Well, That Was Stressful: 'The Handmaid's Tale' Finale Recap

Alright everyone, here we are. The finale of season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale. If you’ve been following these recaps, you know that I’ve found the quality of this season to be…mixed. The first half of the season seemed fairly aimless, and the whole show has suffered from the fact that the intense rules they set up for the world of season one just can’t hold three seasons in. For one, June should have been hanged like, 10 times by now. For another, you can’t make me like the Waterfords. You just can’t. You especially can’t make me give two f*cks about their romantic Canadian road trip one episode after they forced June and Commander Z to have sex in front of his mentally ill wife for basically no reason. Sorry, but no amount of letting Serena drive is gonna get you out of that one.

That said, the season picked up a lot of steam once June came up with her plot to save 52 children (it’s almost like having a plot…is good for the plot) and we’ve been cruising on some good old Handmaid’s Tale emotional torture ever since. This episode was no exception. I cried like five times during this episode. My heart was in my throat the entire time, and at one point I actually had to physically stand up and walk around just to blow off some of the excess tension. That’s not to say there isn’t some bullsh*it in there, or that it doesn’t end with June looking directly to camera (spoiler), but all in all, this was a very good end to an extremely patchy season, and I think I’ll be back for season four. You think one wonky season can lose me? Pssh. I watched all of True Blood, bitches. You can’t lose me if you tried!

Now, to the episode…

We open on a flashback to right after June was first captured. She’s in a cage while guards scream “SHUT THE F*CK UP” at a line of disabled women being shoved into a van. This is literally just the first 30 seconds. Strap the f*ck in. June talks to a guard standing outside her cage and says, “they took my daughter and I don’t know where she is! Can you please tell me where she is?” If you didn’t think about the border here, you haven’t been reading your Betches Sup Newsletter and that, sadly, is on you.

A some random woman with curly hair is screaming obscenities at the guards as they all get loaded into a truck and it’s like wait…I know that voice. It’s….it’s…pre-crazy pre-one eyeball Crazy Ass One-Eyeball Janine! Yes!! It’s her before she was battered into becoming the Spongebob of Gilead, when she was just a regular-ass lady with a cursing problem aka all of us!! You love to see it.

Janine This Whole Scene:

Present Day Gilead

Back in the now, June is musing about how Gilead became Gilead.

June: Where does it come from…this talent for ruthlessness?
Me: Idk girl, you’re the one who watched a mentally ill woman overdose and then lied about it to her family because she annoyed you, so you tell me.

The plan to kidnap 52 children is going suuuper well, despite the fact that literally every handmaid is acting conspicuous as f*ck, handing things to each other in broad daylight and giving each other little secret smiles. For reasons that are unclear to me, June and Aunt Lydia have a little chaperoned meet-up in the middle of a bridge and Aunt Lydia notices that the handmaids are acting weird immediately. June, per usual, cannot help but be the most suspicious person in the world.

Aunt Lydia: What was that Janine just handed to you?
June: Oh…nothing… *winks*
Aunt Lydia: You’re not up to something are you?
June: Me? Up to something? Never! *winks again but really slowly*
Aunt Lydia: Why do you keep doing that?
June: Keep *wink* doing *wink* what *wink*?
Aunt Lydia: …I will kill you.

Anyway, none of this matters because in this world June gets away with everything, while background characters are killed for giggling. We just have to accept it at this point.

At Commander Zaddy’s house, everything is underway for the big plan. Beth the Martha is sick because her bitch-ass is “afraid” of “dying” or whatever. Someone should warn her what June does to people who don’t keep their sh*t together.

It’s still not 100% clear how the plan is going to work, but it clearly relies heavily on baked goods, as do all plans involving the Marthas. June also appears to be cutting up large amounts of soap, which makes me wonder…are they making bombs? Is this gonna be a Fight Club situation?

(It’s not, and the soap is just for the children on their journey, I guess, but its like…how the f*ck you gonna have a revolutionary underground domestic terrorist cut soap for an entire scene and not have her make a damn Tyler Durden soap bomb? COME ON, PEOPLE!!!)


Back to Chateau Prison aka Canadian jail. Serena (who is a war criminal), is informed that soon she’ll be allowed to leave the facility to sight-see in the city whenever she wants. At this point I’m having a hard time finding a difference between Serena’s jail time activities and my work trip to Montreal in 2017, but okay.

Later, in another portion of the jail, limp dick Fred tries to make a deal of his own. He clearly has not been as useful as Serena, seeing as he is wearing the same white shirt and suspenders he was wearing when they first caught him and she has a whole new wardrobe from Talbots.

But all that is about to change. Because Fred has info. Important info. Against Serena. Mr. Hot American Guy warns Fred that Serena has a deal that makes anything she did in Gilead immune from prosecution, but Fred insists this info is DIFFERENT.

My first thought is that he’s going to tell Mr. Hot American about how Serena basically masterminded blowing up the White House, but he doesn’t. He tells him about some other sh*t (we’ll get to it) that honestly seems well within the purview of her plea deal and is also sh*t they could have guessed Serena was involved in.

Between this and the soap, I feel like Handmaid’s Tale should stop f*cking around and just get me in the writer’s room for season 4. We’ll have Gilead straightened out in eight episodes flat and any oldies that are played will be tasteful and appropriate to the scene at hand. Just sayin’…

Back in Gilead

The first little girl has officially arrived (some people are always early) and June does her best to make smalltalk with a child even though she is a hardened criminal and murderer.

Little Girl: Do you know what it’s like…out?
June: It’s like it was before Gilead.
Little Girl: Yeah well I’m eight f*cking years old so I have no idea what that means.

June then begins to femsplain women’s rights to the little girl (you’re allowed to wear slutty outfits, you don’t have to marry some asshole, vocal fry is a right, not a privilege, etc…) and she’s just about to get to second wave feminism when her Martha bursts back in and tries to take the little girl back.

Everyone is freaking out about this Martha blowing the plan but June just calmly walks upstairs, grabs her glock, and informs the Martha that she will absolutely shoot her in the f*cking face if she so much as steps outside. Casual.

Little Girl Watching This All Go Down:

The Martha makes a run for it and June chases after her, fully ready to unload into the woods, but then ends up turning the gun on Little Girl and holding it in her face for about ten seconds, which is approximately thirty seconds too long to be holding a gun in a little girl’s face.

June This Whole Scene:

Cut to: June in Commander Zaddy’s office, feeling *really* bad about that whole “holding a gun in a little girl’s face” thing. It’s okay June, sh*t happens. Sometimes you get up on the wrong side of the bed. You snap at your boyfriend. You almost kill a child. Chalk it up to the Mondays and get back to your plan! Then in walks…COMMANDER ZADDY IN A SUIT YES MA’AM! Yum yum! Slurp! Owooooooga! Break me off a piece of that mourning old guy! HellooooOOOOooo (male) nurse!

Okay I’ll stop now.

Commander Zaddy is there to tell June that the Martha she let get away was actually spotted, and the plan is too dangerous and he’s calling it off. To which June replies…

June informs Commander Zaddy that despite his very cool penis, she is actually the one in charge here. She’s the one who came up with the plan. She’s the one communicating with the Marthas. And most importantly, she’s the one who is currently holding a gun.

June: Men…f*cking pathological.
Me this whole scene:


Back in Canada, international war criminal Serena Joy is casually hanging out with infant Nichole, fully outside her jail cell, without a care in the world. Until…she is under arrest! Was she not already under arrest? I distinctly remember her being placed under arrest.

Finally we find out the very bad thing that Fred told the Canadians and it’s that…Serena told Nick to impregnate June? Really? That’s the thing?

Serena: But isn’t this specifically covered by the plea agreement you described three scenes ago?
Mr. Hot American: No!
Serena: But why?
Mr. Hot American: Reasons!!!!

Honestly I cannot make heads or tails of this crazy Canadian justice system.


In Gilead, June is trying to be her best to be as nice as possible to the arriving children, probably to make up for the one she almost shot in the face. Inside, Command Zaddy has gathered all the children ‘round to read them a bedtime story. And my ovaries grew three sizes that day.

Janine arrives and tells them a Martha has been arrested, and June decides they need to GTFO before the whole plan is ruined. They leave and finally the plan is revealed…they’re gonna walk all 52 children (including babies) through the woods in a big-ass line, tying very large obvious white bows to trees along the way. Great work, team!

Now, here is where sh*t is stressful. I had about ten heart attacks watching them walk this Disneyland field trip’s worth of kids through the woods, while cars go by in the distance. I know Handmaid’s Tale. I know this show. I knew there was no way they were just gonna march these 52 lil ducklings through the woods with no problems, so I’m just sitting there waiting for the other shoe to drop. What’s going to happen? Is the baby going to cry? WHY ARE THEY ALWAYS TRAVELING WITH A BABY THAT IS ABOUT TO CRY? F*ck!!!

Finally, trouble arrives. June realizes there is no way for them to get to the airplane without crossing directly in front of some guards, so she does what June does best and offers to sacrifice herself. She’ll distract the guards (flash them??) while the others run by. Again, a foolproof plan.

But wait!!! Just as June is about to sacrifice herself, a bunch of handmaids and the Marthas (including Janine and OfRobert) come to help. Who is with the children at this moment? No f*cking clue. I think only Rita. As someone who once worked as a camp counselor and had to take a large group of children to Six Flags, I do not envy Rita in this moment. Like, I’d take my chances with the guards over chaperoning 52 children any day. Just my opinion.

While the kids stealthily cross a very very lit street, the handmaids enact their master plan to distract the guards by…throwing rocks at them? What?

This might be the most unbelievable scene in handmaids history. Like, I know that handmaids are highly skilled rock throwers, but this sh*t is ridiculous. For one, how the f*ck do they have so many rocks? Like, perfectly formed, large rocks. Second of all, they are not that far from the guards, and those guards have military grade weaponry (available now at Walmart!!). At some point wouldn’t they just…walk into the woods and figure out who the f*ck is throwing rocks? Why are these guards so afraid of rocks? Are we really supposed to believe that rocks + trees are an acceptable defense against an AR-15? Somebody tell Congress!

Anyway, this actually works because all of June’s plans work. But June hasn’t given up on the idea of sacrificing herself just yet. She breaks from the crowd and lures the guard into the woods. He shoots her. She shoots him. Everybody is shooting everybody, bang bang guns guns etc…etc…

Eventually, June incapacitates him and tricks him into giving the all-clear to his boss before point-blank shooting him in the face. How many murders is that for June this month? 3? 3.5 if you count the little girl she almost shot in the face? That’s almost one a week!

Hella injured, June lays in the grass and prepares to die. As she does, the plane flies overhead, and she knows she got the children out safe.

Me this whole scene:


Back in Canada, they’re having a mini-Gilead reunion/welcome party. Moira and Luke (the Jordan and Demi of Handmaid’s Tale) are there. Emily is there. It’s the whole crew! When the 52 children arrive, Moira is the first to greet them.

Moira: Hello, I’m Moira.
Little Girl: First question, when can I change out of this fugly dress?


Within minutes of being in Canada, Little Girl recognizes one of the relief workers as…her dad? That feels like quite the coincidence, but whatever. I’m so emotionally raw at this point that I accept this as something that could possibly happen.

We end on Rita meeting Luke for the first time and telling him June masterminded the plan.

Luke: Uh cool but where is she tho?

The Woods of Gilead

Cut to: June dying in the woods. She’s barely alive, flashing back to days with Hannah and Luke on a playground before Trump got elected or whatever the f*ck happend that brought all this about.

But of course, June can’t die, otherwise there’d be no show. Out of the woods emerge all her handmaid friends, who have constructed a little handmaid gurney out of Lord knows what and carry her to…IDK but probs not the hospital. Where will they bring her? What’s going to happen next? What is June thinking as she looks directly into camera for the 500th time?

Next season….on The Handmaid’s Tale…

Alise Morales
Alise Morales
Alise Morales is a comedy writer and performer. She is the writer of the Betches Sup Newsletter and co-host of the Betches Sup Podcast.