This post contains spoilers for season two of The Handmaid’s Tale.
Even for passionate fans of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, episode 10, which aired last week, was particularly hard to watch.
When June (Elizabeth Moss) goes into labour, Fred Waterford, the commander (Joseph Fiennes) and his wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) start eagerly preparing for the imminent arrival of their child. It soon becomes clear, however, that June is experiencing Braxton Hicks contractions, and the baby isn’t on its way.
Furious and humiliated, Serena Joy takes June to a doctor and demands she be induced immediately. When the request is declined, the Waterfords decide to bring on their handmaid’s labour in “the most natural way” – through sex.
June is taken into the couple’s bedroom, and suddenly becomes aware of their plan. “No, please,” she says, panicked. “You could hurt the baby. . . . Serena, listen to me. You don’t have to do this.”
What follows is the harrowing rape of June, who is nine months pregnant.
In the wake of the disturbing scene, the episode’s writer, Yahlin Chang, had a crucial request for viewers: “Please don’t stop watching.”