Mamamia recaps The Handmaid's Tale season 4, episode 9: A deal with the devil.

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June is starring into the camera, again.

Oh, and now Luke is starring into the camera.

She's told him about the last time she saw Hannah, and like the angel he is he does not blame her at all and promises her that together, they will get Hannah out.

Luke has very quickly become the greatest character on this show, right? 

He shows June all the leads and work he's done from Canada to get them out of Gilead, and she's genuinely impressed. June has a tendency to forget that other people can also... do things. She's not the only one with anger and motivation, and here it's like someone smacks her over the head and says 'he cares, dummy'.

They set up a call with Commander Lawrence. It seems... too easy, but whatever, I'll let it slide. He's helped before, maybe he can help again.

Joseph tells her Janine is alive and safe. June is almost overcome by this news - relieved that Janine is alive, but knowing that she's certainly not 'safe'.

Joseph suggests a child swap situation. Hannah, for 10 of the Angel Flight kids? Maybe even five? If June negotiates with him?

Ah, Joseph loves a game. But June's not playing with children's lives.

What. Is. Your. Deal? Image: SBS. We can see he's actually a bit... upset. Maybe he would help her if he could, but he's stuck between a rock and a god damn totalitarian patriarchal theocracy, who have more than likely tapped his phone on account of the fact he was nearly killed for treason only a short while ago.


He tells her to move on, then after he hangs up, with no nosey Commanders listening in, whispers "if you can".

Janine is dutifully scrubbing the Red Center's floor when another troublesome Handmaid arrives.

Aunt Lydia scolds the girl - she's small, definitely not an adult - for an apparent hunger strike, raising her head.

Holy s**t, it's Esther Keyes. Fourteen-year-old Esther Keyes, married off to an old man who allowed her to be raped by whatever man came by their house.

So this is what Nick meant when he told June she was safe? Turned into a Handmaid? F*** you, Nick.

Over in the Canadian prison/day spa, Fred and Serena's new fans are sending them baby gifts. Fred holds up a mini suit like his own and I vomit in my mouth a little.

YUCK. Image: SBS. He then shows her a card, and she asks if she's allowed to read now. Turns out Fred has come around to the idea of women - or maybe just Serena - reading and writing again. How generous of him.

Aunt Lydia is sitting in the middle of the Aunt's Last Supper (we can but dream). 


She's in Jesus' position right in the middle and honestly, I'm a little disappointed she's not Judas. 

It makes absolutely no sense that 13 women are all lined up on one side of a table, but damn, it looks good.

She's gone from being the smallest in every frame, to literally sitting in Jesus' seat. I guess it is safe to safe Aunt Lydia has regained her power. Image: SBS. The Aunts are discussing what to do about Esther. Cut out her tongue? Janine, who is serving them, gasps at the suggestion and Aunt Lydia sends her back to the kitchen.

She and Aunt Ruth then discuss how 'fruitful' and helpful Janine is (gag), but also, how they can't keep her at the Red Center forever.

OH. So THAT'S Aunt Lydia's game plan. She actually, sort of, took on board Janine beging not to be a Handmaid again and has been slow assigning her a new posting.

They were going to send her to the breeding colonies before Aunt Lydia intervened. Remember when June was given this choice in episode three and chose to be a Handmaid again? Because the breeding colonies are effectively the worst parts of both Boston and the toxic wastelands of middle America? 

Aunt Lydia went in to bat for 'her girl', and Aunt Ruth tells her to consider the precedent of giving any Handmaid special treatment.

Mmm… it's too late for that.


Later that evening, Janine delivers tea to Aunt Lydia, who is looking at potential families for her fave Handmaid, because peer pressure.

Janine advocates for Esther, explaining how this 14-YEAR-OLD CHILD is only acting tough because she's scared and has had a hard life full of abuse.

Aunt Lydia says she will pause Esther's state-sanctioned torture (gosh, everyone is being so generous this episode!), and suggests Janine speak to her.

In Toronto, June is still looking through Luke's notes and plans. She finds a photo of Hannah, dressed in her Gilead pink, and sobs.

Luke calls Joseph a f**king arsehole, which I really enjoy. 

Then he suggests there is someone else who could help them. 


And his eyebrows.

June agrees to a call, because she knows Nick would do anything for her and Nichole. 

IT HURTS. Image: SBS. You can FEEL the pain in Luke's eyes at this, but he says a call won't do. Nick should come to Canada. Supposedly, waltzing across the northern border is much easier than we've been lead to believe for almost four entire seasons.

Luke's emotions are all over the place, and I mean, duh. At last, he and June's common goal has a solid lead, but in order to follow through with it he has to acknowledge the fact that there is someone else who loves and cares for his wife and the child he's raised. And his wife loves and cares for this person right back.


You can tell Luke doesn't understand it, how could he? But he's willing to do anything. And like he says, how can Nick say no when June shows him his daughter?

Serena is in her room when Naomi Putnam walks in. Another Gilead faithful has travelled north for a holiday? Suddenly, it's like open-borders.

Even Naomi remarks on how nice Serena's supposed prison cell is.


Naomi talks some s**t about Janine, then glances at a notepad Serena has been writing on. Whatever would God/the Council of Commanders say?

She delivers knitted jumpers from every Wife in the district, and Naomi tells her that she'd be honoured to raise the Waterford baby if Serena doesn't get out of prison in time.


That's the reason for the holiday. Just a friendly heads-up that Gilead wants their baby.

On the day spa roof, Commander Putnam gifts Fred some cigars. I mean, I feel like that should definitely be contraband, but this place's rules are all over the place.

Fred and Warren discuss Gilead's shitty war tactics, before Fred asks if there has been any negotiation on his behalf.

"Such as…" Warren responds, perplexed.

This is glorious. Image: SBS. 


Oh, Fred. You absolute idiot. 

These people don't care about you, and no, they have conducted precisely zero negotiations to save your arse. You're not worth it.

Putnam says Gilead will continue sending thoughts and prayers, which is perhaps the line of the season.

*chef's kiss* Image: Giphy. 

At the Red Center, Janine delivers Esther her breakfast. Esther assumes Janine's smuggled her way in, sneaking food from the kitchen and bypassing the guards.

She… has not.

Esther eats as Janine explains what happened in Chicago, and that there will be some really bad torture coming her way if she continues to be difficult.

Image: SBS. Esther, realising Janine is in cahoots with the Aunts, spits out her food. She doesn't care what happens to her, until Janine says they will only keep hurting her, and will never let her die.


"You need to stay alive so you can be here when things get better," she says.

Janine is too pure. Even after all this time, and all this s**t, she still has hope. Sob.

In Canada, June and Nichole leave to meet Nick. American officials are following in a Dodge, which brings fond memories of that time Tuello arrested Fred, otherwise known as the most satisfying moment of my life.

They arrive at an abandoned former Catholic school and June looks around… hopefully. 

There's Nick, closely followed by the best eyebrows on television.

No seriously, look at them, they are perfect. Image: SBS. He tells her freedom agrees with her and mate, can you NOT. 



But, well, kudos because Nick and his eyebrows have already done some groundwork. Hannah now lives in what was formally Colorado, she appears happy and safe and is a good student. He says getting her out is impossible, and so should be the fact that June is still alive, but here we are.

Nichole stirs, Nick gifts her a doll and then the three of them just kind of… cuddle. Light streams in from the window behind them and for a moment, they look like the happy family they could've been if it weren't for... literally everything.

Image: SBS. FFS, for a guy who played an integral part in the rise of Gilead, Nick makes it really hard to hate him.

As June is leaving, Nick and his eyebrows tell her to try to be happy. It elicits a very unusual close up of June's face where she does not look like she’s thinking about committing murder.

THE MOST SMILEY JUNE WE'VE EVER SEEN. Image: SBS. As she drives away Nick pulls something out of his pocket, puts it on his finger and… OH MY GOD HE'S MARRIED.


Jesus, and they didn't even invite the show's film crew to the wedding?

Whose idea was it for June to drive herself? She keeps blinking away tears and wiping her eyes and SURELY ONE OF THE SECRET SERVICE COULD TAKE THE WHEEL INSTEAD BECAUSE THIS FEELS UNSAFE?

In the day spa chapel, Fred is lamenting how his mates have abandoned him and Serena tells him how Gilead want their child, and how she could be made a Handmaid.

I don't tend to believe in karma, but... ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

Fred is fuming. It's almost like the world he helped create is royally f***ed.

At the Red Centre, it appears Esther has come around. She's eating, and speaking Godly platitudes back at Aunt Lydia.

Aunt Lydia thinks it's a Blessed Day indeed.

It's dark by the time June arrives home in Toronto. Luke is waiting for her, of course, and they both laugh and cry over the new photos of their daughter.

Ol' Coconuts and Treason is here too, and Moira and Luke ask him what the next part of the plan to get Hannah out is.

Hello, yes, let me deliver the worst possible news! Image: SBS. He drops a Chicago-just-before-a-cease-fire sized bomb. 


They have a new informant. Not just Nick in Gilead, but someone as powerful and valuable in Toronto itself: Mr Fred Waterford.

All it took was a visit from his one-handed frenemy and a threat to his child's future for Fred to come around.

He has agreed to give inside information but obviously there's a catch and wait, what? IN EXCHANGE FOR HIS FREEDOM???

Tuello says sometimes you have to let one fish go in order to catch a lot of other fish. I mean, sure, but Fred is a (very stupid) great white shark.

The cruelty of this is the entire episode has seen June have conversations with the three men who have, in different ways, ensured she has made it to this point. Allies, who cannot help her get what she needs.

It turns out the one who can is her greatest enemy.

June follows Tuello out in a rage.

"That man is a f**king rapist. The man is a f***ing rapist, and you know what he did to me."

She pushes him, but unlike Serena, Tuello is not going to cower below her. 

"You know what he did to all of us," she screams. "I will kill you!! I will kill you!!!!!!"

We know that's not an empty threat. And now Mr Coconuts and Treason is just… Mr Treason.

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Feature image: SBS.