The Best Episodes of The Handmaid's Tale

Last Updated: Nov 26, 2018

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.

Night

#1 - Night

Season 1 - Episode 10

Serena Joy confronts Offred and the Commander. Offred struggles with a complicated, life-changing revelation. The Handmaids face a brutal decision.

star 8.26
4,209 votes
Directors: Kari Skogland
Writers: Bruce Miller
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The Word

#2 - The Word

Season 2 - Episode 13

Serena and the other Wives strive to make change. Emily learns more about her new Commander. Offred faces a difficult decision.

star 8.21
2,191 votes
Directors: Mike Barker
Writers: Bruce Miller
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The Last Ceremony

#3 - The Last Ceremony

Season 2 - Episode 10

A frustrated Serena becomes desperate. The Commander tries to make amends with Offred. Nick pushes Eden farther away. Offred is faced with an unexpected reunion.

star 8.12
2,303 votes
Directors: Jeremy Podeswa
Writers: Yahlin Chang
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Smart Power

#4 - Smart Power

Season 2 - Episode 9

The Waterfords embark on a diplomatic trip abroad. Serena faces the temptation of life outside Gilead. Luke and Moira grapple with survivor's guilt. Offred seeks support from allies.

star 8.07
2,312 votes
Directors: Jeremy Podeswa
Writers: Dorothy Fortenberry
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June

#5 - June

Season 2 - Episode 1

Offred reckons with the consequences of a dangerous decision while haunted by memories from her past and the violent beginnings of Gilead.

star 8.04
3,088 votes
Directors: Mike Barker
Writers: Bruce Miller
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First Blood

#6 - First Blood

Season 2 - Episode 6

Offred finds unexpected allies and obstacles in her search for a way to protect Hannah. The Commander prepares for the dedication of a new Red Center. Nick struggles with his new assignment.

star 8.02
2,506 votes
Directors: Mike Barker
Writers: Bruce Miller
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Women's Work

#7 - Women's Work

Season 2 - Episode 8

A sick baby tests Offred and Serena. Janine finally faces Naomi.

star 8.00
2,356 votes
Directors: Kari Skogland
Writers: Bruce Miller
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The Bridge

#8 - The Bridge

Season 1 - Episode 9

Offred embarks on a dangerous mission for the resistance. Janine moves to a new posting. Serena Joy suspects the Commander’s infidelity.

star 7.94
4,108 votes
Directors: Kate Dennis
Writers: Eric Tuchman
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A Woman's Place

#9 - A Woman's Place

Season 1 - Episode 6

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.

star 7.94
4,189 votes
Writers: Wendy Straker Hauser
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Holly

#10 - Holly

Season 2 - Episode 11

Offred faces a grueling challenge alone as she recalls her life as a mother. Serena Joy and the Commander deal with the fallout of their actions towards Offred.

star 7.88
2,230 votes
Directors: Daina Reid
Writers: Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder
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Postpartum

#11 - Postpartum

Season 2 - Episode 12

Offred is sent to a familiar place. Nick is rocked by Gilead’s brutal response to a crime. Emily is assigned to a mysterious new house.

star 7.86
2,154 votes
Directors: Daina Reid
Writers: Eric Tuchman
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After

#12 - After

Season 2 - Episode 7

An attack sends shockwaves through both Gilead and Little America. Serena Joy makes a dangerous choice in order to protect her family. Moira searches for someone from her past.

star 7.85
2,364 votes
Directors: Kari Skogland
Writers: Bruce Miller
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Baggage

#13 - Baggage

Season 2 - Episode 3

Offred reflects on her relationship with her mother as she navigates her way through Gilead. In Little America, Moira tries to cope with the trauma she endured.

star 7.84
2,753 votes
Directors: Kari Skogland
Writers: Bruce Miller
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Unwomen

#14 - Unwomen

Season 2 - Episode 2

Offred adjusts to a new way of life. The arrival of an unexpected person disrupts the Colonies. A family is torn apart by the rise of Gilead.

star 7.82
2,878 votes
Directors: Mike Barker
Writers: Bruce Miller
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Seeds

#15 - Seeds

Season 2 - Episode 5

Offred spirals as a Gilead ceremony disrupts her relationship with Nick. Janine tries to adjust to life in the Colonies, jeopardizing her friendship with Emily.

star 7.78
2,520 votes
Directors: Mike Barker
Writers: Bruce Miller
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Late

#16 - Late

Season 1 - Episode 3

Offred visits Janine’s baby with Serena Joy and remembers the early days of the revolution before Gilead. Ofglen faces a difficult challenge.

star 7.75
4,562 votes
Directors: Reed Morano
Writers: Bruce Miller
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The Other Side

#17 - The Other Side

Season 1 - Episode 7

Remembering her family’s treacherous escape attempt, a shocking revelation from life before Gilead provides a new perspective on Offred’s life.

star 7.73
4,047 votes
Writers: Lynn Renee Maxcy
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Other Women

#18 - Other Women

Season 2 - Episode 4

A baby shower provokes a troubling shift in Offred’s relationship with Serena Joy. Offred reckons with the choice she made that led her to become a Handmaid.

star 7.72
2,572 votes
Directors: Kari Skogland
Writers: Bruce Miller
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Jezebels

#19 - Jezebels

Season 1 - Episode 8

The Commander surprises Offred with a secret adventure in Gilead. Nick’s troubled past leads to his recruitment by the Sons of Jacob.

star 7.70
4,021 votes
Directors: Kate Dennis
Writers: Kira Snyder
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Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

#20 - Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum

Season 1 - Episode 4

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.

star 7.69
4,326 votes
Directors: Mike Barker
Writers: Leila Gerstein
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Birth Day

#21 - Birth Day

Season 1 - Episode 2

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.

star 7.68
4,697 votes
Directors: Reed Morano
Writers: Bruce Miller
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Faithful

#22 - Faithful

Season 1 - Episode 5

Serena Joy makes Offred a surprising proposition. Offred remembers the unconventional beginnings of her relationship with her husband.

star 7.66
4,209 votes
Directors: Mike Barker
Writers: Dorothy Fortenberry
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Offred

#23 - Offred

Season 1 - Episode 1

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.

star 7.58
5,644 votes
Directors: Reed Morano
Writers: Bruce Miller
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