TV Show Review

TV Review: THE HANDMAID’S TALE: Season 1, Episode 9: The Bridge [Hulu]

Ever Carradine Madeline Brewer The Handmaid's Tale The Bridge

The Handmaid’s Tale The Bridge Review

Hulu‘s The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 1, Episode 9: The Bridge revolved around three central issues: 1.) Janine / Ofwarren / Ofdaniel (Madeline Brewer)’s deteriorating mental state, 2.) a reawakening, and 3.) June Osborne / Offred (Elisabeth Moss) joining the Mayday resistance.

Though Offred’s story-line acted as the bookends to The Bridge, it was Ofdaniel’s story-line that was the meat of the episode. The struggles that Offred endured weren’t as foreign and kafkaesque as what Ofdaniel had to deal with during The Bridge. Ofdaniel’s trials during The Bridge were new and damaging to her already fragile mental state. Since the beginning of The Handmaid’s Tale, the viewer had witnessed the mutilation, brutalization, and psychology “training” of Ofdaniel. Those events had been a cancer on Ofdaniel’s brain, chipping away at her sanity. In The Bridge, with her baby taken away and the prospect of having to go through that entire process again with a new child, Ofdaniel finally cracked and became suicidal.

Ofdaniel’s attempted suicide scene was the highlight of The Bridge. Multiple roads led to that moment in the episode. Most had to do with off-screen actions by secondary characters in The Handmaid’s Tale. There were competing objectives on the bridge but only two people cared about the life and welfare of Ofdaniel – Offred and Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd). Everyone else was focused on Ofdaniel’s baby.

Offred and Ofdaniel’s moment on the bridge was touching. Lies wouldn’t have worked on Ofdaniel. Truth was the only drill powerful enough to bore through Ofdaniel’s traumas, scarring, and sense of hopelessness. Offred using Ofdaniel’s infinite affection for her new born and the chance of change were brilliant but they weren’t sufficient to cure Ofdaniel.

The scene ended with the outcry from someone that had grown to care about Ofdaniel, probably in spite of herself. Aunt Lydia had cracked Ofdaniel’s psyche, made her the mental wreck that she was. Aunt Lydia had returned Ofdaniel to a child-like state in many respects. Recognizing these facts, Aunt Lydia was more protective, lenient, and affectionate to Ofdaniel than any other Handmaid that had come through her training center. The hospital scene was the crystallization of Aunt Lydia’s feelings towards Ofdaniel. Moving Ofdaniel’s hair out of her face and sitting with her unconscious body were the actions of a loving family member.

The reawakening and Offred joining the resistance called Mayday, spoken of earlier in this review, happened during the Jezebel brothel scene in The Bridge. Moira / Ruby (Samira Wiley) had become resolved to live out her plight until Offred re-awoke what had grown dormant within her – the fire to live a life that she saw fit i.e. the right to be free. How she achieved that freedom in The Bridge and would maintain it are dubious. Is Moira really going to try to get to the U.S. / Canada border with her stolen S.U.V. and ID or is she going to try to get in touch with Mayday somehow?

Offred had been inching towards becoming a member of Mayday since she became the confidant of Emily/ Ofglen / Ofsteven. During The Bridge, she actually became one of them by successfully carrying out an operation (with the assistance of Moira). Now that Offred has proven herself to be an operative that can produce, it will only be a matter of time before Mayday gradually amps up their requests, the difficulty of operations, and daily (if not weekly) surveillance reports on Commander Fred Waterford. Offred already sacrificed a small piece of herself to get Commander Waterford back to the brothel, not to mention what transpired within its walls. Offred would be willing to sacrifice a lot more if it meant possibly toppling the Gilad government.

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About the author

Rollo Tomasi

A Political Science and MBA grad who started FilmBook during an eCommerce B-School course in 2008. Cinema and TV addict. Former writer at Empire Movies, Blogcritics, and Alternative Film Guide. In addition to writing for FilmBook, he also edits the copy published on the website, manages its writing staff, manages the back-end operations, site finances, its social network accounts, and works with publicists, actors, and companies on press coverage and promotions. He has also created ProMovieBlogger.com and Trending Awards.com.

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