The End Credits Song In 'The Handmaid's Tale' Episode 9 Epitomizes Moira's Spirit
Thus far, The Handmaid's Tale's musical choices have been sparse but deliberate. It's molded the light '80s dance pop of Simple Minds' "Don't You (Forget About Me)" into a proclamation of purpose and identity, "Cigarettes After Sex's “Nothing’s Gonna Hurt You Baby” into a momentous ode to hope, and Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit" into a frightening, feverish omen. And the end credits song in The Handmaid's Tale Episode 9, "The Bridge," is another bold, meaningful addition.
The track, titled "Wrap Your Arms Around Me," comes courtesy of Swedish brother-sister duo The Knife. They featured it on their 2013 album, Shaking the Habitual, a record that fittingly examines ideas of patriarchy, separatism, feminism, and socialism, among other themes. The song itself is menacing and eerie, coupling hushed vocals with tightly coiled production that simmers restlessly, like Offred, then blooms into a forceful, discordant rush.
Upon first listen, the lyrics seem uncharacteristically romantic: a woman dreams of finding her lover, building a house, and starting a family. But its traditionalist overtones are only surface level. Sings vocalist Karin Dreijer Andersson:
"I felt the earth, I felt the time
The sky was blue
Then I got the urge for penetration"
The last two lines seem to challenge gender roles, not play into them, juxtaposing the outdated idea that women must settle down to find fulfillment with the urge for experimentation and casual sex.
Later, Andersson floats over another telling verse:
"All the things that’s left to do
Feel love and build a house with you
And free the unborn child at the castle"
The unborn child in the castle calls back to Shaking the Habitual's exploration of monarchy, which like Gilead, hinges upon upholding sacred values and preserving a familial bloodline. As Andersson told Pitchfork in 2013:
"Sweden is still a monarchy. We think about ourselves as a democracy but we have built our society upon this structure where the throne is inherited by blood ... it’s insane and fascinating to build a society based on that kind of biological family, which I think is the most fragile construction in society."
It makes sense, then, that "Wrap Your Arms Around Me" would be played during such a profound and critical moment. It comes just after Moira, newly inspirited by Offred's resilience, seemingly kills a suitor at the brothel she's been enslaved at, steals his car, and drives off in pursuit of the freedom that was unceremoniously stripped from her. The music serves as the perfect mime for Moira's own mentality: fed up, empowered, and determined as hell.