The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 8 ‘Unfit’ Recap and Review
The episode starts with a birthing ritual that looks pretty familiar. We get a little background of a woman named Francis. It could be the Martha killed in the last episode. June’s Handmaid partner (I really should learn her name) turned her in. June runs this shit now. She has made all the other HM’s turn against her walking partner. It’s a hard knock life for a collaborator. Aunt Lydia tells June to tell her friends to lay off. June says Naw and that she is needed to look pretty on camera and that she is untouchable until they get her daughter back. Aunt Lydia says “Bet” and that the entire bus will make a pit stop before going home. I have seen this one before.
The pit stop appears to be a high school gym (nothing good happens in a high school gym). All of the HM’s are pointing at June and saying it’s her fault the Martha died. June does not give a fuck. She says yep it was my fault. Aunt Lydia tells her there is freedom in confessing. Lydia also says that Agnes, the baby who lived in the dead Martha’s house, also has to suffer. That seems to be the ticket to get June to react. She raises her hand and says she has another confession. OHHHHH FUCK. She says OfMatthew doesn’t want her baby. So that’s walking partners name. Lydia asks OfMatthew to confess and because she doesn’t like to lie she admits to it (Oh mannnnnnnn who is she Immanuel friggin Kant…deep cut there). She switches places with June and admits to everything. Everyone calls her a sinner. She is on the ropes. Now they are calling her a cry baby. OfMatthew is losing it. June is enjoying this immensely but it seems rather petty. But again I am here for some pettiness. I think Lydia is picking up that June is losing it.
Now we get a flashback of Aunt Lydia. She seems to be an elementary school teacher. This whole scene reminds me of The Leftovers. She is watching a child whose mother has not picked him up. Just as she is about to leave the late mother arrives and they both agree to come over for the famous chili that Lydia promised. Lydia cares about the children she teaches but is deeply religious. At Lydia’s the mom is bitching about how objectifying her job is. Lydia does not approve of her language. Lydia then tells her she should find a different job. Lydia tells her her son is special and they both agree that mom could be better.
Now back to high school gym from hell. The handmaids are standing in rows and Lydia dismisses a few of them. She thanks June for giving her the news about OfMatthew. June says you bet.
June returns home and asks Joseph if he has heard any news about the current situation. He says not to ask again and to go to her room. Apparently, they are not cool with one another. I mean she messed with his wife. June goes to her room and monologues about pain. One of the Martha’s of the house comes to tell June to get dressed and that there is a car waiting downstairs. Its time for real to have the baby we started out this episode waiting on.
She watches the HM have the baby while reciting Tinker, Tailor. She then mentions name choices are pretty limited for baby girls. The baby comes out and everyone stops (clearly something is wrong with it). Man, this scene is rough. The HM’s rush to hug the actual HM who had the baby, a shared scene of grief not entirely dissimilar to something seen in Midsommar. June investigates the stillborn baby (looks to be a cord that wrapped around her neck). She then joins the rest of the HMs. The baby belonged to OfAndy (I am all about the names this week). Joseph wants to know the gender so he can tell his wife. June tells her “Dead”. Joseph says his wife does not need to know that detail. June doubles down now and says the responsible thing would be to seek help for his wife out of the country. Joseph said “I bet that felt good”. Their cat and mouse is way more fun than Fred’s who is pretty dumb.
We get the interworkings of how the Aunts decide which HM goes where. Nice to see that racism is alive and well as one family rejects one of the HM because she is African American, or African Gilead whichever the preferred term is in this world (probably the least of the Handmaid’s problems I would imagine). They discuss what to do about OfAndy when she gets healthy. Lydia is bitching about OfJoseph.
The teacher Lydia hosts the same family for Christmas heaping presents on the boy. The boy and the mom give Lydia some makeup. She is not really excited about the gift or the impeding makeover that ensues. This whole scene is REALLY uncomfortable and I can’t exactly pinpoint why. They discuss mom’s love life. Her new boyfriend is married….That ain’t great especially to newly designated Aunt Lydia. That’s what they call her. They both agree to try harder to meet someone. Lydia appears by herself at a night club of sorts (all dolled up I might add). She looks lost and about as unconfident as someone could be). She meets what appears to be a nice man who talks her into having a glass of champagne. They discuss how education has all become privatized (this episode is really leaning into my issues). The food comes and they say grace. Oh gawd, its bad karaoke that leads to the revolution. Lydia’s date is singing. He talks her into singing with him. She seems to enjoy herself, which means in this nightmarescape something bad will happen very soon. They share an intimate dance as the new year counts down around them. Honestly not a bad way to spend the new year. He kisses her cheek as the crowd sings Auld Lang Syne. Back at the house he admires her tree and mentions he has had quiet Christmases since his wife passed. They are sloppily making out on the couch now. Unexpectedly she is the aggressor as we move closer to the something awful that is going to ruin this moment of the episode, she grabs his dick. He tells her to slow down and she flips out and the date ends with him wanting to see her again and her rebuking him. Also, apparently its the principal we met at the beginning which I completely missed. Lydia is now breaking the bathroom mirror. At school, Lydia is reporting the child and his mother to the state. Apparently, teachers have been empowered to report immoral behavior. We learn Ryan has been removed from his mother. The mother (Noel) confronts Lydia and here we get the true roots of “Aunt Lydia”. She tells the mother she was ruining Ryan.
Aunt Lydia pulls June’s file. They mention June sucks as a walking partner and as a Hand Maid. Looks like they are going to change her walking partner, perhaps her home. June is enjoying looking at others pain at the supermarket (I don’t love the masochistic side of June). June mentions she knows how suicide bombers feel. Aunt Lydia tells June that she is going to be removed from the Lawrences. OfMatthew loses her shit and beats Janine (one-eyed Jack) with what appears to be a can of crab bisque. She then pulls a gun from one of the guards and attempts to shoot Lydia before she is shot. If there is the opposite of Deus Ex Machina it might be the ending of this episode.
Tyler has been the editor in chief of Signal Horizon since its conception. He is also the Director of Monsters 101 at Truman State University a class that pairs horror movie criticism with survival skills to help middle and high school students learn critical thinking. When he is not watching, teaching or thinking about horror he is the Director of Debate and Forensics at a high school in Kansas City, Missouri.