As June is pushed to the brink of utter madness, murder even, she snaps. But, in snapping, she may have found a new purpose for her life.

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As June is pushed to the brink of utter madness, murder even, she snaps. But, in snapping, she may have found a new purpose for her life.

Director(s) Daina Reid
Writer(s) Lynn Renee Maxcy
Air Date 7/17/2019

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Watching, Waiting: Natalie, June

With being Natalie, OfMatthew’s, walking partner, and as punishment for her cruelty, June is forced to wait for the comatose Natalie to give birth. She does that for over a month, and between her own thoughts and the sound of machines and body fluids, June slowly goes mad.

Stir Crazy: June, Janine, Serena Joy, Natalie

How mad? Well, to the point you may think she may become obedient for a spell, as we saw in an earlier season. However, rather than take that route, she goes mad. Crazy even for she contemplates murdering Natalie for her freedom and even tries to convince Janine, who visits since her eye got infected, to help.

Unfortunately for June, Janine isn’t of the same mindset, and while she keeps June from killing Natalie, she can’t take away the scalpel June took. One she uses on a very foolish Serena Joy but not to the point of killing her. With a wobbly lunge, she does cut Serena but more so harms herself.

A Renewed Purpose: Natalie, June

June looking up to the sky.

Which, luckily for her, the doctor doesn’t report and instead just stitches her up. Then, perhaps with her prayers answered, Natalie soon starts bleeding, possibly on the verge of a miscarriage, and an emergency C-section is done. One which saves the baby and triggers something in June.

What exactly? Well, during June’s stay, she has seen doctors come and go, but also children. Young girls, to be specific, who come to the hospital for their pelvic development to be tracked and to see who may and will be able to have children. As you can imagine, with Hannah close to the age of the girls, this causes discomfort in June. So, rather than abandon Natalie’s corpse, which, after the C-Section, isn’t being kept on life support but being allowed to fade to death, June makes a promise. One she isn’t sure how she will keep, but she promises to free the children of Gilead, and stick it to the country where it hurts. Seemingly to get revenge for both her children, June’s, Natalie’s, and all Handmaids separated from their children.



The Connections You Can Draw

With the episode being so tightly focused on June, it pushes you to take note of not just her journey so far, but those who she has been closest to – willingly or not. For example, when it comes to Natalie, there is the possibility her conflict with Natalie has long been rooted in seeing Hannah in her. This woman, so obedient, yet also scared and unsure of the Gilead regime and what it calls for. Making Natalie’s lack of desire to fight back scary since that could be Hannah. Someone who, rather than fight, run, or scale a rebellion, she would just go along with what she was trained to do.

Thus, seeing Natalie, being close to her, may have been a huge source of guilt. Leading to why, in the end, June decided to spend time with Natalie as she passed. For if she couldn’t be there for her daughter, she’d at least be there for Natalie and promise, even if she can’t save her, Natalie or Hannah, she’d save a lot of children. While forcing the elite to know their, June and Natalie’s, pain.

But it doesn’t end there. One could say Aunt Lydia’s relationship with Janine, who she still dotes on, could be reminiscent of her relationship with Noelle. Maybe even her trying to atone in a way for how that relationship went sour. If not considering Janine like Noelle if Noelle would have listened and heeded to Aunt Lydia’s influence?

Aunt Lydia smiling as she gives Janine an eye patch.

Lastly, one also must note in Janine keeping June from murder, she saves June from her moment of madness just like June saved Janine a long time ago. Making for a lot of full-circle moments which make you wonder where are we to roll to from here?

Low Point

Everyone Is Far Too Trusting Of June

So you’re telling me after June insulted you in the worst way possible at the Lincoln memorial you’d come to her if she called out to you? Get close if she said she had a secret to tell you? Really Serena? Weren’t you just back to some form of common sense, or is it just June puts such a spell on people you become naive as a child around her? Curious even, as if she is the pied piper and you some dunce kid who has no idea she is about to make you turn into a jackass.

Though the same could be said about Aunt Lydia. June speaks in ways which clearly you disapprove of, even seem suspicious, yet you let her go back into the hospital unattended? As if there aren’t so many things she can do as she faces returning back to someone’s house, awaiting a rape ceremony. For whether it is going back in to kill herself, a doctor, or so many other options, it increasingly becomes clear that Aunt Lydia’s faith that people can change might be her biggest weakness. One that, eventually, will lead to her being murdered as Natalie almost committed.

On The Fence

The Liberation Of Children

We’ve seen the walls and amount of security which have surrounded children. So how exactly June, who is on the verge of a mental breakdown, is going to rescue children is beyond me. Especially since they, like Eden, probably won’t be easily convinced to listen to a Handmaid. For if they grew up in Gilead, how much time and effort would be needed for them to believe Canada is a better place for them? Never mind June, of all people, will be able to get them there safely?

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[ninja_tables id=”36752″]

The Connections You Can Draw - 85%
Everyone Is Far Too Trusting Of June - 65%
The Liberation Of Children - 70%


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  1. The other frustrating thing about this show is that each episode makes me daydream about potentially interesting issues that this show could’ve explored instead, and really should’ve by now. For instance:

    This show is set in the aftermath of a nuclear war, which has turned whole countries into toxic wastelands… exactly how much of the planet is capable of supporting human life? Which parts are still inhabited and which have been blasted away? Are all the nuked territories officially Gilead Colonies or are they contested ground? Are the irradiated rocks and plants dug up by prisoners of Gilead in the Colonies used by the military in the development of even more deadly bio-weapons?

    For “flashback” episodes – did this nuclear exchange happen before, during or after The Sons Of Jacob pulled off their coup? The novel hints that the nuclear war and massive environmental pollution were the actions of a democratically elected US government, and one reason the authoritarians found a following is because people were disillusioned with the way mainstream politics had screwed up the planet, leading to a massive infertility epidemic…. in any case, what other foreign nations were involved in this conflict, and how did it escalate?

    It has been alluded that Gilead is still at war with some foreign nation(s), but the state of global politics is frustratingly vague. Which countries are active allies of Gilead? Which countries are militantly hostile? Which are inactive or neutral? Which have been completely exterminated? All we really know about the conflict so far is that Canada, Mexico and Switzerland have stayed out of it… there’s been no mention of other countries undergoing a similarly drastic restructuring as Gilead has, though that would be likely, given the scale of destruction thus far. Could Gilead be at war with another fictitious country that is an amalgamation of various disaffected Eastern nation-states?

    Thinking of more domestic stories… how about a flashback episode for Janine. It could serve to illuminate how much of her mental health problems were the result of trauma, how much was due to the Gilead conditioning process and how much was due to her early upbringing… also, as you’ve pointed out before, Rita & Cora haven’t had their moment in the spotlight either, none of the Gilead working-class really have. Showing their period of adjustment to life in a fascist society could be potentially interesting, especially since they wouldn’t have been coddled and fussed over so much as the main characters have been… and hell, if you’re gonna keep Serena around, why not flesh out her relationship with her mother? I’m guessing Serena had a really messed up childhood to turn out the way she did… really, none of the flashbacks involving Fred, Serena and Lydia have bothered to explore WHY they came to believe in totalitarianism. The closest this show ever came to grappling with the psychological and emotional appeal of fascism were some fleeting scenes with Commander Pryce in earlier seasons, but now he’s killed off. A flashback to Joseph’s “journey into darkness” might be welcome.

    Also, now that they’ve brought up the difficulties of psychological rehabilitation and reconciliation with loved ones in Emily’s case, they’d better follow up on it… I’ve noticed the scenes in Canada are sometimes labelled as “filler” by critics, but at least they make sense and don’t break my suspension of disbelief. I wouldn’t have minded more of that this week. Hell, Luke struggling to raise a child and Moira getting involved in activism are actually things I would’ve appreciated seeing more of to. Instead of which, I got….. this.

    Does anyone else find their mind wanders and they start thinking these kinda thoughts when watching “The Handmaid’s Tale”?

  2. Well that got dark. But I must admit watching Natalie, OfMatthew, lay there made me wonder why is it Handamids aren’t completely quartered off and usually sedated? They are one of the biggest things which leads to criticism of Gilead, so why allow them to be seen or not made into something of a conspiracy theory?

    I get there is some idea of treating them like a tradeable resource but since that has yet to come to past, and considering their terrorist actions, wouldn’t it make sense to keep them away from those in power altogether? With you saying what you did, I’m coming to realize how much damage they could all do if, in unison, they just went to kill their commanders, maybe their wives as well, in their sleep. To which who would stop them since Eyes, based off the Waterford and Lawrence home, don’t live in the house so they wouldn’t know anything for at least a day or more?

    1. The language I used was a bit over the top, and was meant ironically… please realise that when I said things like “if I was a fascist then I’d probably do this” what I meant was “this is what I’d logically expect the fascists of this story to do, given their resources and professed philosophy” or “this is what I think would be a more plausible plot development given what happened in the previous episode” – I don’t have aspirations to be a dictator in real life and would never seriously advocate this kind of abuse.

      To address the issue you just raised… the reason for incorporating The Handmaid into the household is probably the same reason that they bother with natural conception (instead of just storing fertile sperm and eggs in a lab and impregnating people with IVF techniques):
      That’s the way stuff was done in The Bible. If The Good Book says that this “Handmaid” system is the way to do it, then that’s how The Fundies will go about it, no matter how inefficient Old Testament customs may seem when applied in a modern world.

      That said, the Gilead government in the 90s movie worked around scripture as much as they could. In the movie, The Handmaids are only resident in the households of state officials on weeks when they are required for screwing… the rest of the time they are resident in a detention centre, under armed guard…. also, wherever a Handmaid goes out to a public place there are armed guards present, and there are police checkpoints on the outskirts of every major upper-class suburb…. I can’t believe how this series has made me so defensive of the 90s movie, which is a shallow adaptation of Atwood’s book in many ways – but it at least got the surface level details right and had a consistent sense of internal logic. There wasn’t a single scene in the movie where the characters broke my suspension of disbelief by getting away with stupidly random acts of defiance, and the security infrastructure of the police state was formidable…. oddly enough, that movie ends with our heroine murdering Fred in much the same way you just described, then escaping over the border into Canada in a car full of resistance agents (who are disguised as cops), having given up hope of rescuing her daughter.

      I keep thinking that another interesting comparison to Season 3 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” would be the British film “Children Of Men” – set in a completely secular police state, during a future of mass infertility… again, a much more chillingly credible vision of oppression than what Hulu has offered.

      But yeah, as you said, it’s not too hard to imagine a popular uprising actually succeeding given the lax security on display… which is what I mean when I say June has been remarkably ineffectual at networking and seizing opportunities to make her move. I’m thinking especially of that scene earlier this season, where all The Commanders are gathered together at Joseph’s isolated country estate, with a very light security entourage. I couldn’t help but think if June and Cora had put some slow-acting poison in The Commanders drinks then they could’ve wiped out a large portion of the ruling class in one fell swoop.

  3. One question this show has made me ask frequently is:
    “What would I do with troublemakers if I was a religious-fundamentalist dictator?”
    I can’t help but imagine very basic solutions that the writers-room of “The Handmaid’s Tale” didn’t come up with.

    I know how I’d deal with women like June, if I was a fascist-fundie… lock her up in a maximum security prison, under constant armed guard and video surveillance so she won’t be able to take a crap without someone seeing it. Copulation with the ruling elite can occur during “conjugal visits” – a Commander and his wife can ritualistically-rape June in a specially prepared cell, June would be mildly sedated so she couldn’t put up much of a fight and guards would be posted at the door in case anything went wrong. Of course, June would’ve had her tongue cut out by now, just to make sure she didn’t give the authorities any more backtalk in the process (a much more efficient and hygienic way of silencing women than putting a wire mesh on their lips)… and assuming June got pregnant, she would carry the child to term in the medical wing of the prison.
    (of course – a really clever fascist regime would simply eliminate the “Handmaid” system altogether and legalise IVF… but understandably religious fundamentalists believe such “unnatural” scientific developments to be sinful abominations… so I’m thinking within the theocratic box here)

    How would I deal with people like Lydia, who have proven incompetent at doing their job, but are still devotedly loyal to the regime’s ideals and haven’t directly broken any of the regime’s wacko laws? The obvious course of action would be to assign them a new position, one better suited to their talents… considering Lydia’s background of teaching children too young to rigorously debate her, and too physically underdeveloped to physically resist her, she is bad at handing insubordination… so why not assign her to be a teacher at a fundie-kindergarten, instilling the regime’s dogma into vulnerable and unresisting minds?

    As for establishment figures who blatantly behave as if they are above the law, people like Serena… a public hanging might be detrimental to the regime’s image, so send her off to a concentration camp located in some radiation blasted backwater “Colony”.

    Wouldn’t these measures be realistic and feasible? Wouldn’t they be more plausible plot developments than what happened in this episode?

    One of the most frustrating things about this series is I’m constantly thinking that I could do things better than the main characters, both the heroes and the villains. Everyone is so incompetent….

    June could’ve done more good by crossing the border when she had the chance and joining a foreign anti-Gilead activist group… but even given her decision to stay in Gilead, there are more covert ways she could’ve fought the power, instead of making a spectacle of herself in public. Over the course of this series, she has had many opportunities to poison establishment figures, record conversations of VIPs and sabotage equipment, none of which she’s tried…. given how head-scarves are becoming fashionable, and the aloof nature of her new master, she could disguise herself as a wife or maid much more easily when she ventures out. But no, she constantly resists in a publicly demonstrative fashion, without bothering to disguise her identity, or cover her tracks… I keep thinking that if I was a resistance agent in a totalitarian state then I would be more discreet, and plan-ahead, June is just acting out on the fly. But then again, maybe I would too, if I had completely lost my mind and was certain my foes were a bunch of idiots.

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