The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 3, Episode 13 “Mayday” [Season Finale] – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

With a season renewal already it announced, that undercuts what was a rather emotional end to season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale.

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June on the ground after the events of the episode.

With a season renewal already it announced, that undercuts what was a rather emotional end to season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Bruce Miller
Air Date 8/14/2019
Introduced This Episode
Rebecca (Kiki) Kate Moyer

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This Is My House: June, Kiki, Beth, Sienna, Commander Lawrence

With a Martha deciding not to follow instructions and bring their child, Kiki, during daylight, this complicates things. For Commander Lawrence, the issue begins just with the attention that is being brought to his house and him being less part of the escape and being used for it. Which, straight out, June makes clear that is his role. She has taken over his house, this is her plan, and Joseph simply is providing resources. Despite his title, he has no say.

But, as it becomes clear that June has taken over, she has to squash some issues. The first being Sienne, who is brought in on the plan since she was starting to get whiny. Secondly, there is checking in with Beth, who might be getting cold feet but, ultimately, says she is alright. Lastly, there is handling Kiki’s Martha who gets scared and damn near causes June to shoot her.

However, after the incident with Eleanor, it seems June hasn’t gone off a cliff just yet. Though, with arms spread wide, taking in that sea breeze, believe me when I say she is ready to leap.

Everything Is Conditional: Fred, Serena, Mark

For a scene or two, we visit Fred and Serena, and you can tell Fred is salty. He is aware of Serena’s deal, which soon will allow her to freely roam Canada, likely leave Fred far in her review, and so he decides to reveal Serena coerced Nick to have sex with June so they could have Nichole. Now, while the situation was complicated, as Serena notes by saying June and Nick were in a relationship, Mark sees it as coercion of rape, and so he strips her immunity. Oh, and her ability to see Nichole of course.

The Lank Of Milk and Honey: Janine, June, Rita, Rebecca, Luke, Sienna, Beth, Commander Lawrence, Emily

Getting back to June, with Sienna and Beth packing food and more for the trip, so comes the question of how to get to the airport? 50 some odd kids can’t be taken by car since roadblocks are already being put up due to Kiki being gone and one Martha murdering her family. So, it is decided they will go through the woods.

Now, as for Lawrence coming with? Well, while June did humble him, and he gets in line, even reads to the kids while June and the rest return from marking a path, he doesn’t want to go. In his mind, he has to stay and fix the mess he caused. It isn’t clear how he will, but this is what he commits to. Thus, June and the rest, including Janine and Rita, head through the woods and then encounter a guardian near the plane.

With that obstacle and that gun Joseph gave June in her boot, it seems she is ready to do something drastic to distract the guardian so the kids can leave. Which, ultimately, she does, but not before many, including Janine keep her from becoming a sacrificial lamb. Mind you, all they do is throw bricks and dodge bullets, but that gives Rita just enough time to get past his truck and get the kids into the plane.

Leaving three notable moments. The first being Janine and the rest scattering, as June makes sure the guardian is not only nowhere near the plane to hear it take off, but also calls off any attention that can be brought to the airport. On top of that, after he does as told, with June having a gun to his face, she kills him. But, I should add, the only reason June got the jump on him is because he shot her, she was prepared, and then the events noted happened.

Secondly, while we know June isn’t dead, she is carried away like she is knocking on heaven’s door. Also, despite Janine and many other familiar faces having the opportunity to escape with the kids, we see them helping June. Well, all except Rita.

Rita ends up in Canada, and this is the moment which may make you cry. Not her getting her freedom but the reunions. Rebecca, Kiki’s real name, reuniting with her dad, Emily embracing Rita, and then you’ll really be crying as Luke sees these kids pouring out this plane but Hannah not being one of them. Yet, his solace is knowing that his wife isn’t just staying in Gilead being tortured. Whether it is one or many, she is freeing people.

Question(s) Left Unanswered

  1. With the way Aunt Lydia is talking, should we assume if June returns to Commander’s Lawrence’s home alive, she’ll be leaving Commander Lawrence’s home for someone strict?
  2. Did the pilot know what he was a part of? I know he is paid to smuggle things in and out, but did he know, beforehand, it would be that many kids? Also, is he Canadian or from Gilead?

Collected Quote(s) & .Gifs

Popularity isn’t a contest, it’s a responsibility.
— Aunt Lydia


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Rebecca Reuniting With Her Dad

When it comes to emotional moments on this show, while Emily and Sylvia reuniting, and Oliver falling back into old routines was cute, I wouldn’t say it had me weeping. Rebecca reuniting with her dad and what came after? It pushed me to realize I’ve been drinking too much coffee and not enough water.

But, what matters here is The Handmaid’s Tale showing it does know how to still create an impactful scene, without having violence to it. That it can utilize all the various characters we’ve met and, maybe not consistently, but everyone in a while, remind us they are part of a much larger universe. One they play an essential role in to someone. Maybe not June but, big picture, June is but one soldier in a large scale war.

How June Handled That Soldier


I know, June killing a professional soldier is a stretch, but there was something just so badass about how she carried herself this episode. Granted, her punking Commander Lawrence made him look like a sap after him trying to seem like June’s superior who wouldn’t fall for her charm or nonsense. But, it also made all of this coming together not look like another opportunity to make June seem like the white Harriet Tubman, but someone who actually knows what she is doing and is willing to go extreme lengths to accomplish her goals. After all, she almost shot a Martha, let Eleanor die, and her naming off the other people she got killed wasn’t lost on me. June has made her mistakes and has come to the point she either has to give up or show she has learned from her past.

A Reminder Of How Long June Has Looked Out For Janine, To Make Janine Doing The Same More Meaningful

Janine, in the grand scheme of things, took a step back this season. Which made seeing her before Gilead indoctrinated her interesting. Especially since we haven’t gotten a flashback episode for her, to my recollection. But, with seeing June calm her down and keep something from happening to her from the beginning, it establishes how long she has been looking out for Janine. Making Janine coming back after June tried to sacrifice herself all the more meaningful. That is, alongside June keeping Janine from killing herself and her kid, and Janine checking in on June while she was in the hospital and keeping her from killing OfMatthew.

A Reminder These Kids Know Nothing Beyond Gilead

If the person’s name isn’t worth noting, generally we don’t write it. But, what made Rebecca different is that she is one of the first kids, not a teenager like Eden, who we’ve heard spoke. Never mind seen June interact with. That experience wasn’t necessarily jarring, since it was assumed that these kids, who know nothing else, would struggle with the idea of a more liberal world. However, to actually hear Rebecca question it, and June explain Gilead is an exception and not the rule, it really reminded you that this whole rescue operation wasn’t purely about June having a manic episode and seeing it through. With meeting Rebecca, being retold that she may suffer female genital mutilation, and having flashbacks of Eden, The Handmaid’s Tale seemed real again. Rather than the crazy adventures of June Osborne who never gets punished the way anyone else would for her antics.


Low Point

Commander Lawrence Got Punked

Not to repeat something already said but, what happened to Commander Lawrence? I get his wife died, but you’d think with the way he looked at June in the last episode, that would make him feeling the need to reassert himself into someone more hardline. Not to forget, possibly checking June since she is saying his home is hers, and he doesn’t have the power to stop her plan. Oh, and also making that snide comment about Joseph not being used to having strong women around him. Which, at the moment, seemed like a low blow for Eleanor just died, and June knew about Eleanor’s struggles.

Yet, the man who was the architect of Gilead, seemed no-nonsense and above June’s charm and antics, I guess he was buried with his wife.

On The Fence

June & Her Friends Seriously Can’t Live After This

Let’s take a step back for a moment and really think about what happened: Dozens of kids were just sent to Canada, Rita is a new witness that can be used against Fred and Serena, a guardian was shot near an airport, a commander and wife were killed, another drugged, and that all happened within a day. Not to forget, June used Mayday’s name to get Kiki, and after their truce, that could cause issues. Though, the biggest thing is that all these Marthas and Handmaids were outside during the biggest embarrassment in Gilead’s history. How in the world are they going to just go back to the lives they had? Never mind June since she got shot near where Serena Joy was, and that could mean the one thing which has long kept her alive, her uterus, may no longer be able to save her.

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[ninja_tables id=”36752″]

Rebecca Reuniting With Her Dad - 90%
How June Handled That Soldier - 89%
A Reminder Of How Long June Has Looked Out For Janine, To Make Janine Doing The Same More Meaningful - 85%
A Reminder These Kids Know Nothing Beyond Gilead - 84%
Commander Lawrence Got Punked - 65%
June & Her Friends Seriously Can’t Live After This - 70%


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  1. This is great. And it’s the sort of thing I think that this show is likely to do, given its track record… my ideas listed below mostly entailed changing the established formula of the show drastically – this would not be such a huge departure.

  2. Here’s a thought. June’s ‘one and only ceremon y with Lawrence took and she is pregnant, saved by her uterus once again. With Eleanor gone, he gets a special dispensation to marry June in order to keep the baby. What marvelous things June will be able to accomplish as a Wife.

  3. To respond to your point:
    “Surely, June and her friends can’t live after this”
    Of course, June is going to survive. Elisabeth Moss is the star of the show and one of the executive producers as well.

    I see four possible scenarios where June’s survival could be made to seem plausible:

    – Once June has recovered from her injuries, she is arrested and all set to be sent to one of the prison colonies… but then Gilead is contacted by a foreign power that they are at war with (let’s say it’s the UK). Anyway, the UK want to do a “prisoner exchange” deal. As I mentioned before, we never found out the nationality of June’s father, if he was British and had connections with the government then that would make it likely that June would be considered as part of a prisoner exchange program. So she is traded for some important Gilead soldiers/agents and sent off to the UK, which is having problems of its own (think of the film “Children Of Men”). Then we can follow June’s life in a different kind of dystopian community, see her join a foreign activist group (or maybe even a foreign military/intelligence agency) and reunite with her fathers side of the family… I use the UK as an example, but it could be any foreign country, like Russia or France… given that “The Handmaid’s Tale” is filmed in Canada, that Canada has a large French-speaking population, then maybe France is a likely candidate for a country that would be shown in this series trying to recruit June via prisoner-exchange.

    – June is sent to “The Colonies”, to a labour camp located in an area devastated by nuclear or chemical weapons… but escapes and makes a long trek through post-apocalypse wasteland where war still rages on in order to be reunited with her family (think of the World War 2 films like “The Way Back” or “The Great Escape” to see what plotline could be yielded from this concept)

    – Similar to the above, June is sent to The Colonies… but the specific Colony that June is sent to gets taken over by a foreign power that is at war with Gilead and are looking to harvest the irradiated rocks/plants in order to make more deadly chemical/nuclear weapons. Season 4 sees June get caught up in a foreign power’s attempts to establish their own fiefdom.

    – Finally… June is arrested and about to be sentenced… but at the exact same time this is happening, Gilead is torn apart by civil unrest… the ruling council have become divided on both government policy and correct interpretation of scripture. All the different factions are fighting for control of the government and the situation becomes violent, with chaos in the streets… as soldiers loyal to different government factions fight against each other, and ordinary people riot… June manages to escape amidst the Mad confusion of a civil war.
    (of the scenarios I’ve listed, perhaps this is the most likely the show will go with… the epilogue of Atwood’s novel said that the leadership of Gilead became divided and fought amongst themselves, resulting in some of the ruling class being killed in Stalin-esque “Purges” and a restructuring of society following afterwards)

    Do these sound like plausible scenarios to you?

    Can you think of any scenarios that would plausibly allow June to survive and continue as the protagonist of another season without it breaking suspension of disbelief?

    1. Yes and no. A part of me imagines June being sent away and eventually escaping to where Hannah is. So a foreign country is out of the question, but her being sent the colonies is a possibility. We only got a taste of what is going on there and the transition from the heart of Gilead to the colonies is a bit of a mystery. Never mind what the journey is like to there.

      Though, of course, Cat’s idea is ace and, considering this show may not desire to do too much, it would keep the budget about the same and not have to introduce too many new characters.

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