'The Handmaid's Tale' delves into how Ofmatthew's apparent death will affect Aunt Lydia. Will this push her towards redemption?
Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), in episode 8 'Unfit' of season 3, 'The Handmaid's Tale' was witness to the death of a pregnant handmaid. Ofmatthew,(Ashleigh LaThrop) who was being bullied and harassed by the other handmaids for snitching on June Osborne aka Ofjoseph, loses her calm when Janine approaches her. While Janine only tried to comfort Ofmatthew, it triggered the pregnant handmaid's paranoia resulting in her losing her calm in Gilead's grocery store - Fishes and Loaves. She threw things around, attacked a guard with a broken piece of glass and acquired his gun.
She has a moment of panic before she points the gun at June (Elisabeth Moss). After all, it was June who influenced the other handmaids to harass her. It was also June who had revealed the truth about Ofmatthew's thoughts about the child that she was pregnant with. It only makes sense that June then be the one standing at the pointed end of the gun. However, June changes it all with one nod. With this one nod, June shows Ofmatthew that the person that she should point her gun at is Aunt Lydia.
The situation is ironic considering how Aunt Lydia took care of her girls, who were obedient. Not only was Ofmatthew obedient, but she had also given birth to babies before. In Gilead, this is equivalent to taking responsibility for 100s of homeless children. The handmaids are respected according to the number of children they have birthed. So when Ofmatthew points the gun at Aunt Lydia and is about to pull the trigger, we see Aunt Lydia getting ready to speak. She probably thought that she could talk Ofmatthew down and stop the situation from worsening.
However, the guards at Fishes and Loaves don't give her any chance to do this and as they shoot Ofmatthew down. She even goes down in a dramatic manner with her blood splattering onto Aunt Lydia's face. First, she is not ready to believe that it had all happened, and then it all seems to sink in; she understands the gravity of the situation. Gilead was built on the belief that humans are responsible for babies, and the protection of babies, is of utmost importance. With Ofmatthew's death, Lydia will only believe that the baby too was killed.
For a person who used to be an elementary teacher before Gilead who worried about the well-being of the children, this is not something easy to swallow. Now the question is, will this traumatic incident push her to do something in season 3 that would redeem everything that she had done so far. In DC, when Aunt Lydia and June talk, she did say that all she had hoped to do was help just one person. Any one person in life. So will she set out to do that now? We will have to wait and see in the upcoming episode of 'The Handmaid's Tale' on Wednesday on Hulu.