In a dystopian near-future, the totalitarian and Christian-fundamentalist government of Gilead rules the former United States amidst an ongoing civil war and subjugates women, who are not allowed to work, control money, or even read. Widespread infertility due to environmental contamination has resulted in the conscription of young fertile women—called Handmaids, according to biblical precedent—who are assigned to the homes of the elite, where they must have ritualized sex with the men in order to become pregnant and bear children for those men and their wives.
Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife.
Offred and her fellow Handmaids assist with the delivery of Janine’s baby, prompting Offred to recall her own daughter’s birth. Offred draws closer to Ofglen while dreading a secret meeting with the Commander.
Offred visits Janine’s baby with Serena Joy and remembers the early days of the revolution before Gilead. Ofglen faces a difficult challenge.
Punished by Serena Joy, Offred begins to unravel and reflects on her time with Moira at the Red Center. A complication during the Ceremony threatens Offred’s survival with the Commander and Serena Joy.
Serena Joy makes Offred a surprising proposition. Offred remembers the unconventional beginnings of her relationship with her husband.
A Mexican Ambassador visiting Gilead questions Offred about her life as a Handmaid. Serena Joy reflects on her marriage and the role she once played in Gilead’s inception.
Remembering her family’s treacherous escape attempt, a shocking revelation from life before Gilead provides a new perspective on Offred’s life.
The Commander surprises Offred with a secret adventure in Gilead. Nick’s troubled past leads to his recruitment by the Sons of Jacob.
Offred embarks on a dangerous mission for the resistance. Janine moves to a new posting. Serena Joy suspects the Commander’s infidelity.