The Handmaid's Tale is an American dystopian drama web television series created by Bruce Miller, based on the 1985 novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood. The plot features a dystopian future following a Second American Civil War wherein a totalitarian society subjects fertile women, called "Handmaids", into child-bearing servitude. The series features an ensemble cast, led by Elisabeth Moss, and also stars Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O. T. Fagbenle, Max Minghella, Samira Wiley, Amanda Brugel, and Bradley Whitford.
The series premiered on April 26, 2017, on Hulu. A second season aired in 2018. The third season premiered on June 5, 2019. As of August 14, 2019, 36 episodes of The Handmaid's Tale have been released, concluding the third season. In July 2019, the series was renewed for a fourth season.
|First released||Last released|
|1||10||April 26, 2017||June 14, 2017|
|2||13||April 25, 2018||July 11, 2018|
|3||13||June 5, 2019||August 14, 2019|
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|Title||Directed by||Teleplay by||Original release date|
|1||1||"Offred"||Reed Morano||Bruce Miller||April 26, 2017|
|A family is pursued by a group of armed men. The woman is caught, and separated from her young daughter and husband as shots are fired in the distance. She is now known as Offred, the handmaid to Commander Fred Waterford. While walking, she and another handmaid, Ofglen, pass by a wall on which men have been hanged for crimes such as being gay, working in an abortion clinic, and being a Catholic priest. In a flashback, women are indoctrinated into their new role by Aunt Lydia, and Offred sees her best friend Moira among them. Another woman, Janine, is rude to Aunt Lydia and is shocked with a cattle prod; later, her right eye is removed as punishment. In the present, Commander Waterford tries to impregnate Offred during "the Ceremony". The next day, the handmaids are encouraged to beat a man to death for allegedly raping a pregnant handmaid and killing her baby. On the way home, Ofglen warns her there is an Eye in the Waterford house. Offred affirms to herself that her name is June and she intends to survive to find her daughter.|
|2||2||"Birth Day"||Reed Morano||Bruce Miller||April 26, 2017|
|June and Ofglen go shopping, and they reveal more personal information about themselves to each other. While they are walking, they see St. Paul Catholic Church, their local church, being destroyed by the new régime. Ofglen tells June that the régime also bulldozed St. Patrick's Cathedral in Manhattan to try to "erase" the fact that it ever existed. When June asks how Ofglen knows this information, Ofglen reveals that she is part of a resistance movement against the government, but June declines to join. Commander Waterford's driver, Nick, tells June that the Commander wants to see her alone later that night, which is forbidden, and warns her that Ofglen is dangerous. June and the other handmaids witness the birth of Janine/Ofwarren's child, named Angela by the Putnams but Charlotte by Janine. In flashbacks, June remembers the birth of her daughter, Hannah. At that time healthy births were already rare, and a woman tried to kidnap baby Hannah and was arrested. In the present, June warily goes to the Commander's office, but he simply wants to play Scrabble, to her relief. The next day, a different woman introduces herself as Ofglen.|
|3||3||"Late"||Reed Morano||Bruce Miller||April 26, 2017|
|In flashbacks, the rise of Gilead is detailed through June's eyes: June and her female colleagues were fired and the government froze women's bank accounts and ruled they could no longer own property. In the present, Serena takes June to see Janine and the baby, and June fears Janine is delusional. Back home, June is interrogated by an Eye and Aunt Lydia about her knowledge of Ofglen. Aunt Lydia shocks June with a cattle prod for being disrespectful and quoting from the Bible but before Aunt Lydia can hit June again, Serena intervenes, believing June is pregnant. When June later tells Serena that she's not, Serena angrily locks her in her room. In a flashback, June and Moira attend a protest against the new laws which is interrupted by automatic gunfire and explosives. In the present, Ofglen and the Martha she's in a relationship with are charged with "gender treachery". The fertile Ofglen is reassigned but the Martha is hanged. Later, Ofglen (referred to by her "old" name, Emily) awakes to find, to her grief and anger, that she has undergone female genital mutilation surgery, as explained by Aunt Lydia.|
|4||4||"Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum"||Mike Barker||Leila Gerstein||May 3, 2017|
|Banished to her room, June retreats to her closet where she finds a Latin phrase, Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum, scratched discreetly into the wall. When Rita, the Martha assigned as the Commander's housekeeper, finds June lying on the floor, June tells her that she fainted so Serena sends her to the hospital for a check-up. During the examination the physician remarks that the Commander is most likely sterile and offers to impregnate June, but she declines. In flashbacks, Aunt Lydia teaches the handmaids about The Ceremony in which a commander endeavors to fertilize a handmaid. Later, June and Moira assault Aunt Elizabeth, and Moira takes her outfit. June and Moira plan to go to Boston, which has safe houses. Moira catches the train but June is detained by a soldier and returned to the Red Centre. In the present, Commander Waterford has an unsuccessful Ceremony night, but later that night, they play Scrabble again. She asks him about the Latin phrase, and he tells her it means, Don't let the bastards grind you down. She learns that the previous Offred killed herself because life was unbearable. June is released from her confinement.|
|5||5||"Faithful"||Mike Barker||Dorothy Fortenberry||May 10, 2017|
|Serena suggests to June that she have sex with Nick in case Commander Waterford is sterile. Later that day, Serena leads June up to Nick's room and waits by the door while June and Nick have detached sex. Flashbacks detail June and Luke's first meeting and courtship. During a Ceremony night, the Commander touches June's thigh, which she later tells him never to do again. She also confronts him about Emily. He admits that while they thought they were building a better world, they knew that "better never means better for everyone." June also confronts Nick, who reveals that he is indeed an Eye. At an open-air market, June questions Emily about the resistance group (which is called Mayday). Emily jumps behind the steering wheel of a Mercedes and drives erratically around the plaza. She hits a guard, and is caught and put into a black van. June returns to Nick's coach house alone, and they have passionate sex.|
|6||6||"A Woman's Place"||Floria Sigismondi||Wendy Straker Hauser||May 17, 2017|
|When Mexican trade delegates visit the Waterfords' home to evaluate the effects of the Gilead cultural movement, June is asked about her experience; she lies, saying that she is happy. The handmaids are taken to a function to demonstrate Gilead's success, illustrated by a parade of Commanders' children to whom the handmaids have given birth. The next day, June tells Mexico's ambassador the truth about Gilead and asks for her help, but the ambassador is unable to do anything. However, June is told that Luke is alive and a message can be sent to him. A flashback details Serena and Fred's life at the beginnings of the Gilead movement, when Serena was a conservative cultural activist with passion and intelligence equal to her husband's. It is revealed that she wrote a book about her beliefs, titled A Woman's Place. The Waterfords are shown to have been involved with the movement since the beginning, and Fred later finds out that the movement will attack the U.S. government. After the takeover, Serena is completely shut out and accepts her new role in the society she helped create. A copy of her book is seen being thrown out with the trash.|
|7||7||"The Other Side"||Floria Sigismondi||Lynn Renee Maxcy||May 24, 2017|
|A flashback chronicles Luke's story after he was separated from June and Hannah. Luke is shot and injured but escapes when the ambulance crashes. He passes out from his wounds and is rescued by a resistance group traveling to Canada with many survivors, including Erin, a mute escaped handmaid and Zoe, the daughter of a US Army soldier. Initially reluctant, Luke joins them after Zoe shows him that Gileadan authorities hanged people from the rafters of their church for resisting. As they board a boat, Gileadan guards kill several members of the group, but Luke and Erin manage to survive. A further flashback shows Luke, June, and Hannah before they were separated. June and Luke are helped by Mr. Whitford, a man who knew June's mother. He leaves them at a secluded cabin in the woods while he arranges documentation for them to escape to Canada. However, he is caught and hanged, and a local hunter attempts to help them instead. Three years later, in the present, Luke and Erin live safely in "Little America", based in Toronto. While in the main administrative office, Luke receives the letter from June which reads, "I love you so much. Save Hannah."|
|8||8||"Jezebels"||Kate Dennis||Kira Snyder||May 31, 2017|
|Commander Waterford gifts June with makeup and a dress and takes her out for the night. Nick drives them to Boston to an underground brothel, where sex workers (known as "Jezebels") work. June spots Moira and they briefly reunite. Nick trades drugs and pregnancy tests for alcohol with Beth, one of the brothel's Marthas. June goes to see Moira again, and she explains to June how Quakers tried to help her escape but were caught. Moira had the choice of being sent either to the Colonies or one of the brothels. Moira tells June to forget about escaping but June tells Moira that Luke got out. Flashbacks detail how Nick, struggling with unemployment and a troubled family, got involved with the Sons of Jacob and subsequently the Gilead movement, and how he became an Eye after reporting a Commander for breaking protocol with his handmaids. The suicide of the previous Offred is shown. In the present, after Nick drives Waterford and June home, he ends his relationship with June, which upsets and angers her. The episode closes with June etching the words "You are not alone" into the closet wall.|
|9||9||"The Bridge"||Kate Dennis||Eric Tuchman||June 7, 2017|
|Janine's daughter is handed over to Commander Putnam and his wife, then Janine is transferred to another couple and renamed Ofdaniel. During the first Ceremony night with her new Commander, Janine forcefully stops the proceedings. At the market, Alma tells June that she is involved with Mayday, and requests that June retrieve a package from the bar at Jezebel's. June convinces Waterford to take her to Jezebel's again that night. Waterford presents June with Moira and June privately asks Moira to retrieve the package, but she refuses. The next day June is taken to a bridge where Janine is standing on the edge with baby Charlotte, while many, including the Putnams, stand fearfully by. Janine shouts that Commander Putnam promised to leave his wife for her. June convinces Janine to give her Charlotte, but Janine then jumps into the icy water. Later, while Janine lies comatose in the hospital, Commander Putnam is led away by guards. Mrs. Putnam causes Serena to doubt her husband's loyalty. At the market, June is given a package by the butcher, sent by Moira from Jezebel's. At the brothel, Moira kills a client and takes his clothes, then drives off in his car.|
|10||10||"Night"||Kari Skogland||Bruce Miller||June 14, 2017|
|A flashback shows June's capture and indoctrination by Aunt Lydia at the Red Center. In the present, after discovering Fred's trips to Jezebels, Serena forces June to take a pregnancy test, which ends up being positive. Serena angrily accuses Fred, telling him the child is not his. After learning the news, Nick and June have a tender moment. Serena takes June to see Hannah, but leaves her in the car. Serena warns June that Hannah will be safe as long as June's unborn child is. Following his trial, Commander Putnam's left arm is amputated below the elbow. The package from Jezebel's contains letters from women who lost family members and have been enslaved in the Gilead takeover. Later, an emotional Aunt Lydia gathers the handmaids and instructs them to stone Janine. The handmaids hesitate and eventually June and the others refuse, dropping their stones. Following this, a black van comes for June, something the Waterfords were unaware of. Nick urges her to trust him and go with them. As June leaves, she whispers to Rita where to find the hidden letters. Meanwhile, Moira reaches Canada, is granted asylum and is reunited with Luke.|
|Title||Directed by||Teleplay by||Original release date|
|11||1||"June"||Mike Barker||Bruce Miller||April 25, 2018|
|The handmaids are taken to Fenway Park, where they are made to believe they will be hanged. When June rejects a meal Lydia gives her, she is shown Ofwyatt chained in a prison room due to her attempted suicide. June agrees to eat and the handmaids are punished through burning with a gas flame. June is taken to a doctor for a pregnancy check-up, where she is visited by the Waterfords. Afterward, she finds a key in one of her boots, which she uses to escape to a truck parked underneath the hospital. The truck drops her off at a safe house in Back Bay, where she meets Nick, while Fred authorizes a search party. Nick tells June to change out of her clothes and to cut her hair. In flashbacks throughout the episode, Hannah is admitted to the hospital for having a fever while in school, and June is questioned by one of the hospital workers about giving Hannah medication to bypass the school's fever policy. The authorities suggest she is a bad mother for working and wanting her child in school. When June and Luke arrive home, they watch the Capitol Building and White House being attacked on television.|
|12||2||"Unwomen"||Mike Barker||Bruce Miller||April 25, 2018|
|June has been transported to the abandoned headquarters of The Boston Globe. Emily has been taken to the Colonies, where "unwomen" dig on toxic land. Emily befriends a commander's wife and finds that she committed a "sin of the flesh" that landed her in the Colonies. Emily murders her with poisoned tablets as she blames her for what she perceives to be "holding a woman down while her husband rapes her". Janine arrives at the Colonies and Nick visits June. In a flashback, Emily is told by her boss, Dan, that she will not be teaching the following semester at the university, giving her a lower profile to avoid attracting criticism for her sexual orientation. Dan is later seen hanged with the word "faggot" painted underneath him. When Emily, along with her wife Sylvia and son Oliver, attempt to emigrate to Canada, she is unable to leave the country because same-sex marriage is no longer recognized, and it becomes known that she is Oliver's biological mother. In the present, June makes a news-clipping memorial for The Boston Globe employees who were executed at the newspaper's former headquarters, and prays to God to send an angel to watch over them.|
|13||3||"Baggage"||Kari Skogland||Dorothy Fortenberry||May 2, 2018|
|June learns about the emergence of the Sons of Jacob in newspaper archives and is moved to a place where she meets Omar, who tells her he is bringing her to a safe house. When he learns the safe house has been compromised, he tries to leave without her. June makes him bring her with him to his apartment, where she meets his wife Heather and their son Adam. When the family goes to church, June finds a hidden Qur'an. June dons Heather's Econowife outfit and leaves. After a train ride, June advances to the airstrip that Omar had told her about; the airplane is intercepted, the pilot is executed, and June and another fugitive are apprehended by the Guardians. Moira, now living with Luke and Erin, gives a tour to a new co-worker, but he has a breakdown, traumatized by his acts as a Guardian. In a flashback, June is taken to a Take Back the Night rally by her mother, Holly. Holly was later disappointed at June's career and plan to marry, having hoped June would become an activist. Moira and June learned at the Red Center that Holly was sent to the Colonies.|
|14||4||"Other Women"||Kari Skogland||Yahlin Chang||May 9, 2018|
|June is recaptured and Lydia explains that June must choose between imprisonment, followed by execution after childbirth, or return as a handmaid. The Waterfords treat June's disappearance as a kidnapping, but privately Serena is furious. Rita returns the letters she found and tells June that she will no longer be involved. A baby shower is held for Serena, incorporating prayer and a binding of June to Serena. June learns from Alma that Ofglen No. 2's tongue was removed for speaking up for Janine, and that Mayday is silent. Lydia takes June out to show her Omar hanging, telling June that Omar's wife Heather is now a handmaid, their son Adam was given away, and this was June's fault. Lydia encourages her to distinguish between Offred's identity and June's, saying June is to blame, not Offred. In a flashback, June is harassed by Luke's first wife Annie, who tells her that she and Luke made wedding vows before God, and June should back off, but Luke rejects Annie's plea. Years later, Annie sees Luke and June in a restaurant with Hannah. June feels responsible for other people's suffering and collapses under the knowledge of Omar's family's fate. She prays that Hannah will forget her.|
|15||5||"Seeds"||Mike Barker||Kira Snyder||May 16, 2018|
|June burns some letters she had been keeping for Mayday. She notices vaginal bleeding but does not inform anyone. Nick notices June's apparent depression and informs Serena. Serena, alarmed at Nick's interest in June, apprises Fred, who arranges for Nick to be married at a Prayvaganza where loyal Guardians receive a wife. Nick's new, extremely young bride, Eden, moves into his room. He avoids sleeping with her. Nick later finds June bloody and unconscious and she is hospitalized. June awakens in the hospital and promises her baby that they both will escape Gilead. In the Colonies, Janine assures Emily that God is protecting them through their struggles in Gilead, and helps to arrange a small wedding for a dying worker, officiated by another unwoman who is a rabbi. Emily, who has begun to lose her teeth through radiation poisoning, argues with Janine for attempting to bring brightness to a place that otherwise seems so bleak. When the newlywed unwoman dies, the rabbi officiates at the burial as the deceased is lowered into her grave in a cemetery adorned with crosses.|
|16||6||"First Blood"||Mike Barker||Eric Tuchman||May 23, 2018|
|Advised by a doctor that a harmonious household would benefit the child, Serena shows care for June, giving her the sitting room as a bedroom and inviting her friends for brunch. When Serena shows June the nursery for the baby, June asks to see Hannah. In retaliation, Serena moves June back to her previous room. Eden reveals to June that she fears Nick may be a "gender traitor" due to his reluctance for intimacy, so June warns him. Nick has sex with Eden, but only after he tells June that he loves her. Fred visits June and gives her a photograph of Hannah. At the opening of the Rachel and Leah Center, Nick asks Commander Pryce to reassign him and ensure June's protection. Ofglen No. 2 approaches the front of the hall and detonates a bomb. Flashbacks show the beginning of the Gilead movement with Serena being attacked while promoting her book A Woman's Place. After being booed, Fred forces Serena to finish her speech, which is met by jeers and clapping, escalating when a protester shoots Serena in the stomach area. Fred oversees executions of those students involved in his wife's shooting.|
|17||7||"After"||Kari Skogland||Lynn Renee Maxcy||May 30, 2018|
|31 handmaids, 26 commanders (including Commander Pryce), and many civilians were killed in the suicide bombing. Despite being near the front Fred survives with injuries. Serena takes on some of his duties, forging his signature. Commander Cushing then takes Commander Pryce's role, increases checkpoints, and orders numerous people executed. He questions June and asks who aided her in fleeing the country. June responds that she was kidnapped. Serena is alarmed at her household being targeted and the loss of temporary power she held, so she forges orders to have Commander Cushing arrested. Because many handmaids were killed, some women from the Colonies are made to serve as handmaids again, including Janine and Emily. Both reunite with June in the grocery store, where Janine happily tells June that it was God's plan that she be rescued. June tells Emily her true name and several of the handmaids whisper their names to one another. Serena enlists June's help in performing Fred's work for him while he is hospitalized. At the refugee center, Moira looks through records to try to find out what happened to her fiancée, Odette. Moira is revealed to have been a surrogate birth mother for a couple and Odette was their obstetrician. In the present, Moira eventually finds photographs showing Odette was killed.|
|18||8||"Women's Work"||Kari Skogland||Nina Fiore & John Herrera||June 6, 2018|
|Serena gives June a music box and flower for June's help in completing Fred's work while he is in the hospital. Serena tells June that the Putnams' child is ill and not gaining weight. June advocates for Janine to be able to see the baby, and Serena agrees to ask about it. Naomi Putnam dislikes the idea, but she is overruled by her husband. Serena petitions Fred to allow the child to be seen by a Martha who, prior to the Sons of Jacob coup, was a top neonatologist. Fred denies the request so Serena forges Fred's signature on an order that temporarily transfers the Martha to the hospital. Lydia tells June that she will hold her responsible if anything goes wrong with Janine's visit to the hospital. The neonatologist can find no physical explanation for the child's deterioration and recommends no further treatment other than supportive care. When Fred discovers that Serena forged his signature on an order to temporarily transfer the Martha, he belts Serena. After Eden rearranges Nick's garret and uncovers the bundle of handmaids' letters, he demands that Eden never touch his belongings. Janine holds Angela/Charlotte, singing "I Only Want to Be with You" and the baby's health improves.|
|19||9||"Smart Power"||Jeremy Podeswa||Dorothy Fortenberry||June 13, 2018|
|The Waterfords and Nick travel to Canada on a diplomatic mission. While they are away, a young Guardian, Isaac, is left in charge. Serena is approached by Mark Tuello, who works for the remnant of the U.S. government in Hawaii and offers to help her defect from Gilead if she will publicly denounce the regime, but Serena declines. At the Waterford residence, June tells Rita that when Hannah was baptized, she and Luke chose godparents for her, and that she wants Rita to be the godmother of her expected child as soon as it is born. Rita states that she will try her best, although the government of Gilead has prohibited baptisms and severely restricts Marthas. June makes a similar request to Aunt Lydia, prompting Lydia to reveal she was previously the godmother to her sister's baby, who died in infancy. Nick finds Luke, tells him June is pregnant by Fred and gives him the bundle of letters. Luke, Moira, and Erin make the letters public, which prompts the Canadians to cancel the summit. Nick gives June news of Luke and Moira, adding that the letters were instrumental in curtailing the talks. June reveals that Moira is Hannah's godmother.|
|20||10||"The Last Ceremony"||Jeremy Podeswa||Yahlin Chang||June 20, 2018|
|The commander to whom Emily is newly assigned as handmaid collapses and dies during the Ceremony. June suffers contractions while shopping, forcing her to go home and to endure a "birthing ceremony" as everyone awaits the birth of the child. However, it turns out to be a false alarm. June pleads to Fred to be positioned closer to her daughter Hannah after the eventual birth. After Fred denies this request, June implies that the child she is carrying is not his and that he will never have a child of his own. Fred rapes June with Serena holding her down, under the guise of inducing the labor. Eden finds herself attracted to Isaac and meets with him at night. They kiss, but she stops once she sees Nick. She begs Nick's forgiveness, which he gives with a detachment that infuriates her. She accuses Nick of liking June. Fred arranges for Nick to take June to a remote house for a visit with Hannah, now renamed Agnes. There is thick snow on the ground and the sound of wolves. Hannah is initially shy and detached, but then she embraces June, and the two have a brief reunion. After they are separated, Guardians take Nick captive, and June is left behind, having hidden in the house.|
|21||11||"Holly"||Daina Reid||Bruce Miller & Kira Snyder||June 27, 2018|
|After Nick is taken away from the house, June finds a 1975 Chevrolet Camaro in the garage and car keys, and after much difficulty is able to start the car. She returns to the house and gets a man's coat. Flashbacks throughout the episode show her first pregnancy, and Hannah's birth and childhood. Fred and Serena arrive at the house in a panic, looking for June, and end up arguing, with Serena telling Fred she gave up everything for him and the cause, and only ever wanted a child in return. June finds a gun and from an upper floor prepares to shoot them, but desists. The Waterfords are unable to find June and decide to leave, feeling both angry and concerned. After she's certain they're gone, June, having contractions, gets back into the car but cannot get it out of the garage, which is frozen shut. June is exhausted and in pain, lies down in front of the fire, and finally goes into labor and passes out. When she awakens she's covered in blood, but the baby still hasn't come. She crawls outside and discharges the gun to attract attention, then ends up delivering the baby by herself. She whispers that the baby's name is Holly, after June's mother. Light comes in through the windows, indicating that a car has arrived at the house.|
|22||12||"Postpartum"||Daina Reid||Eric Tuchman||July 4, 2018|
|June is separated from her baby but expected to provide milk. When she is unable to pump enough milk Aunt Lydia allows her to hold the baby in order to induce lactation. As June's lactation increases during the meeting, Lydia convinces Fred to allow June back in the house for the baby's health. Nick, who is back in the Waterford household and presented as having been key to the rescue of June and the baby, suggests that he, June, and the baby should flee, and Fred attempts to renew elements of his relationship with June. Emily is reassigned to the Lawrence household as a handmaid after being rejected by four couples. His unstable wife, Eleanor, reveals to Emily that Lawrence was the creator of the Colonies. Lawrence reveals that he knows much about Emily's past. Eden and Isaac elope but are caught. Eden and Nick admit their faults and ask each other's forgiveness. Eden and Isaac are brought to a public diving board above a swimming pool for infidelity; each of them is attached to chains and weights. Both refuse to repent, and Eden instead begins to recite a biblical paean to love. They are both pushed off and drown to death. Made distraught by the events, Serena allows June to nurse the baby herself. The baby is named Nichole.|
|23||13||"The Word"||Mike Barker||Bruce Miller||July 11, 2018|
|It is revealed that Eden's father turned Eden and Isaac in. While searching through Eden's belongings, June discovers a Bible that Eden read from and annotated, despite it being illegal for women to read in Gilead. June argues about Nichole's future in Gilead, stating that Nichole won't be able to know God unless she is able to read His word. At a leaders' meeting Serena proposes that girls be taught to read the Bible, and reads from the Bible to make her point. She is punished by having a finger removed. Emily is dismissed by Lawrence, who does not undergo the ceremony. Emily is visited by Lydia and as Lydia leaves, Emily stabs her. Fred suggests to June that he could arrange for her to remain his handmaid, offering meetings with Hannah; June rejects the proposal. As a fire consumes a neighboring house, Rita tells June that she and Holly have this chance to get out. Nick prevents Fred from arranging their capture. Serena catches June, but has a change of heart as she imagines the restricted future that awaits her daughter. She allows June to take Nichole, assisted by Marthas. June is reunited with Emily, who is dropped off at the escape truck by Lawrence. Instead of escaping with them, June delivers the baby to Emily, telling her to call her Nichole. Then she turns back to Gilead.|
|Title||Directed by||Written by||Original release date|
|24||1||"Night"||Mike Barker||Bruce Miller||June 5, 2019|
|June prays for the safety of Emily and Nichole, using words from Psalm 23. Meanwhile, Emily escapes with June's baby Nichole into Canada after heavy currents in a river crossing, where they are granted asylum. Nichole is taken into the care of Luke and Moira. Back in Gilead, June visits her older daughter Hannah before being recaptured by the Guardians and returned to the Waterfords, but not before Hannah's placement mother, Mrs. MacKenzie warns June that future visits could result in her execution in front of Hannah. In order to hide June's involvement in Nichole's "kidnapping", Fred pins the blame on Emily, but Serena defiantly pins it all on herself by telling him and an agent of the Eyes that she was the one who gave away Nichole to a "murderer", meaning Emily. She then tries to commit suicide by burning down the house, but she is rescued by June and Rita. After being punished at the Red Center, June is reassigned to Commander Lawrence, who had facilitated Emily and Nichole's escape to Canada.|
|25||2||"Mary and Martha"||Mike Barker||Kira Snyder||June 5, 2019|
|June, who is now Ofjoseph, meets her new shopping partner, Ofmatthew, who is deeply devoted to Gilead. At the Lawrence household, June joins an underground resistance cell consisting of the Marthas Beth, Cora, and Alison. The latter is a former chemistry teacher who joins the resistance in order to make bombs to destroy Gilead. It is also revealed that she made the bomb that blew up the new Rachel and Leah center. June and the Marthas help a Martha from another district escape. However, this woman is later shot by the guardians and Alison returns with her to the Lawrence household. Commander Lawrence reluctantly harbors the fugitive from the guardians. Commander Lawrence's wife, Eleanor, who previously seemed unstable, helps June and the Marthas hide the wounded woman. The Martha succumbs to her injury and June digs a grave for her in the backyard and then prays for her soul to rest in peace. Commander Lawrence dismisses Cora for lying while June is burying the Martha. Eleanor plants flowers over the grave. In Canada, Emily is staying with Luke, Moira, and Erin, who successfully convince Emily to re-establish contact with her wife Sylvia.|
|26||3||"Useful"||Amma Asante||Yahlin Chang||June 5, 2019|
|June resolves to search for "allies with power", in order to survive Gilead. The commanders meet at Commander Lawrence's house to discuss the fighting in Chicago including an incoming shipment of female captives. June encounters Nick, who has been promoted to commander, and the two share a tender moment. Commander Lawrence conscripts June to select five Chicago women to serve as "Marthas"; the remainders will be shipped to the Colonies, which is ultimately a death sentence. While unwilling to be complicit in Lawrence's crimes, June eventually chooses five Marthas who would make good recruits for her resistance cell: an engineer, an IT technician, a journalist, a lawyer, and a thief. Meanwhile, a despondent Serena goes to stay with her mother Pamela, who chastises her for losing her child and for not realizing without Fred, Serena has no place in Gileadean society. At the end, she tries to kill herself via drowning in the ocean, but changes her mind and walks by Fred.|
|27||4||"God Bless the Child"||Amma Asante||Eric Tuchman||June 12, 2019|
|June and some other handmaids attend a reception at the Putnam household. There, June convinces Fred to give his wife Serena a "voice behind the scenes" in Gilead. Flashbacks throughout the episode show June and Luke's baptism of Hannah by Christian priest before the hostile takeover by the Sons of Jacob, who now dedicate children, rather than baptize infants. June learns that Ofmatthew has given birth to three babies. Janine, serving as Ofhoward, pleads with the Putnams to invite her back into the house so that she can produce a sibling for baby Angela. Aunt Lydia furiously rejects her plea, and then beats her in full view of the commanders and the wives until June throws herself between Janine and Lydia. Aunt Lydia then apologizes for what happened. She later privately breaks down in tears. Serena tells June that Hannah is at a school in Brookline, MA. June and the Waterfords later receive video footage of Nichole with Luke in Canada, during a demonstration condemning Gilead's hostile assault on Chicago. June is forced to confirm her husband's identity, which she does. In Canada, Emily reunites with her partner Sylvia and their son Oliver. Luke and Moira request a Christian priest to baptize Nichole, which they do in a church.|
|28||5||"Unknown Caller"||Colin Watkinson||Marissa Jo Cerar||June 19, 2019|
|At Serena's request, June phones her husband Luke in order to arrange a meeting between the Waterfords and Nichole. Mark Tuello (who Serena met the last time the Waterfords were in Canada) is in charge of arranging the meeting. Luke agrees to the meeting on the condition that only Serena attend the meeting and not Fred. During their tense meeting at Toronto Pearson International Airport, Serena reassures Luke that June is safe and that both she and June gave up Nichole to give Nichole a better life in Canada. Serena passes Luke a locket for Nichole, as well as a cassette tape containing a recorded message from June, revealing the name she gave to Nichole (Holly) and biological father (Nick). After unsuccessfully trying to convince Serena to defect for a second time, Mark leaves a radio with Serena when she returns to Gilead so she can contact him if necessary. Later, June is picked up by Guardians and forced to participate in a televised broadcast in which the Waterfords state that they are a family mourning the kidnapping of Nichole and urge the Canadian government to return their daughter to Gilead.|
|29||6||"Household"||Dearbhla Walsh||Dorothy Fortenberry||June 26, 2019|
|The Waterfords, June, and Aunt Lydia travel to Washington, D.C. to stay with the family of High Commander George Winslow. There, they meet with a delegation of Swiss diplomats who are seeking to negotiate between Gilead and Canada and to take part in internationally broadcast mass prayers being held at the former Washington Monument that has now been turned into a giant cross, asking for the return of baby Nichole from Canada. Once there, June and Lydia are shocked and appalled at how in Washington, the leadership caste has taken the rules of Gilead to shocking extremes: forcing all handmaids to be muzzled at all times to cover up small ring piercings used to permanently keep their mouths closed. The two bond, as Lydia tells June she believes that handmaids should not be denied the right of speech. Commander Winslow suggests to Fred that he may have a position for him in D.C. June reunites with Nick, who as a commander is now prepping military forces for the Chicago frontline against the rebels. June makes a deal with the Swiss to convince Nick to provide information on Gilead's power structure. However, they reject talking to Nick upon obtaining information about unstated war crimes committed by him in the early days of the Gilead takeover. June and Serena have an argument inside what used to be the Lincoln Memorial over Serena's change of heart regarding baby Nichole. Afterwards, the Waterfords force June to lead tens of thousands of handmaids massed along what used to be the Lincoln Memorial Reflecting Pool in a televised prayer for Nichole's return.|
|30||7||"Under His Eye"||Mike Barker||Nina Fiore & John Herrera||July 3, 2019|
|While visiting a supermarket, June arranges with Frances to visit Hannah at her school in Brookline. Emily and Sylvia meet with a Swiss diplomat, who questions Emily about crimes she has been accused of committing in Gilead. Emily acknowledges them but does not regret the actions she took to survive there. Emily later befriends Moira and the two join a group of protesters who confront the Canadian Immigration Minister over his negotiations with Gilead and are arrested. Olivia Winslow recommends to Serena that her family move to Washington, D.C., showing her that she could move into the former house of a Baptist family that was executed following the Sons of Jacob takeover. Fred and Serena renew their love for each other while negotiations take place to secure Nichole's return and an extradition treaty with Canada. June convinces Eleanor to accompany her on a visit to Brookline, but the two are not permitted entry into the school. June participates in a particicution where Frances and several others are hanged for "endangering a sacred child". June realizes that Ofmatthew was the one spying on her and reported Frances to Lydia. June angrily attacks Ofmatthew, but is restrained by the other handmaids.|
|31||8||"Unfit"||Mike Barker||Kira Snyder||July 10, 2019|
|After the particicution, Ofmatthew is ostracized by the other handmaids. In a ritual in which handmaids are admonished to "testify" for their sins, June is singled out for being responsible for the death of Frances, which would negatively affect Hannah. June exposes Ofmatthew's doubts about wanting to carry another child to term. In the night, Handmaid Ofandy gives birth to a stillborn girl. Ofmatthew snaps when she encounters June at a grocery store and grabs a gun from a Guardian and prepares to shoot Lydia (who addresses Ofmatthew by her real name, Natalie), before another Guardian shoots her. When asked by June about their whereabouts, Commander Lawrence informs her that he does not know where Hannah and her family have relocated. Flashbacks show Aunt Lydia's past: she was a caring Christian teacher named Miss Clements who was rejected by her school's principal when, at the urging of a neglectful single mother who she had befriended, she made a pass at him during their first date. Seeing that the mother was dating several men, did not attend church, and that her child wore dirty clothes, Lydia reported her to child protective services and her son was placed in a foster home.|
|32||9||"Heroic"||Daina Reid||Lynn Renee Maxcy||July 17, 2019|
|Natalie is rendered brain dead after the shooting and is placed on life support until her baby is born. As punishment for her role in engineering Natalie's humiliation and death, June is kept in the hospital room under Aunt Lydia's orders. June struggles with her mental state as well as her culpability in Natalie's death. June makes two mercy killing attempts on Natalie, but is stopped by Janine, who has fallen out with June and tells her that Natalie is one of them, and that June has become selfish. June attacks Serena but suffers cuts to her hand. A sympathetic doctor stitches her wounds, complimenting her for her bravery. As Natalie's condition deteriorates, the doctors are forced to deliver her premature son by Caesarean section. After being allowed to return to the Lawrences, June encounters a young girl named Rose, who has reached menarche and wants to bear children. Later, June gets permission to spend time with Natalie in her final moments. June apologizes to the brain-dead Natalie for losing her way and tells her that her son is a fighter. She vows to rescue as many children from Gilead as she can. Meanwhile, Aunt Lydia shows a softer side when she gifts Janine with an eye-patch to conceal her disfigured socket.|
|33||10||"Witness"||Daina Reid||Jacey Heldrich||July 24, 2019|
|High Commander George Winslow visits Boston, where he reveals plans to import the muzzling of handmaids currently implemented in Washington D.C. to other districts starting with Boston. Emboldened by the High Commander's favor towards him, and a desire to further deal with June's insolence, Fred arranges for Winslow, Serena, and Aunt Lydia to "witness" Commander Lawrence's next "ceremony" with June in order to out Lawrence's refusal to bed his handmaids and eliminate him as a protector of June. June convinces Lawrence and his wife to go through with the ceremony, citing the fact that Fred would kill not just Lawrence and his wife but also their entire household, similar to the fate of the Deeds household after Ofglen #2's assault on the new Red Center. After the doctor checks June to confirm that the ceremony was successful, June informs Lawrence of her plans to smuggle children out of Gilead and offers to have Lawrence take credit for the rescue so that he and his wife can defect to Canada without fear of reprisals for Lawrence's role in the government of Gilead. Serena confronts Fred over allowing Winslow's influence over the district, having realized that Winslow has no intention of helping the Waterfords regain Nichole.|
|34||11||"Liars"||Deniz Gamze Ergüven||Yahlin Chang||July 31, 2019|
|Lawrence is saved by June after Eleanor points a gun at him and in return, June asks Lawrence to help her smuggle children out of Gilead. Lawrence tries to escape the country but is unable to cross checkpoints; he thus returns home. A group of Marthas meet with June and agree to help her with her plan; they mention a man, Billy, who works in the Jezebels' brothel who helps them. June travels with Lawrence to the brothel to meet Billy and encounters Winslow, who attempts to rape June. June attacks and kills Winslow when he tries to do so. Marthas working at the brothel clean the room and cremate Winslow's body. The Waterfords travel to meet with American representative Mark Tuello, whom Serena met when visiting Nichole and Luke, in order to expedite Nichole's return. They stop at their friends' house where they dine with the family and hear them sing Dona nobis pacem; the Waterfords imagine life in a world where the Sons of Jacob did not establish rule. When the Waterfords drive to meet Tuello, he, unbeknownst to Fred, leads them to Canada where the Canadian Army arrests them for war crimes.|
|35||12||"Sacrifice"||Deniz Gamze Ergüven||Eric Tuchman||August 7, 2019|
|Commanders Putnam and Calhoun meet with Commander Lawrence to discuss the current events in Gilead. Beth informs June that the plan to get the children out of Gilead is underway with an airplane being expected to arrive in one week. In Canada, the Waterfords spend time in a detention facility and while Fred worries for Serena's safety, she reveals to him that she was involved in their capture, in order that she might get to spend time with Nichole. Luke and Moira meet with Fred and Serena, respectively and Serena is allowed to spend time with Nichole. In an argument over June, Luke punches Fred. Eleanor almost spills news of June's plan to Olivia Winslow and Naomi Putnam when they come to visit the house to pray for the safety of Commander Winslow, who officials believe has been kidnapped. After June scolds her, she retreats to her room. June later goes to deliver food and drink to Eleanor, but sees that she has overdosed on medication to try to kill herself. Eleanor is groggy but still breathing, but June decides not help her and quietly leaves. Eleanor is found dead the next morning by a Martha. A funeral service for Eleanor is later held.|
|36||13||"Mayday"||Mike Barker||Bruce Miller||August 14, 2019|
|A flashback shows June after being captured, where she witnesses disabled women being rounded up and presumably executed. She also tries to find out Hannah's whereabouts from a Guardian but he simply tells her to be quiet. A Martha delivers a child, Rebecca, to the Lawrence household in daylight. The Martha later changes her mind and threatens to leave with Rebecca, although June stops her with a gun. The Martha escapes and is caught on her way back to Lexington, causing Gilead to patrol the region. More children arrive at the Lawrence household. When Janine informs June that soldiers are checking every house, they all start heading to the airport. In Canada, Fred informs Tuello of the crimes Serena is responsible for and she is detained after previously having been given freedom to roam the city and spend time with Nichole/Holly. At the airport, June, along with other handmaids and Marthas (including Janine, Alma, Brianna, Beth and Sienna) throw stones at two soldiers in order to allow Rita and the children to board the airplane. Luke, Moira and Emily are all volunteering at the airport in Canada, where Rebecca is reunited with her father and Rita informs Luke that June is responsible for the delivery of the children to safety. In a scuffle with a soldier, June is shot but later found by some of her fellow handmaids who try to carry her using her cloak. As she closes her eyes, she recites the words of Acts 7:34.|
In its third installment, however, the drama digs even deeper into the emotional toll Gilead has taken on everyone--both those left in what was once the United States and those who've made it out. The lives and dreams that each character lost to this totalitarian regime have been laid out in excruciating detail before--but this week, the show lays those losses bare with more subtlety than perhaps any other episode. ... (In richer households, handmaids do the childbearing, Wives raise the children, and Marthas do the housework. Econowives, in contrast, "have to do everything; if they can.")
They walk past a priest, doctor and gay man hanging dead from a wall in their Cambridge, Massachusetts neighbourhood along the river; they see St. Paul's Catholic Church where Offred was baptized, being torn down.
In the screen version, Offred and her friend Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) surreptitiously lament the demolition of St. Paul's, their local church.
On their stroll, they walk past the remains of St. Paul's, a historic cathedral in Boston. Burned and bombed, it resembles the churches of Europe during WWII. June pauses to remember her daughter's baptism, which took place there years prior, and Ofglen notes that Gileadean thugs were also successful in taking down St. Patrick's cathedral in New York City. "They blew it up and dumped every stone in the Hudson River. They erased it." Upon hearing this bit of news, June asks, "How do you know that? And how do you know there's an Eye in my house?"
The group has a plan to escape, but Luke refuses to leave - until Zoe (Rosa Gilmore), one of the rebels, shows him a town that was hanged from the rafters of their church after trying to resist.
Finally, one of these guardian angels discreetly escorts him to a local church building, driving home the point of what's at stake for those who attempt to survive and resist from within. This mass-hanging in the belly of a church is more than just the episode's visual centerpiece: it's a wake-up call, underscoring once and for all that Gilead isn't a religious movement or a political revolution, it's not something you can reason with or withstand on your own.
Following her great escape from Handmaid training, Moira is helped by a Quaker family.
Since we last saw the escapee, she made it to Boston, hooked up with some Quakers who had ties to the Femaleroad that helped smuggle handmaids out of the country. She didn't make it farther than an office park outside the city. "They shot the guys who helped me", Moira sadly tells Offred, adding that because she was a "corrupting influence", she was interrogated and then given a choice: the colonies or the jezebels.
"Unwomen" alternates between the Colonies, where "unwomen" (gender traitors, defiant Handmaids, the infertile of low economic status, sex workers, collaborators against the republic--you know, "undesirables") are sent to perform brutal manual labor...
Offred doesn't have many cards left to play, and seems to be drifting toward breaking the vow she made to her child at the end of this season's fifth episode, accepting that she will inevitably lose this baby. She's looking for someone to do what she can't. In a moment alone with Rita, Offred asks her to act as a godparent, telling her, "I want my baby to know kindness. I need her to have someone kind in her life." Rita says she'll do what she can, but she's just plain scared. It isn't enough. Nobody but June is going to put this baby first.
This news brings back the fire in Offred's belly and she muses, "Moira is Hannah's godmother. She got out. It was impossible, and she did it.