The Handmaid's Tale is the story of Offred, the Handmaid assigned to the Waterford household, her past and how she got to this point in her life. But the TV adaptation from Hulu doesn't just focus on Offred, even though she is the main character. They also give us Offred's best friend Moira, who escapes the Red center and becomes a Jezebel. And they give us Ofglen, Offred's fellow Handmaid. What happened to Ofglen in The Handmaid's Tale Season 1? What should we remember about her heading into the upcoming Season 2?
As an adaption of the Atwood novel, Ofglen's story is greatly expanded in the TV show. On the page, her story is far shorter and far more tragic. Unlike Ofglen on screen, readers never learn Ofglen's real name. They never learn her backstory, if she was married, or if she had kids. All Offred knows of her is that one day as they are walking to market they realize the other is not a true believer. Ofglen tells Offred of Mayday, an underground rebellion that she's joined, and encourages Offred to join too. She also warns Offred there's an Eye in her household.
And that's.....basically it. Ofglen then disappears. Later on, she returns, during one of the Handmaid's judgment circles (known in the books as Particicutions) attacking the condemned. It turns out he was a Mayday member, and she was making his death quick and painless. But her actions lead her to be revealed as a Mayday member herself, and she hangs herself ahead of being arrested. Offred hears about it second hand, from the new Ofglen.
As for on the show:
Ofglen Introduces Offred To Mayday
When we first meet Ofglen, Offred hates her. She thinks that Ofglen is fake and pious, and probably a true believer to boot. But by the end of their shopping trip, she's learned nothing could be further from the truth.
Ofglen is as miserable as Offred. She too was once married with a child who she lost. But she wasn't married to a man like Offred was. She's what's known as a "gender traitor." Her wife and their daughter made it out of Gilead to Canada, but due to not having the right paperwork, Emily couldn't go with them.
She's now a committed member of Mayday, though at first, she does not trust Offred enough to refer to the rebellion by name. She wants Offred to join her. Offred cannot remember being so hopeful or overjoyed to make a friend.
That is until she comes out one morning, and Ofglen is gone, replaced with a new Ofglen. What happened?
Ofglen Is Caught With A Martha
Ofglen's work with Mayday brought her in close contact with the Martha network (the housemaids, who apparently have their own gossip network for passing information.) That closeness meant that she got to know one Martha in particular, one who turned out to be another "gender traitor," and the two of them fell in love.
Unfortunately, someone found out and betrayed them. As the two of them are now considered abominations they were immediately removed from their household, and the Martha, being infertile, and therefore no use to society is immediately hanged, with Ofglen watching. But as a Handmaid, her ability to have children is too valuable to be killed in the same way. Instead, she is castrated so that she will no longer have the urge to betray her gender, while still being totally able to have children.
Ofglen Becomes Ofsteven
Once her castration is healed, Emily is reassigned to a brand new household, where she becomes Ofsteven. It's not long before Offred and the new Ofglen run into her during their daily errand runs for the household. Offred meets with her and is horrified at what happened. Ofglen reveals that her real name is Emily, and that the rebellion is Mayday, and that as someone in Commander Waterford's household, Offred would be a major asset to the rebellion.
But before Offred can learn more, Ofglen decides she's had enough and steals a government car that's sitting idle in the market. She might have escaped too, but she runs over a Guardian. The last we see of Emily she's being dragged away to parts unknown.
In Season 2, we'll find see Emily's been reassigned out in The Colonies. The new episodes begin arriving on Hulu on April 25, 2018.