For a finale that was only forty-five minutes long, The Handmaid’s Tale Season Three Finale delivered on giving the audiences tons of noteworthy moments to dissect. Check out our list of the most pivotal moments in the episode below.
Between the surprise ending and the shocker of a prologue, The Handmaid’s Tale Season Three Finale had something to offer every viewer. Whether it was action, suspense, drama, or scenes that just plain tugged on our heartstrings, the finale seemed to have it all. One could even call the episode perfect to some degree, but we’ll leave that up to fans to decide.
In the meantime, we’ve broken down and analyzed “Mayday” for highlights that proved why The Handmaid’s Tale is one of Hulu’s best series — and one of the best series on television — period. Check out our analysis below.
Warning! Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season Three finale follow.
As far as pivotal moments go, June (Elisabeth Moss) taking charge in the Lawrence house was absolutely a boss move on her part. It took Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) backing out of their deal to free children for June to stand up, but once she does, there’s no stopping her.
It’s a bit problematic as the adrenaline and intensity of the situation cause June to act somewhat odd but she keeps a level head most of the time — that is until Rebecca (Kate Moyer) accidentally walks up behind June while she has a gun in her hand.
While that scene set the pace for the rest of “Mayday”, there was much more to the episode than June becoming unhinged. Take Commander Lawrence for instance. He made it seem like his decision to back out of the escape would end with him exposing the entire ruse. And then when June returns to the home at night to find all the lights out, the audience immediately jumps to the conclusion that Lawrence called the Eyes.
5. Commander Lawrence redeems himself in an unconventional fashion
When June enters the home, she expects to find the Eyes, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), and Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) awaiting the traitors’ arrival. But instead of finding her oppressors waiting to ambush them, June comes across a sight that warms her heart.
What June finds is Commander Lawrence reading a story to the rescued children. They’re all gathered together in a dimly-lit room, listening intently as Lawrence regales them with a story. It’s unclear why he brings them out of the cellar but his decision was a smart one.
Think about it. A bunch of children crammed into a basement for hours is bound to make them agitated. And once one kid starts crying and panicking, it would undoubtedly set off a chain reaction with the others. So to prevent that from happening, Commander Lawrence kept the children placated by reading them a story.
The surprising thing is Commander Lawrence risks himself for the children’s safety. Any small sound could’ve alerted the Eyes and Lawrence would’ve been immediately arrested. But despite those risks, Lawrence sticks around to keep them calm. One can only imagine what would’ve happened had he not stayed.
Lawrence still has a long way to go to redeem himself but his decision to help safely guide the children out is a step in the right direction. Keep in mind that Lawrence may have to answer for June’s crimes. She belongs to Lawrence and he’s responsible for everything she does, that includes crimes against the state.
4. June tests the boundaries of how far she’s willing to go
Speaking of June’s wellbeing, she’s become desperate and slightly deranged in her attempts to escape Gilead. We’ve witnessed her go to great lengths in the past but no one ever expected to see June point a gun at a child. She did so accidentally but June’s blunt approach to complex situations shows how ruthless she’s become in recent months.
No new evidence suggests June is becoming an antagonist on The Handmaid’s Tale but she’s definitely an antihero now. Further proof can be found in the changes we’ve seen throughout Season Three. Take June provoking Ofmatthews for instance. They both made sly jabs at one another but it was June who initiated a confrontation between Ofmatthews and the Guardians which ultimately ended with the confused Handmaid being shot to death.
The conflict between June and Ofmatthews was just one example of how the Handmaid handled situations poorly, partly because Gilead has taught her to be merciless. It’s never been intentional, June simply learned from the people around her. And a majority of them showed her very little kindness, resulting in June’s slight transformation.
Because of those factors, June is adopting some of her captors’ traits. She still possesses a good sense of right and wrong but the line between the two is starting to blur. The question is: Will the line completely disappear in pursuit of Gilead’s destruction?
3. Rebecca and her father are reunited in Canada
Aside from the dangerous side of June Osborne we got to see in “Mayday”, she also made one of the most heartwarming scenes possible. The scene we’re referring to is that of Rebecca (Kate Moyer) and her father’s reunion.
Towards the episode’s end, the plane filled with escape children makes it to Canada. A staging post is prepped for their arrival and Moira (Samira Wiley) is organizing an area. She’s joined by other volunteers who are just as eager to get those children on the ground safely.
When the kids begin walking out, multiple volunteers approach to greet them. They’re welcomed with mylar blankets and assurances of safety. All of the children embark and are interviewed to possibly identify family members in the country.
As the final passengers embark, Rita (Amanda Brugel) and Rebecca are among them. Rita lets out a sigh of relief when she sees Emily (Alexis Bledel) and Moira both in the hangar. They relish the moment, acknowledging one another with long looks. Of course, it’s the little girl by Rita’s side who takes the spotlight.
Rebecca and her father are reunited (Cont.)
What happens is Rebecca begins walking towards the processing center when her father calls out to her. The man who’d been closely assisting Moira didn’t seem significant at first but he winds up being Rebecca’s father. They’re then reunited in a surprise turn that no one saw coming.
The only unfortunate thing is that June didn’t get to see this joyous reunion. She put her life on the line to get Rebecca safely out of the country and the sight of her being immediately reunited with her father would’ve been extremely gratifying. Sadly, it’ll be some time before she learns of their reunion.
On the other hand, Rebecca and her father (Mark Waters) could become the faces of the revolution. Their story will be noticed by the Canadian government and they’ll probably request Rebecca’s experience be shared with the world. The decision will ultimately fall to Rebecca’s father, though it seems like he’ll support the idea. He may request additional accommodations be made for his daughter’s privacy but odds are Rebecca and her father will make the headlines soon.
Once Rebecca’s story circulates around the world, June will get wind of it too. At that point, she’ll know her actions had meaning. June knows the kids made it out of the country alive which should be satisfying enough but what’ll make a huge difference is how she made a heartfelt reunion between a family ripped apart possible.
2. Serena Waterford finally gets what’s coming to her
Outside of June’s central story, some rather interesting developments also made it into the finale. The most satisfying for fans had to be Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) being arrested. She avoided being prosecuted alongside her husband for a plea deal but the situation has changed.
Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) didn’t take the learning of his wife’s betrayal too well which put him on a warpath. He almost strangled Serena to death but let go of his grip at the last moment. And while Fred showed her mercy, he couldn’t let Serena’s past transgressions go.
To get back at his wife, Fred informs Agent Tuello (Sam Jaeger) of her role in raping June Osborne. Serena initially admitted to being present during the “ceremony” but she neglected to mention that she and Fred raped June outside of the sanctioned ceremonies.
Once that news is out in the open, Tuello takes swift action and arrests Serena. She’s then sent to detention while Nicole is given back to the social worker. It’s not said at the time but this is presumably the last time she’ll ever see Nicole again.
On top of being barred from the child, Serena is also going to be charged with serious crimes. Tuello mentioned something along the lines of ‘crimes against humanity’ so Serena is going to The Hague. And if she is tried for war crimes, her punishment could be the noose.
1. The Handmaids are in grave danger
The dangers might not have seemed readily apparent but June and her comrades are in deep. They’ve just killed a Guardian and helped kidnap fifty children so they’re the most wanted in the country. No one knows it was June just yet but it’s only a matter of time.
Since the searches for Rebecca led to a house-to-house raid for the missing girl, anyone found wandering about is going to be interrogated. And with June suffering from a gunshot wound to the torso, she’ll be deemed a prime suspect. At the same time, her comrades carrying her will be too.
There is, however, a chance that June and the others will attempt to go underground. No one knows where they went and hiding with other rebels could be their best bet. Because in the off chance that they decide to return home, all they’ll be met with is swift execution.
The problem with going underground is that June needs immediate medical attention. Her friends won’t be able to find a willing doctor to help because of the alarms raised. And even if they did manage to locate a doctor, they would still need to return to their homes before their Commanders realize they’re gone which is practically impossible.
All things considered, it seems like the Handmaids will be branded fugitives when Season 4 kicks off. There’s not enough time for them to return home and June needs help so their only chance is to come clean and hope the punishments aren’t too severe.
On the other hand, June could ask her friends to leave her somewhere a Guardian will find her. That alternative would give the other Handmaids time to return home while June is tended to. Of course in that scenario, one or more of them is bound to be exposed due to them traveling without an escort. Our guess is it’ll be Alma (Nina Kiri) and Janine (Madeline Brewer) since they’re the two closest with June, though we may be completely wrong.
What did you make of these scenes from The Handmaid’s Tale Season Three Finale? Let us know in the comments section below.
The Handmaid’s Tale is currently streaming on Hulu. Season 4 is set to go into production later this year. For more on this Hulu Original, follow us on the Hulu Watcher Twitter Account @HuluWatcherFS or on the Hulu Watcher Facebook Page.