The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 3, Episode 9 “Heroic” – Recap, Review (with Spoilers)

Natalie in a coma, with four children ominously behind her.
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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.


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

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Recap

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.

Review

Highlights

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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Season/ EpisodeSynopsisEpisode InformationTopics & Focused Characters
Season 3, Episode 12 “Sacrifice”June makes a monumental decision which seems to weigh on her more than any other. Though, when it comes to Serena, her decision has her in a nearly joyous mood.
Director(s) Deniz Gamze Erguven
Writer(s) Eric Tuchman
Air Date 8/7/2019
  • Meanwhile In Toronto: Fred, Moira, Luke, Mike, Serena Joy
  • Sacrifices Had To Be Made: Commander Lawrence, June, Eleanor
Season 3, Episode 10 “Witness”June takes on a major sacrifice to make a breakthrough in her goal to liberate Gilead’s children. A plan which will test how competent Gilead’s security and leadership are.
Director(s) Daina Reid
Writer(s) Jacey Heldrich
Air Date 7/24/2019
  • A Jealous Man & His Petty Ways: Fred, Commander Winslow, June, Aunt Lydia, Serena Joy, Commander Lawrence
  • Playing The Long Game: Eleanor, Commander Lawrence, June, Fred, Serena Joy
  • Lost The Battle, Prepping For The War: June, Janine, Alma, Beth
Season 3, Episode 11 “Liars”With a recent announcement of season 4, it seems marketing coordinated that with an episode that may finally be the beginning of the end.
Director(s) Deniz Gamze Erguven
Writer(s) Yahlin Chang
Air Date 7/31/2019
Introduced This Episode
Billy Daniel Jun
  • Making Feeble Plans: Serena Joy, Fred, June, Beth, Commander Lawrence, Eleanor
  • The Best Laid Plains Of Mice And (Wo)Men:Serena Joy, Fred, Mr. Tuello, June, Commander Lawrence, Beth
  • The Rise, Fall, And Rise Again Of June Osborne:Commander Lawrence, June, Commander Winslow, Billy
Season 3, Episode 8 “Unfit”We finally get to learn about Aunt Lydia’s life before Gilead took over, but that may become an afterthought considering how the episode ends.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Kira Snyder
Air Date 7/10/2019
Introduced This Episode
Noelle Emily Althaus
Jim John Ortiz
Ryan Ian Ho
  • Petty Like Highschool: Aunt Lydia, June, Janine, OfMatthew
  • The Way Things Were: Aunt Lydia, Jim, Noelle, Ryan
  • Driven To Madness: Aunt Lydia, June, Janine, OfMatthew, Lawrence
Season 3, Episode 9 "Heroic"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
  • Watching, Waiting: Natalie, June
  • Stir Crazy: June, Janine, Serena Joy, Natalie
  • A Renewed Purpose: Natalie, June
Season 3, Episode 7 “Under His Eye”As June loses yet another ally, so begins her possibly losing it. Though she might not be alone as Emily does as well. But, as that happens, Serena finds a crew.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Nina Fiore, John Herrera
Air Date 7/3/2019
  • Like-Minded: Serena, Olivia, Fred, Commander Winslow
  • Bird-Dog: Moira, Emily
  • You Stupid B***h: OfMatthew, June, Eleanor, Commander Lawrence
Season 3, Episode 6 “Household”We take a trip down to DC to learn if things are better or worse in the capital and oh, not only are they worse but June gets a wake-up call.
Director(s) Dearbhla Walsh
Writer(s) Dorothy Fortenberrry
Air Date 6/26/2019
Introduced This Episode
Commander Winslow Christopher Meloni
Olivia Elizabeth Reaser
OfGeorge Kirrilee Berger
  • Welcome To DC: Fred, Serena Joy, Aunt Lydia, June, Commander Winslow, Olivia
  • Negotiations With The Swiss: Nick, June, Serena Joy
  • Small, Cruel, And Empty: June, Serena Joy
Season 3, Episode 5 “Unknown Caller”We’ve come to the point where things might be beyond June’s control, and she may be forced to realize she’s no different than Commander Lawrence’s Marthas.
Director(s) Colin Watkinson
Writer(s) Marissa Jo Cerar
Air Date 6/19/19
  • Reminiscing About The Past: Eleanor, June
  • Attempts At Moving On: Luke, June, Serena, Mr. Tuello, Fred
  • Know Your Place: Aunt Lydia, June, Serena, Fred
Season 3, Episode 4 “God Bless The Child”June really tests the limits of her influence, but this time with the Waterfords and Aunt Lydia. Especially when Janine puts herself in a dangerous situation.
Director(s) Amma Asante
Writer(s) Eric Tuchman
Air Date 6/12/2019
Introduced This Episode
Oliver Charlie Zeltzer
OfMatthew Ashleigh LaThrop
  • Planning For The Future: June, OfMatthew, Oliver, Sylvia, Emily
  • Orchestrating Peace: June, Serena, Fred, Naomi
  • Separate & Unequal: Aunt Lydia, Janine, Naomi, Serena, June
Season 3, Episode 3 “Useful”Commander Lawrence begins to reveal his intentions to us and to say, even after an hour, they can seem ambiguous, that’s an understatement.
Director(s) Amma Asante
Writer(s) Yahlin Chang
Air Date 6/5/2019
Introduced This Episode
Pamela Laila Robins
Sienna Sugenja Sri
  • Serena Runs Home To Mother: Pamela, Serena
  • June Tries To Manipulate Joseph Like She Did Fred, Serena, and Nick: June, Commander Lawrence, Fred, Nick, Serena
  • Commander Lawrence Doesn’t Like To Be Bored, And It Shows: Commander Lawrence, June, Beth, Sienna
Season 3, Episode 2 “Mary and Martha”A few old faces return this episode, and we learn how willing Commander Lawrence is when it comes to participating in the new underground railroad.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Kira Snyder
Air Date 6/5/2019
Introduced This Episode
Beth Kristen Gutoskie
Cora Victoria Fodor
  • The Healing Process: Moira, Luke, Emily
  • Trouble Brewing: Aunt Lydia, Commander Lawrence, Beth, Cora, June
  • I Can Deal With A Lot, But Don’t Lie: Commander Lawrence, Beth, Cora, June
Season 3, Episode 1 “Night” [Season Premiere]The Handmaid’s Tale returns, and like many a season premiere, we are presented the calm before the storm.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Bruce Miller
Air Date 6/5/2019
Introduced This Episode
Mrs. Mackenzie Amy Landecker
  • Family Means Nobody Gets Left Behind Or Forgotten:June, Commander Lawrence, Mrs. Mackenzie
  • Meanwhile, In Canada: Luke, Moira, Emily, June
  • Things Will Never Be The Same: June, Serena, Nick, Fred, Emily, Commander Lawrence
Season 2/ Episode 13 “The Word” [Season Finale]For those, like me, who thought The Handmaid’s Tale was in a perpetual cycle, many things happen which break the wheel and lead us to believe Season 3 will be the fall of Gilead.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Bruce Miller
Air Date 7/11/2018
  • Ain’t No Girl Safe Raised in Gilead: June, Serena Joy, Fred
  • All Villains Eventually Fall: Emily, Aunt Lydia, Joseph
  • No One Gets Left Behind or Forgotten: Emily, June, Joseph, Serena Joy, Rita, Nick, Fred
Season 2/ Episode 12 “Postpartum”June may find herself responsible for yet another death as Emily finds herself in a rather peculiar commander’s home.
Director(s) Daina Reid
Writer(s) Eric Tuchman
Air Date 7/4/2018
Actors Introduced
Commander Joseph Lawrence Bradley Whitford
Cora Victoria Fodor
Eleanor Julie Dretzin
  • We Value Privacy Here: Joseph, Cora, Eleanor, Emily, Aunt Lydia
  • Find Love Where You Can Get It: Nick, Eden, June, Isaac
  • Dr. Jekyll, Mrs. Hyde: Serena Joy, June, Fred
Season 2/ Episode 11 “Holly”Desperate times call for desperate measures and June finds herself having to put her baby first as things become impossible for her.
Director(s) Daina Reid
Writer(s) Bruce Miller, Kira Snyder
Air Date 6/27/2018
  • The Great Escape: June
  • The Discovery: June, Fred, Serena Joy
  • The Joys and Pain of Childbirth: June
Season 2/ Episode 10 “The Last Ceremony”

Perhaps the happiest day of June’s life in a long time also meets yet another where she ends up getting someone killed.

Director(s) Jeremy Podeswa
Writer(s) Yahlin Chang
Air Date 6/20/2018
  • False Labor: June, Serena Joy, Fred
  • In The Lonely Hour: Eden, Nick, Isaac
  • Mommy Loves You: Hannah, Nick, June, Fred
Season 2/ Episode 9 “Smart Power”A trip to Canada temps Serena Joy, Nick meets Luke, and June searches for a godmother. Including Aunt Lydia who opens up to her.
Director(s) Jeremy Podeswa
Writer(s) Dorothy Fortenberry
Air Date 6/13/2018
Actors Introduced
Isaac Rohan Mead
Mark Sam Jaeger
Stuart James Gilbert
  • The Search For A God Mother: Serena Joy, June, Janine, Rita, Aunt Lydia
  • Meanwhile in Canada: Serena Joy, Fred, Moira, Luke
  • The Whisper Revolution Continues: Nick, Luke, Moira, Fred, Serena Joy, June
Season 2, Episode 8 “Women’s Work”Many women get a taste of the old world and there is the slightest bit of hope things could get better for them. However, said blessing is finite.
Director(s) Kari Skogland
Writer(s) Nina Fiore, John Herrera
Air Date 6/6/2018
Actors Introduced
Dr. Hodgson Karen Glave
  • Back To Work: Serena Joy, June, Commander Fred, Janine
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished: Serena Joy, June, Commander Fred
  • A Mother’s Love: Janine, Warren, Naomi, Aunt Lydia, June
Season 2, Episode 7 “After”A quiet revolution has begun with a bang and it seems Lillie’s bomb was just an exclamation point before a new chapter.
Director(s) Kari Skogland
Writer(s) Lynn Renee Maxcy
Air Date 5/30/2018
Actors Introduced
Commander Cushing Greg Bryk
Odette Rebecca Rittenhouse
  • Meanwhile, In Canada: Moira, Luke
  • Aftermath: June, Serena Joy, Fred, Nick
  • The Whispered Revolution: June, Janine, Emily, Serena Joy
Season 2/ Episode 6 “First Blood”As Serena Joy and June continue their complicated relationship, something possibly game-changing happens at the end of the episode.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Eric Tuchman
Air Date 5/23/2018
  • Be Mindful of Eden: Eden, Nick, June, Serena Joy
  • Just When I Thought We Could Be Friends: Serena Joy, Fred, June
  • Tick, Tick, BOOM: June, Fred, Nick
Season 2/ Episode 5 “Seeds”Just as it seemed the world broke and killed June and she has assumed the role of Offred, she gets two serious wake-up calls.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Kira Snyder
Air Date 5/16/2018
Actors Introduced
Eden Sydney Sweeney
  • Meanwhile, Out West: Janine, Emily
  • A Slow Death: Nick, June, Serena Joy, Rita, Aunt Lydia
  • The Dead Shall Rise: June, Nick, Serena Joy, Fred
Season 2/ Episode 4 “Other Woman”How long can you fight and be defeated, be the cause of others misery and death, before you decide to give up? It seems June has found out the answer.
Director(s) Kari Skogland
Writer(s) Yahlin Chang
Air Date 5/9/2018
Actors Introduced
Annie Kelly Jenrette
  • Annie Are You Okay?: June, Luke
  • For June To Live, Offred Must Take Over: Aunt Lydia, June, Serena Joy, Alma, Rita
Season 2/ Episode 3 “Baggage”Guilt over not being the perfect mom, nor feminist, haunts June as she reminisces about her mother and how she has been as a mom.
Director(s) Kari Skogland
Writer(s) Dorothy Fortenberry
Air Date 5/2/2018
Actors Introduced
Holly Cherry Jones
Omar Yahya Abdul-Mateen II
  • Getting Used To Canada: Moira, Erin, Luke
  • Mother/Daughter Relationship: June
  • The Econopeople/ Being My Own Savior: June
Season 2/ Episode 2 “Unwomen”The colonies are finally seen as well as an update on two favorites – Emily and Janine.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Bruce Miller
Air Date 4/25/2018
Actors Introduced
Dan John Carroll Lynch
Ms. O’Conner Marisa Tomei
Jenna Keeya King
Sylvia Clea DuVall
  • The University Purge: Emily
  • The Boston Massacre: June, Nick
  • The Four Horsemen: Emily, Janine
Season 2/ Episode 1 “June” [Season Premiere]After her grand act of defiance inspiring a non-violent protest, it is time to see how Aunt Lydia plans to punish the girls and whether June’s pregnancy means anything in regards to that.
Director(s) Mike Barker
Writer(s) Bruce Miller
Air Date 4/25/2018
Actors Introduced
Ofwyatt Alana Pancyr
Ofrobert ?
  • The Final Days: June, Hannah, Luke
  • A Revolutionary With A Safety Net: Aunt Lydia, June
  • The Escape Route: Nick, June, Fred, Serena Joy
Season 1/ Episode 9 “The Bridge”It’s easy to get desensitized. Both in terms of what the show offers and in general. Thus making the job of an actor harder for they have to give more of themselves over to you – the audience. Now, up to this point, I shed no tears, felt no significant shock, and only admired Moss and Dowd’s performance. But in this episode, one of those things changed.
  • The Things Asked of Us: Janine, June, Moira
  • The Soul, It Cries for Freedom: Janine, June, Moira
Season 1/ Episode 4 “Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum”With it being 13 days since June has been outside, seen someone besides the meek Rita and malicious Serena Joy, she is losing it. Yet, she finds a message hidden away for her that provides strength.
  • Breakout!: Moira, June
  • I Want To Know You/ Have Your Life Be Bearable: June, Serena Joy, Commander Fred Whitford
Season 1/ Episode 7 “The Other Side”Rather than drag out what may have happened to Luke, as I want to believe they are doing with Moira, we get an episode dedicated to him.
  • Before The Car Accident: Luke, June, Hannah
  • After The Car Accident: Luke, Zoe [Rosa Gilmore], Peter [Ben Lewis], Christine [Kim Roberts], TBD (Erin Way)
  • 3 Years Later: Luke, TBD
Season 1/ Episode 6 “A Woman’s Place”As the Mexico ambassador visits, we get a peek inside the past of Serena Joy and her part in what eventually created Gilead.
  • The Woman Behind The Man: Serena Joy, Fred
  • A Valuable Commodity: June
  • Luke? He’s Alive.: June
Season 1/ Episode 5 “Faithful”Many characters have their true colors revealed and, alongside this, June herself we learn isn’t as innocent as she seems.
  • I Can See Your True Colors: Fred, June
  • One Way Or Another: June, Nick, Serena Joy, Emily
  • I Was the Other Woman: Luke, June
Season 1/ Episode 3 “Late”As it’s revealed what happens to those like the original Ofglen, June continues to try to navigate through a world in which she finds herself to be the lobster in the boiling pot.
  • It All Started Little By Little: June, Moira
  • The Benefits of People Thinking You’re Pregnant: June
  • What Happens to Gender Traitors: Emily (Formerly Known as Ofglen)
Season 1/ Episode 8 “Jezebels”Would it be wrong, if not odd, to say I was a bit bored by “Jezebel?” Granted, we got another character’s background story and saw someone from June’s past, but I found it difficult to be excited or engaged. To help understand why, look below.
  • The Life and Times of Nick Blaine: Nick, June
  • Never Trust Janine: June, Moira, Fred
Season 1/ Episode 1 “Offred” [Series Premiere]Being that Young Adult novels have come to dominate visual media dealing with a post-war period, it is a bit refreshing that those under 25 play little to no role in the series. Women who have experienced life instead are the focus and how they are dealing with a world which sent back women’s right at least a century.
Season 1/ Episode 10 “Night” [Season Finale]Solidarity is what causes and maintains revolutions. But for solidarity to sprout there needs to be one voice. One refusal to the oppressor. Which is what we get in The Handmaid’s Talefinale: “Night.”
  • Family: Luke, Moira
  • Insurance Policy: June, Serena Joy, Fred
  • Solidarity: June, Aunt Lydia, Janine
Season 1/ Episode 2 “Birth Day”
  • Birthday: June, Janine
  • I Would Like To Play A Game: Commander Waterford [Joseph Fiennes], June, Ofglen [Alexis Bledel]
  • I Am Ofglen: June

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