The Handmaid’s Tale Review: “Jezebels”

Anyone who has read the novel has been anticipating this scene, and the show, for the most part, delivers, providing further disturbing context.

Titles: “Jezebels”
Cast and Crew
Director: Kate Dennis
Writer: Kira Snyder, from the novel by Margaret Atwood

Elisabeth Moss as Offred / June
Joseph Fiennes as Commander Fred Waterford
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford
Max Minghella as Nick
Samira Wiley as Moira
Amanda Brugel as Rita
Robert Curtis Brown as Andrew Pryce
Christian Lloyd as Commander Guthrie
Todd Thomas Dark as Commander Derek Chambers
James McDougall as Driver #2
Amish Patel as Driver #1


She’s dressed absurdly, in a black outfit of once-shiny satin that looks the worse for wear. It’s strapless, wired from the inside, pushing up the breasts, but it doesn’t quite fit Moira, it’s too large, so that one breast is plumped out and the other one isn’t. She’s tugging absent-mindedly at the top, pulling it up. There’s a wad of cotton attached to the back, I can see it as she half-turns; it looks like a sanitary pad that’s been popped like a piece of popcorn. I realize that it’s supposed to be a tail. Attached to her head are two ears, of a rabbit or a deer; it’s not easy to tell; one of the ears has lost its starch or wiring and is flopping halfway down. She has a black bow tie around her neck and is wearing black net stockings and black high heels. She always hated high heels. (Atwood 251)

We learn more about the founding of Gilead and the origins of Nick, as our slightly unconventional Commander takes Offred/June to an elite brothel and club, where she has an unexpected reunion.
Meanwhile, the danger for the Commander increases. Others want to purge Gilead of, well, things like Jezebels, and they rely heavily on people like Nick.

High Point

We find some excellent contrasts here, between June’s and the Commander’s perceptions of the evening, and between the Moira who resisted and the one who has accepted her situation as the best choice available to her.

Low Point

I found the scenes between the future Commanders a fascinating frame for the main plot. Nick’s story, however, feels a little out of place. All we really need to know is that he is an Eye, and danger lurks for everyone, not just the Handmaids.

Of course, the Handmaids have quite a lot to fear.

The Scores:

Originality: 3/6 The series creates its own variation of Jezebels, and introduces context not available to the first-person narrator of the source novel.

Effects: 3/6

Acting: 6/6

Story: 5/6 The storylines have been set out to emphasize the horror and hypocrisy of the regime. And, no, you don’t have to look far to find real-world equivalents of men like the Commander.

Emotional Response: 5/6

Production: 6/6

Overall: 5/6

In total, “Jezebels” receives 33/42