The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 episodes 1 and 2 recaps & review

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 premiers with two episodes that follow the brutal climactic events of its predecessor. While June contends with some traumatic and post-Fred-mangling euphoric feelings, things have already started taking a drastic turn back in Gilead.

Episode 1 recap: “Morning”

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 premiere kicks things off with June taking a shower at home, following last night’s events where she, along with her other Gilead survivors, brutalized the monster Fred Waterford. June steps out of the shower and Luke and Moira ask her why she’s covered in blood, and whose blood it is.

June pays little heed to whatever they say, she’s consumed by the victorious euphoria following the ravaging of Fred Waterford. She meets up with the rest of the survivors at a diner and eats pancakes like an animal.

The high she feels subsides a bit and she comes to her senses, especially because she senses the unquenched thirst for revenge that she’s in the company of right now. June has had her revenge on Fred, but other survivors still burn with a sense of vengeance that consumes them.

They show June the weapons galore they carry with them, asking her to accompany them to Gilead and help exact their revenge. However, June refuses to do that, telling them that it’s a suicide mission and wrong to leave their families and head off for revenge.

Taken aback by what they deem June’s treachery, they go their way, and June, hers. She then goes to Emily’s house only to find out that she’s also left for Gilead.

Frustrated, June goes to the authorities and despite Luke’s protests, turns herself in for the murder of Fred Waterford. However, it doesn’t go anywhere as the prosecutor informs her of her immunity to any sort of criminal charges due to the fact that the murder took place in a no-go zone belonging to neither Gilead nor Canada.

Meanwhile, Serena learns about her husband’s death and later on tells Tuello that June killed him, after looking at the ring she had mailed her. At the morgue, she asks Tuello to prosecute June for her crimes but he informs her why that’s not possible.

Later on, Serena tells Tuello she has decided to give Fred a proper burial in Gilead. Soon enough, they depart for the wretched land.

Meanwhile, June continues to suffer from the trauma she had suffered and sustained all these years and makes others at home uncomfortable because of it. Later, Tuello meets her and gives her some validation for what she did because she had to, and because it needed to be done.

Episode 2 recap: “Ballet”

Episode 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 begins with June lying in bed, engrossed in the mental onslaught of traumatic flashbacks to her time at Gilead and how she was tortured by Serena there.

Meanwhile, Serena arrives at Gilead with Tuello. Lawrence and Nick welcome her at the airport and take her to the venue where the funeral will take place.

It’s a small church where she’s informed her husband’s funeral is to take place. However, Serena wants the funeral to be big and noticed by the world. She blackmails Lawrence by revealing his aiding of June in her escapade to the rest of the commanders — she wants her big funeral.

Meanwhile, Esther enters the screen for the first time since the last season and Lydia seems to be proud of the progress she has made. Later on, Janine and Esther go to the Putnam’s, as the family is expecting a new wife and Lydia deems Esther to be the best candidate.

Janine briefly reunites with her daughter while Esther is called to meet commander Warren Putnam in private. He creepily makes Esther eat chocolate while trying to tell her to not be afraid.

Serena tries to pitch an idea for a big funeral for her husband to the commanders. They find the idea of honoring a traitor with a grand, televised funeral preposterous but Lawrence and Nick try to persuade them.

Lawrence eventually succeeds in convincing them, as he later informs Serena. Meanwhile, Esther shares some chocolate with Janine while telling her she doesn’t want to be a wife. Janine tries telling her it’s the only way she can survive here.

At first, it seems like nothing is out of the ordinary but amid their seemingly normal conversation, Esther switches her tone and alleges that Janine only used her to meet her daughter and that she hates her because she is one of them, the oppressors.

Moments later, the two start coughing blood, with a confounded Janine having no idea what just happened. As the two collapses, Lydia comes and tries to contend with this new drastic turn of events.

The episode ends with June going on a date with Luke and getting her moment of happiness ruined by Serena, who’s plastered on every surrounding big screen in the square — basking in the fame that the funeral being televised is rewarding her with.

Before the credits roll, we see Luke’s concerned and June’s furious faces, staring at the big screen that shows Serena participating in the funeral ceremony along with their daughter — Hannah.


  • The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 kicks things off to a great start. June has been reveling in the euphoria of killing her tormentor.
  • However, she has another canister full of worms, and trauma, to deal with. She has episodes of intense anger wherein she loses control of herself — a constant thread that leads to only one way — the way of Gilead.
  • Now that June has seen Hannah on the big screens, with Serena’s evil, gloating presence looming over her, nobody can stop her from heading off to the cursed land and exacting her revenge.
  • Throughout “Morning” and “Ballet”, the way the story moves forward could’ve been better and more efficient, however, one of the best parts about the season premiere, which perhaps absolves it from its shortcomings, is the hair-raising performances by the actors.
  • Especially Elisabeth Moss, who is just as intense and ferocious as ever — finishing the second installment of the two-episode premiere with a face so rife with anger, anyone would be a bit scared irrespective of the fact that it’s a fictional character from a fictional show.
  • Although the season 5 premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale leaves something to be desired, it is a solid start to an installment everyone would be gluing their eyes to.
The Handmaid's Tale season 5 episodes 1 and 2
The Handmaid's Tale season 5 episodes 1 and 2 recaps & review 1

Director: Elisabeth Moss

Date Created: 2022-09-14 00:00

Editor's Rating:

Also Read: The Rings of Power season 1 episode 3 recap & review: Adar

More from The Envoy Web