Eleanor Lawrence is a recurring character in the second and third seasons of the TV series. She is the Wife of Commander Joseph Lawrence, to whom Emily and later June are assigned as Handmaids.

Profile[edit | edit source]

Appearance[edit | edit source]

She is an older woman with dark brown hair. She is petite and seemingly fragile.

Personality[edit | edit source]

According to her husband, she wanted "everything to be beautiful"[1]. She suffered with mental health issues, possibly bipolar disorder due to the mood-stabilizing medication she needed.

Story[edit | edit source]

In the past[edit | edit source]

Before Gilead[edit | edit source]

Back in college, Joseph wooed Eleanor via mixtape[2]. She later becomes an art professor[1].

Eleanor wished to have children with Joseph before Gilead, but he did not want to[3].

In the present, Season Two[edit | edit source]

Postpartum[edit | edit source]

Eleanor enters when Emily is getting ready for bed. She tells her that her husband is responsible for the dreaded Colonies. Commander Lawrence comes to take her away and she tells him that she hates him. He locks her back in her room.

The Word[edit | edit source]

Eleanor witnesses her husband leading Emily out of the house in the dead of night, and Joseph pleads with her to go back to bed and stay out of the situation. She calls after Emily and tells her it was nice to know her.

In the present, Season Three[edit | edit source]

June is reassigned to the Lawrence household after Emily's escape with Nichole.

Mary and Martha[edit | edit source]

When June returns home, she finds Aunt Lydia sitting in the parlor with the Lawrences. The Commander describes the recent Ceremony as "aces" before escorting Eleanor out. Aunt Lydia, suspicious of Commander Lawrence, reminds June to report anything “unseemly”.[edit | edit source]

At the Lawrence home, a Martha, Alison, suddenly shows up with another Martha who is injured. The Lawrence household Marthas, Cora and Beth, hide her in the basement with June's help, but the Guardians that shot her are close behind. An incensed Commander Lawrence calls Cora a "liar" as she tries to cover up the noise in the basement with the sighting of a rat. He orders June to fix things. As he makes to let the Guardians in, June realizes that the woman’s blood is on the wall. Mrs. Lawrence takes over the job of cleaning up and June returns downstairs. The Guardians eventually leave, but the woman dies and is buried behind the house. Mrs. Lawrence plants flowers on the dead Martha's grave.

Unknown Caller[edit | edit source]

Mrs. Lawrence remarks to June that when she phoned Luke it was important that “the love came through” — like it did when Joseph wooed her via mixtape in college. She also mentions that she’s still got all of the tapes in the basement.

Under His Eye[edit | edit source]

June convinces Mrs. Lawrence to go on a walk, in which they walk to Hannah's school in Brookline. When Mrs. Lawrence asks the guardians at the entrance to have a tour, she is promptly let in while June is locked out.

June sneaks around the side of the building to try and locate Hannah. Back at the gate, Mrs. Lawrence remonstrates with the Guardians, claiming that she was promised a tour of the school. June returns with two Guardians. One of the Guardians tells June that she won’t stop talking about the children. June explains that Mrs. Lawrence is confused and has health issues. She apologizes for taking advantage of her and leads her home.

Back at the Lawrence household, Commander Lawrence gently leads his wife to her room. Mrs. Lawrence apologizes to June, calling her "Ofjoseph." Commander Lawrence gently helps his wife into bed and removes her shoes. June tells Commander Lawrence she had no intention of putting Mrs. Lawrence in danger, adding that Eleanor came alive during their walk.

Unfit[edit | edit source]

When Commander Lawrence asks June to spend more time with his wife since she's "good for her", she gruffly blames the world that he built to be destroying his wife, adding that by keeping her "hostage" instead of taking her out of Gilead, he is actually killing her.

Witness[edit | edit source]

June learns from Beth that the Marthas' network won’t be able to get any more black market mood-stabilizing medicine for Mrs. Lawrence, who is getting worse.

Upstairs, Eleanor and Joseph argue loudly. She kicks him out of her room and he retreats to his study; June follows him and urges him to "get a truck, get her out, and get her the help that she needs". In a voice-over, June realizes he’s scared and sees his fear as a "great motivator".

Later, Commander Lawrence is out at a meeting. June sneaks into his office and starts poking around in his files. As she is caught by Mrs. Lawrence, she confesses to be looking for her "friends' children". Eleanor enthusiastically leads her to the basement where Joseph keeps the Red Center dossiers. Downstairs, June sits on the ground and starts pouring through several boxes of the Handmaids' files. She eventually finds her own. When she suggests that Eleanor leaves Gilead along with her husband, she declines, pointing out that Joseph is a war criminal who would be jailed - or killed - as soon as he crosses the border, admitting "he would deserve it". She leaves June alone with the files.

On June's designated fertile day, Beth beckons a surprised June to the sitting room, where the ceremonial red cushion has been placed in front of the fire. Commander Winslow, Aunt Lydia, and the Waterfords have gathered in the other room along with the Lawrences. June recalls they used to send "bearing witnesses" in the first months of Gilead when some households resisted the Ceremony - Commander Waterford (correctly) suspects that the Ceremony has not been taking place in the Lawrence household. The preparations begin, watched by the visitors. It is clear from the other residents' uncertainty that the Ceremony has never taken place before, as none of them - bar June - are quite sure of the procedure. After the reading of the relevant Bible verses, Joseph, Eleanor and June go upstairs to the bedroom. June notices a doctor waiting in the hallway, and Aunt Lydia tells her that he will be examining her afterwards.

In the bedroom, Joseph suggests that they just wait for a while and then simply go back downstairs, but June reminds him that a doctor will check her afterwards, which puts Eleanor in a rage, saying that Joseph promised her that this would never happen, and that he cannot rape June. June points out they do have to do something. Eleanor retreats into an adjacent room. June coaches her commander to "treat it like a job and see it from the outside, as a transaction". Afterwards, Joseph goes down to his study without a word to their guests. The doctor checks June out, and Aunt Lydia announces that it’s been “a successful ceremony”. Serena attempts to comfort Eleanor, who is lying miserably on her bed.

Liars[edit | edit source]

The episode opens with June contemplating a vow by several Marthas and Handmaids to help her smuggle fifty-two children to Canada. June later finds a deranged Eleanor Lawrence holding her husband Joseph at gunpoint whilst he tries to reason with her. June tells Eleanor to lower the gun, but Eleanor wants to kill him for raping June during the ceremony. June sympathizes with Eleanor but tells her to control herself. June tells Eleanor that she needs her and Commander Lawrence’s help to smuggle children out of Gilead.

After calming Eleanor down, June spends time with Commander Lawrence in the living room. She tells Lawrence about her plan to evacuate the children out of Gilead with the help of Marthas. June tells him that this can help him to make amends for his role in creating Gilead. Lawrence replies that he overlooked mental health and maternal love and that he struggles to live with the regret. He says that he needs to get his wife out. June convinces Lawrence to help supply her with more trucks, and asks him to toy with the prospect of becoming a hero. Lawrence gives her the gun that Eleanor had been wielding.

Sacrifice[edit | edit source]

The episode opens with June looking out of her window and fiddling with her pistol. She hears a van approaching and parking. As she hears boots walking up the stairs, June raises her gun. However, it turns out to be Eleanor Lawrence, who tells her that there are several men downstairs with Joseph. Eleanor tells June that Beth will need help to serve coffee and sandwiches. She advises June to leave her gun upstairs. June learns that the Waterfords have been arrested in Canada as they "went rogue" trying to recover Nichole, and that Commander Winslow is "missing" (June having murdered him at Jezebel's the previous evening).

Later on at the Lawrence household, June finds Eleanor breathing heavily by a cupboard. June says that Eleanor should go to Canada because Joseph would want her to. Eleanor thanks June for being kind to her. The two enter the living room where Joseph is hosting Olivia Winslow and Naomi Putnam. Joseph leads them in prayer over Commander Winslow. Olivia is afraid for her children.

June says that she will pray for Commander Winslow's safe return. Olivia expresses frustration that the other Commanders are more preoccupied with blowing things up then finding her husband. Olivia begs Joseph to get George back because she fears that her six children will be taken away if her husband is not found. Eleanor almost tells Olivia about June's plan to liberate children from Gilead but Joseph clarifies that they will take the Winslow children in if George is not found. Olivia thanks Eleanor and adds that the Eyes questioned them about Fred and Serena and expresses relief that people know where they are.

Later, Eleanor attempts to leave the house and tells Joseph that she is going to visit another household to get a boy named David out. She is confused and does not seem to grasp the concept that they cannot discuss the very dangerous plan openly. June reassures Eleanor that she has other people looking after that. Eleanor wants to tell the parents of the blonde girl living down the street about their plans. June very sternly and firmly reminds Eleanor that she has to keep their operation a secret and shakes her.

Joseph tells June that it's enough. Eleanor apologizes for not thinking and June accepts her apology. Joseph tries to comfort Eleanor by telling her to think about their lives once they have left Gilead. Eleanor asks can they really do that before walking away. Joseph sends Eleanor upstairs to take a rest.

Later, June brings refreshments to Eleanor in bed but finds that she has overdosed on her medication. June tries to wake Eleanor and considers calling for help. However, she pauses and instead decides not to call for help, believing that Eleanor is a liability to her plan. June waits in silence and sits beside the stricken Eleanor, waiting as she breathes her final breath. She kisses Eleanor on the head and spends some time with her. She then quietly exits the room and leaves the refreshments outside the door.

June quietly returns to her bed where she lies until morning. When day comes, the Marthas find that Eleanor has passed away in her bed.

Later at the Lawrence household, June helps the Marthas in the kitchen prepare a meal for Eleanor's wake. Joseph arrives and gives June two wine bottles, which he had hidden in the basement. After the Marthas exit the kitchen, Joseph tells June that he was saving the wine bottles for his and Eleanor’s anniversary. June tells Joseph that, before their wedding, Luke left some bottles of her favorite Pinot overnight in the car. The glass bottles shattered in the ice overnight and the wine was wasted.

Joseph tells June that he managed to keep the border with Canada open. He says that he managed to convince the Council because they did not want to argue with a man in mourning. June expresses her condolences for Eleanor’s passing. Joseph describes his wife as fragile and blames himself for her death. June tells Joseph not to blame himself and lies that she, too, could have checked on her. June also tells him that Eleanor was a very kind woman, to which he agrees.

June and Aunt Lydia join the wives including Naomi Putnam at Eleanor's funeral. The white parts of June's uniform have been replaced with black. Joseph and the other Commanders are also present. Joseph officiates over the funeral and asks for the Lord to forgive her sins, show her mercy, and welcome her to the gates of Heaven. Another Commander begs for forgiveness because they did not ease her pain and save her troubled soul. June watches solemnly over the funeral.

After the Commanders and their Wives disperse, June asks Aunt Lydia to let her spend time with Joseph by the graveside, to which she agrees. She walks to stand next to him and asks if he would rather be alone. Joseph allows her to stand beside him and the two reflect over the grave of Eleanor.

Mayday (TV Episode)[edit | edit source]

Before heading to the airplane, June pleads with Joseph to come with them, saying that Eleanor would have wanted that. Joseph replies that Eleanor would have wanted him to stay and clean up his own mess.

Appearances[edit | edit source]

Season Two[edit | edit source]

Season Three[edit | edit source]

Quotes[edit | edit source]

“I think I’m keen on an adventure!” - Season 3, Episode 7

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 Episode 2.12, "Postpartum"
  2. Episode 3.5, Unknown Caller
  3. Episode 3.7, "Under His Eye"
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