Serena Joy Waterford is not the only one in The Handmaid's Tale that is expecting. Wednesday's new episode of the award-winning Hulu original drama revealed two additional characters are pregnant, though the circumstances couldn't be any different. Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 5, Episode 6, "Together."
After the Season 5 premiere saw Esther poisoning herself and Janine after receiving her first posting as a handmaid, "Together" opened by giving viewers an update on the health of one of the handmaids whose life had been left hanging in the balance: Esther. While it was previously revealed that Janine survived and had been discharged from the hospital, Esther remained hospitalized as of Episode 6, which also revealed the devastating news that she is pregnant. In a heartbreaking scene at the beginning of the episode, Aunt Lydia, who seems to be softening and changing amid the events in the premiere, visits the newest handmaiden assigned to her care, telling her that she was told of the blessed news. The pregnancy is not viewed in the same light by Esther, who remains restrained to her bed, lashing out, as she tells Aunt Lydia that Commander Putnam, the household she was meant to be assigned to, raped her when the handmaids visited his home as arrangements for Commander Waterford's funeral were being made. The sexual assault, it turns out, is what led Esther to poison herself.
Despite the pregnancy being the product of rape and it being very clear that Esther does not wish to carry the fetus to term, in the world of Gilead, Esther, who is just a child, has no say in the matter. As has been seen time and time again, she will be forced to carry the fetus, being restrained for the duration of her pregnancy if need be, and after giving birth, will be forced to give her baby away, similar to June, Janine, and countless other handmaids before her.
Standing in stark contrast to Esther is Rose, who is revealed to be expecting her first child with her husband, Nick Blaine. Theirs is a child conceived consensually and out of love and respect, something that was not awarded to Esther, and the joint pregnancy reveals highlight the stark differences different classes face in Gilead.
Things do seem to be changing in Gilead, though, and while Esther is not the first handmaid to become pregnant after being raped, her rapist ends up paying for his crimes. In the final minutes of the episode, Commander Lawrence and Nick arrive at the restaurant where Putnam and his wife are having a meal, and Putnam is arrested for his crimes before being executed in front of his wife and the other commanders, setting an example. New episodes of The Handmaid's Tale drop on Hulu on Wednesdays. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest streaming news!