by Chris Harnick | Wed., May. 10, 2017 10:00 AM
We need to talk about The Handmaid's Tale, specifically Alexis Bledel.
In the fifth episode of the Hulu drama Bledel's Ofglen returns from her punishment at the hands of Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd). When viewers last saw Ofglen—or Ofsteven now—she watched her female lover die and woke up in a surgical suite after undergoing a genital mutilation, a procedure that would still allow her to have sex and children, but not enjoy any of her lesbian urges. Her punishment should've been death, but instead it seemed to be far worse for the character.
"We helped her, we saved her. We had a doctor take care of the problem. It's such a small problem, truth be told," Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) said.
When she reemerged in the grocery for the first time, the pain was palpable through the screen. Bledel's innocent eyes were troubled, pained. Her performance in The Handmaid's Tale, particularly this episode, will make you forget she was ever the doe-eyed Rory Gilmore in Gilmore Girls. Bledel loses herself in the role in the best way possible.
Bledel's character tells Elisbaeth Moss' Offred that she's no longer part of the Mayday rebellion, Offred will have to pick up the torch.
Later in the episode, Ofglen/Ofsteven interacted with her Commander's wife, who claimed to not be feeling well, again, but Ofglen/Ofsteven noted to her that she can't be sick every month to save her from having sex with the Commander. A rare moment of humanity for the more privileged citizens of Gilead. Ofglen's story ended with her in the market place…stealing a car. She told Offred to work with Mayday, hopped in a car and taunted the police before running over a guard and killing him. She was stopped and nabbed by the police. The end of Ofglen?
"I think she feels at that moment that she's already gone through utter devastation, personally, and she's at a complete loss. I think she basically gets these waves of...fight that kind of charge through her. She just has an indomitable spirit. She's not going down without a fight. She sees an opportunity, kind of like when she's being escorted to her trial and she's waiting for a moment and there's a guard standing in front of her, but she sees an exit sign and she thinks, 'Maybe I'll get past this guard and escape.' It's lightning-fast thinking, and she does it," Bledel told Vulture about the moment. "She tries to arouse this guard in the hopes that he'll get distracted and she'll get past him out of desperation. I think when she sees this car door open, she doesn't give it much thought—it's an impulse. She just jumps in and decides to make a bit of a statement having to do with her desire for freedom, and she's hoping to communicate that to the other handmaids."
But going back to sex for a moment, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) was concerned her husband was sterile, which would be blamed on Offred, so Offred had sex with Nick (Max Minghella)…while Serena watched. But Nick isn't just a driver, Offred learns. He told her he was an Eye, a spy for the government…and they had sex again—consensual this time. But is he really a spy?
The Handmaid's Tale drops new episodes on Wednesdays on Hulu.