The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 7 recap – “No Man’s Land”

October 19, 2022
Adam Lock 10
Hulu, Streaming Service, Weekly TV
4.5

Summary

Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski deliver outstanding performances in “No Man’s Land” as the two rivals are finally reunited. This is another utterly engrossing installment, highlighting the show’s keen eye for drama and emotional nuance.

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4.5

Summary

Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski deliver outstanding performances in “No Man’s Land” as the two rivals are finally reunited. This is another utterly engrossing installment, highlighting the show’s keen eye for drama and emotional nuance.

This recap of the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 7, “No Man’s Land,” contains spoilers.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 has really been firing on all cylinders of late, with some devastating revelations and plenty of cliffhanger endings to keep viewers coming back for more. The performances and the storytelling have all been top notch too, which thankfully continues in the stunning “No Man’s Land”. The seventh episode spends the majority of its runtime working like a bottle episode, with June and Serena escaping into the wilderness together after the previous instalment’s hijinks, whilst a flashback relates heavily to the two rival’s current predicament.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 7 recap

The episode picks up only seconds after “Together” ended, with June aimlessly racing down a back road with Serena pointing a gun squarely at her from the backseat. June desperately wants to know what the hell is going on, but Serena just continually orders her to keep on driving. Serena is in agony though and accidentally fires the weapon as she is jolted with pain. That’s the final straw for June who applies the brakes and quickly scarpers, running for the woods.

June manages to escape her captor and heads into the undergrowth. From her vantage point, she watches Serena give chase and crash her car into a ditch. Compelled to help her villainous foe, June turns back, coming to Serena’s aid. She quickly realizes that Serena is in the throes of labour, wailing in agony as another contraction occurs. June takes Serena’s gun and assesses the situation, spotting a barn in the distance.

Serena’s plans have well and truly fallen apart. They now find themselves lost in the wilderness, with Gilead hunting them down and a baby on the way. The writers have mounted one monumental dilemma on top of another, which leads to thrilling results. In the cold barn, June reflects on her own previous pregnancies and remarks about giving birth singlehandedly that one time. Serena isn’t much better off, but at least she has June this time, although she can’t bring herself to actually allow June to help her.

Flashbacks are cleverly intercut with these tense scenes. We revert back to the days when June was referred to as Offred. She is sent to a Commander’s wife’s house for the birth of a baby. Serena is there to support the wife, whilst June is there for the handmaid, Ofclarence. The handmaid is bleeding heavily though and she is consequently operated upon. The baby survives, but Ofclarence dies in labour. The handmaids watch as one of their own is wheeled out, whilst the rich ladies celebrate their newborn baby without remorse.

Back in the present, June storms off to try and get the car out of the ditch so she can escape this nightmare. Even if Serena and the unborn baby are to survive and June sticks around, they’ll be trapped in the middle of nowhere without some wheels. So she puts her efforts into solving this current problem first. June tries all sorts to move the vehicle, but it just won’t budge. Eventually, she places a car mat under the wheel and secures a wooden post under that. This works a treat and the car reverses back onto the road. June pulls away the broken glass from the gunshot and sees the blood on her hands. Is this Serena’s or her own? Either way, it triggers a response in June and she heads back to the barn to do the right thing.

June returns and assists in Serena’s painfully natural birth. Serena is overjoyed to have such a beautiful baby boy and even June is caught up in the moment. Serena names the baby Noah and the two enemies discuss breastfeeding. Noah latches on quickly, whilst June always struggled. Now that the drama is out of the way, the two rivals find time to discuss the more important things. Serena wants to know why June didn’t kill her when she had the chance and they debate Noah’s future. Both Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski are spellbinding in this sequence, delivering outstanding performances as the two enemies are drawn together by a life-changing event. June admits that she didn’t want to kill Serena and they both hope that Noah doesn’t turn out like his father, Fred.

The ending

June reiterates that they need to get to a hospital. They have no food or water and the temperature is bitterly cold within the barn. Serena may be sweating, but this is due to her fever. She adamantly refuses to go to a hospital, explaining the abusive relationship she has with the Wheelers. It’s heartbreaking to hear Serena talking of her abuse so candidly. She admits that they are controlling her and treating her like their handmaid. Serena states that she has no future and wants June to take her baby, to provide him with a safer life.

In this moment, June realizes that the handmaids were nothing but vessels to Serena and the other Gilead wives. She doesn’t want to be like them though and offers to save Serena’s life instead, adding that Noah needs his mother. It’s another powerful exchange in a truly gripping instalment. Shortly after, they find themselves at the hospital and Serena is taken away to be examined. June checks up on them later and Serena seems to have relaxed somewhat. She complains about the formula feed and just wanting to go home, although she doesn’t really have a place to call home anymore.

Luke and June are reunited and then the Canadian officials come to detain Serena. She is arrested on the spot and is informed that she is to be sent to a detention centre. Serena asks about her baby’s safety and they explain that Child Protection will be looking after Noah in the short term. The dire situation hits Serena hard and she starts to panic, screaming at June to come and help her. It’s a horrid end as Serena screams for help as they take her baby away, while Luke looks on, smiling, claiming this to be justice. Even the villainous Serena doesn’t deserve such a callous end.

What did you think of The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 7? Comment below.


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10 thoughts on “The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 7 recap – “No Man’s Land”

  • October 19, 2022 at 6:10 am
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    Riveting episode! I still have goosebumps!

  • October 19, 2022 at 6:33 am
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    Did you forget how Serena didn’t let June speak to Hannah her baby outside the Mackenzie’s home? How can anyone forget….

  • October 19, 2022 at 8:13 am
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    This episode was heart wrenching. They both put on such a good performance. You want to hate Serena just as June wants too. Then you see Serena in a different light. She is vulnerable and scared with only June to trust. I couldn’t help but cry. The flashbacks help you remember just who Serena was in Gilead. She showed her softer side at times but others was as horrible as her husband. When she tried to make June take her baby because she wants to die and she knows the person that June is. You see her try to do something out of 100% love. Serena finally shows that she knows the evil person she was. This selfless act is an act of redemption to the audience and even more importantly it was her bid of forgiveness from June but from God.
    June trying to do the right thing as always brings her to the hospital with all intention of protecting her and Noah.
    We are so use to seeing June be the one taking revenge that when Luke does it you almost get mad.
    The episode ended with crying for Serena. Her screams for June show just how much faith she has in June. Serena knows just how strong June is. I think in many ways June is what Serena wishes she could have been.
    You see the happiness on Luke’s face. Serena is beyond devastated. June looks mad at Luke and hopeless for Serena. I think she will have to give Serena the strength to get Noah back from the crazy Wheelers. June will help her. She can’t help but do what is right. She will have to get Serena I believe pulled together to fight with her and ultimately they will become a team. They will finally be able to be allies on the mission to destroy Gilliad.

  • October 19, 2022 at 8:16 am
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    This episode was heart wrenching. They both put on such a good performance. You want to hate Serena just as June wants too. Then you see Serena in a different light. She is vulnerable and scared with only June to trust. I couldn’t help but cry. The flashbacks help you remember just who Serena was in Gilead. She showed her softer side at times but others was as horrible as her husband. When she tried to make June take her baby because she wants to die and she knows the person that June is. You see her try to do something out of 100% love. Serena finally shows that she knows the evil person she was. This selfless act is an act of redemption to the audience and even more importantly it was her bid of forgiveness from June but from God.
    June trying to do the right thing as always brings her to the hospital with all intention of protecting her and Noah.
    We are so use to seeing June be the one taking revenge that when Luke does it you almost get mad.
    The episode ended with crying for Serena. Her screams for June show just how much faith she has in June. Serena knows just how strong June is. I think in many ways June is what Serena wishes she could have been.
    You see the happiness on Luke’s face. Serena is beyond devastated. June looks mad at Luke and hopeless for Serena. I think she will have to give Serena the strength to get Noah back from the crazy Wheelers. June will help her. She can’t help but do what is right. She will have to get Serena I believe pulled together to fight with her and ultimately they will become a team. They will finally be able to be allies on the mission to destroy Gilliad.

  • October 19, 2022 at 11:43 am
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    How did Luke escape no mans land. It wasn’t explained well…bit of a plot hole

  • October 19, 2022 at 12:51 pm
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    Wow this episode really pulled at the heartstrings. The scene with Serena and June in the barn after Noah is born…Serena telling June to take Noah and leave her to die…that maybe she is an angel sent from God to care for Noah and Serena is but the vessel..
    “this is God’s will” she says. June upset that Serena only ever saw June and the rest of the Handmaid’s as vessels and not humans but also sad that Serena thinks like this and is totally brainwashed by her religious delusions.

    She tells her “ look at him, look at your baby. You are the only person in the whole world that he knows. You are the only familiar smell. You are the only voice he recognises. You love him. And you wanted him so much. You’re his mother. And he belongs with you. That is God’s will.” She puts her chin in her hand and asks “do you understand me?” Serena sobs and smiles and nods at her.

    What a powerful scene! I had tears in my eyes at this stage. The acting was really next level.

  • October 19, 2022 at 2:15 pm
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    Yvonne S. is absolutely fantastic. Her character’s arc is proving to be incredible, and her ability (shown at its height in this ep) to have viewers’ questioning why they’re feeling sympathetic toward Serena- proves this actor’s incredible range. She is absolutely fantastic, (as is Lizzie Moss, of course). Well done.

  • October 19, 2022 at 3:15 pm
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    They said he’s legal send him back when they separated him and June

  • October 20, 2022 at 3:36 am
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    Why is Serena detained when she had been in Canada?

  • October 21, 2022 at 1:59 am
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    E7 didn’t show how Luke escaped his captors and just happened to be at the hospital. Anyone have a clue?

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