where she is respected with the true intent of the word, not the way Fred used it in his discussion with June. 

The wife of Steven is kind and caring of Emily, but Emily is broken beyond recognition. They took from her something that can never be returned, and imagining dealing with such a loss is unfathomable, even if it's one that women still deal with daily in 2017.

Genital mutilation occurs across too many religions and happens during barbaric ceremonies that make The Ceremony on The Handmaid's tale look like a gleeful birthday party. No anesthesia, a crowded room of relatives. I just can't.

It's something that should be a forefront of everyone who thinks religious freedom comes with no strings attached because on that I cry BS.

The only good it served in our story was for Ofglen Number 2 to wake up and speak to June. She was essentially a drug addled street urchin before Gilead. Compromising the "good life" she has now isn't an option for her.

Emily's Last Stand - The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 5

But for Emily, living a lie isn't for her. She saw an opportunity to make one last stand and took it. 

What we don't know as of yet is what happens at the Colonies. If you're not outright killed as her lover was, when you're sent to the Colonies are you used in an even greater capacity as breeding stock?

It's hard to imagine how much more pain the the commanding class could inflict by sending women who don't want to be alive but who can give birth to yet another location.

That must be what happens, though. It will be interesting to see through Emily how far forgiveness goes with the childbearing women of Gilead after her stunt.

It makes what Serena Joy is doing even more enviable. She is married to a man who doesn't believe in women, let alone love. If women are for nothing but giving birth, then why is he married? Slavery, I suppose. 

Inflicting upon him the unknown torture of bearing another man's child because he's an impotent waste would be of some comfort.

He brought upon her his wrath about her barren status by forcing her to watch him attempt to impregnate another woman, so suggesting to June she carry on the affair to hurry pregnancy would be a bit of a rush.

With Serena Joy the head of the household, Nick and June have a license to sin.

It's the first time June has felt like she's been cheating on Luke, but she deserves to feel invincible and as if she's taking a spin in that car like Emily did without actually setting out to kill.

Another empowering episode of this Hulu drama that makes me want to bond with my female friends. What about you guys? Are you loving it? Fellas? Are you a Nick or a Commander? Maybe a Luke?

Hit me up in the comments!! A sentence or two about what you like or dislike would be nice.

Faithful Review

Editor Rating: 4.75 / 5.0
  • 4.8 / 5.0
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (6 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.

Show Comments
Tags: ,

The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 5 Quotes

Commander: We only wanted to make the world better.
Offred: Better?
Commander: Better never means better for everyone. It always means worse for some.

Good. We'll do it this afternoon after the shopping. May as well strike while the iron is hot.

Serena Joy