The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 2 recap – what happened in “Nightshade”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 28, 2021 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Hulu series The Handmaids Tale season 4, episode 2 - Nightshade


Episode 2 continues the momentum as we see how far June has transformed, and it measures the impact her actions have had outside of Gilead. The story is not predictable by any means, keeping the audience on their toes.

This recap of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 2, “Nightshade,” contains spoilers.

After a violent start to season 4, June is already plotting the next phase for the Handmaids. She tells Janine not to worry as they see Guardians outside. They are looking for the Guardian they killed in the last episode. June tells the others that they need to leave as soon as possible. Season 4 shows how already how relentless this world is — there’s no time to breathe for this group of Handmaids.

In Canada, they celebrate June

In Canada, Luke is holding a conference — they celebrate June’s heroic efforts — they are calling it “Angel’s Flight.” Rita gives a speech and talks about how June stayed behind, knowing it was putting her in danger. She struggles to contain herself, so Luke heads on stage and states that June is still rumored to be alive and asks the audience for fundraising.

As we stated in season 3, June is becoming more of a symbol — she’s proven to be the leader of an unspoken resistance.

Securing the safehouse

June is placed in transport by the rogue Guardian, who is helping them. Eventually, she is led inside a building where men take breaks to live their fantasies with women. She heads inside a greenhouse — a hooded woman with her hood up (Daisy) states she thought June would be taller, especially after hearing she killed Commander Winslow. Daisy states that her actions have triggered a series of events, and they have a new safe house for her. Everything is referred to as “Mayday,” just like in season 3. The amount of respect for June from Daisy was obvious.

Serena is asked to play the victim

As Serena is medically examined, she is asked about her husband’s actions, including physical abuse. She’s been asked to play the victim to get her charges removed. Serena tells Mark that it’s way more complicated than abuse. Mark tells her that none of this is easy and wonders why she gives Fred the benefit of the doubt. Serena wants to see Fred alone and encourage him herself the drop claims.

She is reunited with Fred in the church of the facility. Serena tries to persuade him to drop the charges so she can see her daughter. Fred calls her delusional and states he will never allow her to see “his” daughter again. Serena tells Fred that he never stood up for her as soon as he got a taste of power. Fred believes he gave Serena too much freedom and that it doesn’t need to be like this.

It’s strange watching these two characters play out in a civilized world — normal and free environments are alien to them — how Fred talks to his wife shows she was as much as abused as an abuser.

Helping out the cause

Moira and Emily are helping to rehouse the children. Moira’s girlfriend enters, and there’s a strange tension between them — Emily tells Moira to go for dinner, but Moira wants to stay and help out. The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 2 “kind of” teases a possible romance — we shall see.

Moira visits one of the children from Gilead — he explains that he misses his Martha and asks if he will see them again. Moira tries to understand, but it’s an emotional and confusing situation.

She tells Emily about it and is frustrated. Moira states she loves June but is tired of feeling guilty and cleaning up June’s messes. Emily relates, stating June gave her a baby and stayed behind, and the pair laugh. Later on, Moira asks Rita to provide some dishes that the child will be familiar with from Gilead.

This scene gave me Room vibes, where the child can only see the world in his own skewed perspective after living the ways of Gilead since young.

Mrs. Keyes is worried about the Guardians

June is always plotting…she’s always thinking and keeping the audience on their toes.

June wants to kill the Military Commanders and flee to another safe house, but the others are not sure about her loose plans. When Mrs. Keyes enters the room, the group goes silent, and she does not like it. June tells her she will take care of the Guardians as they have many farms for them to check. June makes her aware that they are leaving soon, and Mrs. Keyes wants to join her — she sobs, begging June not to leave her there alone. June asks Mrs. Keyes if she has been slowly poisoning her Commander and asks her for the ingredients. The pair get to work to create plenty of poison.

Meeting Daisy again

June heads to the party where the Military Commanders are, and she meets her contact Daisy. Daisy is unsure of the plans. She gives her bottled alcohol that is full of poison. Daisy asks June to stick around for “the fireworks.”

The ending

Daisy heads around the party and feeds shots of the alcohol with poison to the Military Commanders — she even poisons her Aunt. June leaves the party with a smile on her face. When she heads back with the rogue Guardian, June senses something is wrong at the farmhouse. As she walks towards it with the rogue Guardian, she sees empty bullet cases; suddenly, the Guardian is shot in the head, and she has multiple lasers on her.

In the distance, Nick walks towards her, and he asks where the Handmaids are. He whispers to her that he’s trying to keep her alive. June looks at a gun nearby and stands up — lights shine on her as she’s captured. It seems that June played too many hands in her own resistance — the power she gained from building a rapport, and a sense of justice, provided her downfall.

Serena tells Mark that she’s done with Fred, but she learns that she’s pregnant in a shocking bombshell. He congratulates her.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 2 continues the momentum as we see how far June has transformed, and it measures the impact her actions have had outside of Gilead. The story is not predictable by any means, keeping the audience on their toes.

Hulu, Weekly TV
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