Of all the supporting characters on The Handmaid's Tale, fans know the least about Rita, the Waterfords' Martha. We learned a little about her backstory in Season 1, and her role has grown this season, but her true identity still remains a mystery. As the end of Season 2 approaches, some fans have begun to wonder if Rita has kept quiet on purpose — and whether she's up to something other than making soups and arranging centerpieces. Is Rita a spy on The Handmaid's Tale? One fan theory suggests that Rita has been feeding information to the American government, and honestly, I'm kind of convinced it's true.
Rita's loyalty has been hard to pin down throughout The Handmaid's Tale, so it's no surprise that fans are questioning whether she's a true Gilead believer. In Season 1, Rita seems to have a good relationship with Serena Joy, and she even reveals that she had a son who died in the war — but she doesn't say which side he was fighting for. But then, in Season 2, Rita's loyalty seems to shift when Serena slaps her during June's baby shower, and a few episodes later, she tearfully agrees to be a godmother to June's baby. It's possible that Rita is just trying to keep her head down in order to survive... or is there another explanation for her unpredictable behavior?
Throughout Season 2, fans on Reddit have speculated that there's much more to Rita's mild mannered nature than she lets on. In fact, many think that she's purposefully keeping a low profile in the Waterford house because she's an American spy collecting information on Gilead. Rita doesn't speak much on the show, and we don't know a lot about her life pre-Gilead, but after thoroughly analyzing her behavior, fans seem to think that her allegiance to Gilead is all a show.
As one user, csemege, explains:
There’s no way she’s a true believer. She can be religious, but not in the Gilead way. Remember when she said that Isaac could break her jaw without any consequences? She’s too smart to be a true believer ... What if Rita is spying on them? What if she’s hiding something in those bean jars?
If you think about it, being a Martha is a great cover for a spy. As a Martha, Rita is involved in all of the house's activities — meals, parties, ceremonies, and more — giving her plenty of opportunities to collect information. Plus, she's responsible for cleaning the house, including (presumably) Fred's office, where many important internal documents are kept. As long as she keeps her head down, it wouldn't be that difficult for a Martha to get her hands on state secrets.
According to Amanda Brugel, who plays Rita, the Waterfords' Martha will play a large role in the end of Season 2. Brugel recently told Vanity Fair that Rita's storyline is so unexpected that even she didn't see it coming:
In Season 1, we left off not knowing what side she was on. Was she in an allegiance with Gilead? Was she someone who would fight for humanity, [or] just trying to get by? In Season 2, we truly find out the answer to that question, and it’s shocking to me what the answer is. I felt like I knew where she was going, and then it took a hard left.
Um, what? I'm going to need to know exactly what this means ASAP.
I love the idea that Rita is a spy, so hopefully, the "hard left" she takes helps bring down Gilead. Season 2 has been building towards some kind of major event — some fans think there will be a fire in the Waterford house, while others believe that Canada will invade Gilead — and it's looking more and more likely that Rita will be involved in some way.
Even if Rita isn't a spy, I'm still confident that she'll play an important role in the Season 2 finale. Can you imagine how many secrets she's learned since she arrived at the Waterford house? It's only a matter of time before she spills.