June’s decision to return to Gilead at the end of Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale may have proven more fruitful than initially expected because she’s now in a position to help the Marthas in the rebellion and has learned to navigate Gilead’s rules to get what she wants. However, her new shopping partner, Ofmatthew (Ashleigh LaThrop) could foil June’s plans to destabilize Gilead from within.
Introduced in Season 3, Episode 2, “Mary and Martha,” Ofmatthew made a show of being incredibly pious. She’s displeased with June’s attempts to strike up conversation and is ever the dutiful Handmaid. Ofmatthew gets an increased role in Episode 4, “God Bless the Child.”
While at the Dedication, which is pretty much Gilead’s version of a christening (only creepier), June learns just how loyal Ofmatthew is to Gilead’s cause when it’s revealed she’s had not one, but three children for the patriarchal nation.
June looks disturbed by this information, but Ofmatthew looks rather pleased. “I am so blessed to serve Him,” she says. Later, when June is chastised and slapped in public, Ofmatthew snidely remarks that she deserved it. Could the new Ofmatthew be one of Season 3’s most prominent antagonists to June’s mission?
While June believes she has won some power over Commander Lawrence, Serena, and Fred Waterford — or, at the very least, has learned how to navigate her relationships to get what she wants — Ofmatthew poses another problem entirely.
June’s new shopping partner appears every bit the dutiful Handmaid who would turn in anyone she suspected of being part of the resistance. While the Handmaids have come to rely on each other for information and camaraderie, Ofmatthew seems content with her status. You might even call her vindictive toward anyone who might threaten her status.
In short, Ofmatthew is well aware of June’s defiance, and she isn’t here for it.
In that regard, Ofmatthew is different from the other Handmaids and poses a dangerous obstacle for June to navigate. While she might be unwilling to engage in any behavior that would jeopardize her good standing, it’s just as unlikely that Ofmatthew would look other way when June and the other handmaids act out. June may have finally learned how to manipulate those around her to get what she wants, but it wouldn’t be surprising if Ofmatthew attempts to thwart thwart June’s plans directly.
After all, sneaking around and exchanging information could become harder for June if Ofmatthew is watching like a hawk.
Ofmatthew isn’t the first Handmaid opposed to acts of rebellion.
Ofglen version 2.0 was always wary of stepping out of bounds. In fact, she quite enjoyed her new lifestyle and preferred it to her previous one (which is always an odd narrative choice given Gilead’s oppression and neglect of race as a factor). However, that all changed when Aunt Lydia tried to force the Handmaids to stone Janine to death at the end of Season 1. Ofglen was the first to refuse and was killed as punishment.
The same turn could happen with Ofmatthew, but so far, she seems to revel in the act of putting June in her place. Could she be the one who reports June’s actions to get her in serious trouble? Or would she face June head on? Maybe she’ll surprise us all and help June at a crucial moment.
All of these seem possible. There’s a lot that hasn’t been revealed about Ofmatthew’s backstory and why she puts on airs to appear like the most devout Handmaid in all of Gilead.
June’s potential nemesis might surprise us to become an ally by the end of Season 3, but we’re not holding our breaths.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 airs Wednesdays on Hulu.