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!!!)

Canada

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:

Canada

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.

Gilead

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:

Canada

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?

They take the kids off the plan and immediately wrap them in tinfoil blankets and its like like OKAY ENOUGH WITH THE SYMBOLISM ABOUT THE BORDER!! I AM ALREADY VERY UPSET ABOUT THE BORDER!! I WATCH TV SO FOR A BRIEF MOMENT I CAN NOT BE THINKING ABOUT THE BORDER!! GODDAMMIT!!!

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…

OfMatthew the Narc: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Recap

Alright pals, here we go. June is fresh off her field trip to the National Mall which, unlike President Trump’s military parade, was not rained out. I guess God does shine on Gilead after all. We open on…rope. Long rope. Red rope. Scary rope. The handmaids have been assembled for some bizarre ceremonial tug-of-war. Per usual, this is not a normal game of tug-of-war, but rather, a deadly game of tug-of-war. At the end of the handmaids’ ropes are humans ready to be hanged. Honestly, this feels like something they could do fairly easily without the handmaids present but as we all know, Gilead is extra as f*ck.

Once they’re done facilitating the murder of five people, the handmaids head to the grocery store. Despite their friendly seeming moment last episode, OfMatthew is back on her bullsh*t, but now that June knows she is pregnant she can’t be as mean to her. You can’t be mean to a pregnant handmaid in Gilead. You just can’t.

“I heard the woman mistreated a child!” – OfMatthew, justifying how they all just helped kill someone.

At the grocery store, June spies a handmaid rocking a mouth cover and wonders if DC fashions are finally making their way to Boston. Someone call Vogue Gilead!

June meets up with OfRobert at the grocery store and they quickly devise a way to make OfMatthew go away, basically by telling her to go look at avocados. (Motion to make “go look at avocados” a new way of saying f*ck off?) OfRobert then directs June to the fruit cocktail aisle (June: “I love fruit cocktail!”) where the Martha from Hannah’s house is waiting to tell her how to get into Hannah’s school. In the background, OfMatthew stares on ominously. I thought we told this bitch to go look at avocados?

Canada

Praise be for more Emily scenes! May the Lord open on the acting styles of Alexis Bledel, who is being casually questioned by the Swedish government about the time she stole a car and ran a man over with it on purpose. Don’t they realize that was FOREVER ago? They’re also apparently concerned with the whole “stabbing Aunt Lydia five times and leaving her for dead” thing.

The Swedish Ambassador: So you stabbed an old woman and then pushed her down the stairs?
Sylvia: Okay but there’s CONTEXT!

Later at the bar, Moira tries to bond with Emily by remembering the good old days when they were just two happy lesbians in Boston. Unfortunately, Emily is more of a “stay at home with a glass of wine reading Jane Austen” lesbian than a “party all night at Boston’s best gay bars” lesbian, so they don’t have much in common. It’s almost like queer people are not a monolith, or something. Who knew!?!

Moira then invites Emily to “Bird-Dog” the Canadian minister, which is a particularly aggressive form of protesting that is “more in your face.” Ultimately, this turns out to be just them kind of chasing the minister down the street and yelling at him while he tries to get into his car.

Emily: Sign me the f*ck up.

Back in DC

Serena and Fred have decided to extend their vacation to the Capitol, and Serena appears to be making fast friends with Mrs. Winslow. Mrs. Winslow seems cool for now, but she is definitely going to do something extremely f*cked up in the future. It’s just a matter of time.

Mrs. W shows Serena a house she could buy if she decides to stay in the District. It’s literally full of the old owners’ belongings, including family photos, half empty wine glasses, and a nursery, but nobody seems to care about that.

Personally, I’ve seen enough American Horror Story to know that this house is absolutely full of ghosts. Like, floor to ceiling spirits up in this bitch. Maybe when Handmaid’s Tale is over they’ll do a spinoff about the Waterfords living in a haunted house? Just a thought…

Meanwhile at work, Fred finds out from Commander Winslow (aka Christopher Meloni aka Stabler from SVU) that it would actually be “more advantageous” to Gilead for Nichole to stay in Canada for now. Turns out Fred’s freaky YouTube videos have been working, and now other countries like Canada are interested in working with Gilead. The power of YouTube, man.

Again, we end on a shot of Commander Winslow’s hand on Fred’s arm for just a little bit too long. Just so we’re all clear, if this is going where we all think it is going and the show tries to pull a “Fred has a #MeToo experience in the workplace that teaches him to respect women,” I might have to tap out of this show.

Okay so I won’t actually do that, but I will be pissed.

Mrs.Lawrence’s Big Adventure

Back at Commander Zaddy’s place, June has the following exchange with their Martha, which I loved.

June: Where is Commander Lawrence?
Martha: I don’t know, in some Commander place, doing Commander things?”

June needs to be in Brookline by 3pm to get to Hannah’s school, which I misunderstand as “Brooklyn” and spend the next five minutes being extremely confused as to how June plans to get from Boston to Brooklyn by mid-afternoon. Amtrak doesn’t go that fast, and I highly doubt June has the cash to spring for the Acela Express. Megabus, obviously, is out of the question.

Finally June settles on a different mode of transportation: escort by Madame Zaddy. So I guess we’re exploiting mentally ill people now. Not cool, June. Not cool.

Literally the moment they walk outside it becomes very clear why Lady Z is not allowed in public. In addition to her mysterious condition, she also appears to have a problem with her brain-to-mouth filter. Same, madame. Same.

Mrs. Putnam: Hello Mrs. Lawrence! So good to see you!
Mrs. Lawrence (aka Madame Zaddy): REALLY GLAD YOUR BABY DIDN’T DIE!!!!
June: Uh…we gotta go…

Ultimately, this whole exchange makes June feel bad about kidnapping a sick person, and comes clean about the real intention of their trip.

Mrs Lawrence: Sign me the f*ck up.

It’s always the “crazy” friend that has your back. Never forget it.

Sadly, Mrs. Lawrence isn’t quite able to handle all of the excitement and the whole plan goes to sh*t immediately when the two of them are separated. June is left standing just outside the wall of the school, able to hear Hannah playing but not able to get to her. When she finally finds Mrs. Lawrence again, it looks something like this:

June: Yeah okay we’ll see our way out…

Back in D.C.

Cut to: Commander Waterford and Serena Joy on a date. He’s feeding her some bullsh*t line about how he’s gonna get Nichole back, even though we all know his boss just told him it would be more politically expedient for Nichole to stay in Canada.

SJ: I was worried some might think it more politically expedient to have Nichole stay in Canada.
Fred: WHAT NO WHO TOLD YOU THAT HAHA THATS CRAZY ANYWAY HOW BOUT ‘DEM YANKEES?

The two follow their date up by attending a fancy D.C. party, where all the wives are wearing their best gowns (aka the exact same thing they always wear but with gloves and a little hat). Serena can clearly see her and Fred staying here. It would look something like this:

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Looking forward to another great day in London. ???? #USStateVisit

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This scene ends with a classic “everyone parts ways to watch two the lovers dance” scene between Fred and Serena, which I personally found excruciating. They are not even that good at dancing. Call me when they can do this:

Canada

Emily and Moira casually go to jail for “bird-dogging” a government official. Whatever. They’ve lived in Gilead so at this point a Canadian jail is probably like a resort to them. Moira is continuing to try to be buddy-buddy with Emily. The results are mixed.

Moira: Crazy we’re in here right? Maybe you and Syl can have after-prison sex?
Emily: I killed a wife. In the colonies. I didn’t have to do it. I poisoned her. I’m not sorry.

Moira realizes that connecting over queer culture isn’t gonna happen, so she pivots to connecting over the people they’ve killed that they’re not sorry about. They conclude that as long as they don’t kill anyone now that they’re in Canada, it’s all good.

We’ll see about that.

In Gilead

The episode ends on another game of tug-of-war, but this time Hannah’s Martha who helped June is up on the block. How did Gilead find out about her? Was it…

…oh no…

…of f*cking course…

…of….MATTHEW.

Goddamnit! Didn’t I tell you this chick was a narc? And here she is, narc-ing to the highest degree!!!

June when she finds out what OfMatthew has done:

Once again, by season one Gilead rules, June would be killed for this immediately, but by season three rules she’ll probably just get a stern side-eye from Aunt Lydia or something. Truly the saddest part about all of this is that if June had been reading these recaps, she would have known of OfMatthew’s obvious narc-ery, and none of this would have ever happened.

Until next week!

Images: Hulu; Giphy (4);  ivankatrump / Instagram