One of the big themes this season of The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 has been motherhood. Viewers have been treated to all the types of fertility in the old America and Gilead. There was Moira's memory of being a surrogate to the Putnam family nearly losing their child, only for birth mother Janine to nurse back to health. Then there's Offred's pregnancy and her continuing quest to see her daughter, Hannah, despite it being against the law. But what does she know about Hannah? Who are Hannah's new parents on The Handmaid's Tale? Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 follow.
This week's episode sees Offred once again accepting there's little to no escape from Gilead. She's having her kid, it's going to the Waterfords, and she's going to be gone as soon as it's here. This is brought on by contractions at the supermarket. They're a false alarm, much to Serena Joy's rage, but without Serena knowing it, they do put Offred back in the frame of mind of making life here work.
Offred comes up with an idea. Serena Joy wants her out of their district? Fine. She doesn't want to be in this one anyway. What she wants is to be in Hannah's district. Can Commander Waterford make it happen?
It's a step too far with Fred, and it's the impetus for the Waterfords to forcibly rape Offred. Supposedly they do it to stimulate the birthing process and get her out of their lives, but it's really to remind her who has the power here.
But Commander Waterford, for whatever reason, feels bad afterward. It doesn't change what he did, it doesn't undo the damage, but his guilt pushes him to do something Offred would never have dared ask for. He uses his position to give her 10 whole minutes with her daughter.
The meeting is at an "undisclosed location" as it were, an empty house, where Hannah has been brought by the household chauffeur and the Martha. Her parents clearly have no idea she's there, have no idea she's missing. But they are a family high up enough on the ladder of power to have both a Martha and a Chauffeur, and those members of the family are in a position to spirit the child away on the word of Waterford. So it's a good indication whoever they are, it's pretty high up in the Gilead government.
Hannah doesn't give a lot of details of who they are, only to say they punish her "when she's bad." ("Only twice," clarifies the Martha.) They've also renamed her Agnes. She also understands what Offred's red robes mean, in that she knows her mother doesn't get to keep the baby she's having, no more than she could keep Hannah.
It's also clear Hannah remembers her mother being captured, and she "waited and waited" until one day she was assigned "new parents." The fact the Martha and the Chauffeur bring her is also instructive, as it suggests this is a home with no Handmaid. (Though perhaps a Handmaid would not be as able to travel as a Martha and a Chauffeur.)
But it's a good guess the family doesn't need one. They adopted one of the stray children who was captured on the way to Canada. That would explain why Hannah understands handmaids have children they don't get to keep, but only in a removed way. It's not something she's lived with first hand, it's just something she's seen other families have.
The good news is Hannah is back on the road and safely headed home before anyone comes to check on the house. Offred is not so lucky. Will it get back to Hannah's parent their daughter saw her real mother? Considering how many other problems June has right now, abandoned in the empty house by Nick, just as her contractions restart, I hope not.