June escalates her risky efforts to find Hannah. Emily must face her past crimes as the ongoing international diplomatic crisis becomes more complicated. Serena and Fred contemplate their future in Washington.
The episode opens with June and the other Handmaids participating in a particicution under the supervision of Aunt Lydia. They are tasked with executing a man and two Econowives. At her signal, the Handmaids pull several red ropes which cause the condemned to fall down a long drop, executing them.
Following the execution, Ofmatthew says that she heard one of the executed women mistreated a child, thinking that her execution was merciful. June doesn't share Ofmatthew's enthusiasm. Ofmatthew has difficulty breathing so June tells her to take a deep breath. Ofmatthew reveals that she loves being with child but that her assignment is with child. She says that she doesn’t know what is wrong with her. June tells Ofmatthew that she was scared when she was bearing Nichole. Ofmatthew prefers not to think and says that her child is a blessing.
June visits the supermarket and chats with the other handmaids. Alma tells June that they have finally gotten hold of that fruit cocktail shipment she was after. Ofmatthew says she loves fruit cocktail but is distracted by Brianna under a pretext. When they are alone, Alma shows June that Frances, the Martha of the MacKenzies, is waiting for her.
In the refrigerated section, Frances tells June that Mrs. MacKenzie told her to stop. June says she can't and asks how Hannah is. She answers her that her daughter is doing good at a school. June does not think the situation is ideal and tells Frances that her commander can help them escape to freedom. Frances says that Hannah is a child and that it would be selfish to put her in danger. June disagrees and says that Hannah should be with her real parents. June convinces Frances to arrange a meeting with Hannah at her school. June says that she has just come from her fourth hanging this week and does not think it will get better. Frances tells June to go to the gate where a friend, a Guardian named Parker, will help her.
Meanwhile in Toronto, the Swiss diplomat Lena meets with the former Handmaid Emily and her wife Sylvia. Gilead has furnished the Swiss diplomatic team with details of Emily's crimes in Gilead including vehicular assault on a guard. Emily acknowledges running him over. She also acknowledges stabbing her supervisor Aunt Lydia in the back and throwing her down a staircase during the night of her escape.
Sylvia defends Emily's actions due to the suffering and torture she went through under Aunt Lydia. Lena reassures Emily that she does not enjoy asking these questions. She asks Emily if she committed any other actions that would be considered criminal by Gilead. Emily answers that it is probably the case. Later, Sylvia reassures Emily that she does not care what Emily did in Gilead and that she does not have to deal with it on her own. Emily insists she is fine and walks away.
Back in Washington, DC, Olivia Winslow encourages Serena Waterford to make her home in DC. Serena says she doesn't know where home is. Olivia then shows Serena an empty mansion and tells her that it is just waiting for the right owners. Serena asks who lived there before Gilead killed them all. Serena replies that they were Baptists. They find broken glass on the floor. They walk past a family photo into the baby's room which has the name 'Phoebe' in colorful letters on the wall. Serena replies that she will think about moving to DC. Olivia heads into the master’s bedroom. Serena looks out the window before joining Olivia.
Meanwhile, High Commander Winslow tells Commander Waterford that Canada is considering a general extradition treaty with Gilead. Waterford thanks Commander Winslow for his expertise. Winslow says that once Nichole has been returned, they will be able to secure the return of more people. Winslow tells Waterford to keep Nichole in Canada for a bit longer and that they are reaching his vision.
Back at Commander Lawrence's household, Beth tells June that Commander Lawrence is away. June tells Beth that she has be in Brookline by 3pm so that she can see her daughter. Beth is reluctant to accompany June to Brookline due to the presence of Guardians. June offers to bring tea up to Mrs. Lawrence in order to curry her favor. Eleanor Lawrence invites June into her quarters. June opens the curtains. Mrs. Lawrence, who has not been outside for a long time, is initially struck by the bright sunlight. June uses Mrs. Lawrence's discomfort to her advantage and convinces her to accompany her for a walk, promising that nothing will happen to her.
The two walk through the snowy streets of Boston together. They encounter Naomi Putnam, who greets Mrs. Lawrence, having not seen her for a long time. Mrs Lawrence greets baby Angela. Mrs. Putnam wishes Mrs. Lawrence all the best in getting a child through June, her handmaid.
The two continue their walk to Brookline. While crossing on a pedestrian bridge, Mrs. Lawrence stops. She tells June that it is hard not to imagine what her daughter or little boy might have looked like. June asks her if Commander Lawrence and she tried to have children in the time before Gilead. Her mistress answers that she wanted to have children but that her husband disagreed. Mrs. Lawrence says she was teaching full time and that the doctors were always "adjusting her dosage." She says again that she wished she could have had a child.
June says that being a mother in Gilead poses its own challenges. June admits that she lied to Mrs. Lawrence and that she arranged the walk so that she could meet her daughter at her school in Brookline. June apologizes for misleading Mrs. Lawrence and offers to take her home, but says she is willing to continue the walk because she is keen on an adventure. The two walk through a subway tunnel.
Back in Toronto, in a café, Moira tells Emily that Canada needs to stand up to the tyrannical and child-greedy Gilead. She says that Nichole is a refugee just like them. Emily agrees and asks Moira if she misses her old job. Moira says sometimes and that she misses the people. When Moira asks Emily about her career before the rise of Gilead, Emily tells Moira that she was a professor who used to work at a biolab. She tells Emily that she studied at Harvard University, lived in Minnesota, and that she once dated a firefighter from Charlestown. However, the firefighter had a boyfriend. While conversing, Moira receives a text message and says that she has to leave for a protest. Emily asks if she can come along.
Later, at the protest, Moira confronts the Canadian Immigration Minister, demanding to know why the Canadian Government has not designated Gilead refugees safe from deportation. The Canadian minister tries to reassure them that Canada protects refugees. Moira demands to know why Canada is negotiating with Gilead. The Immigration Minister responds that it is in the interests of all Canadians and all Canadian refugees to keep the peace with all its neighbors. One of the protesters responds that there is actually no peace with Gilead.
As the Immigration Minister tries to enter his car, Moira slams the door and demands to know why he won't refuse Gilead custody of Baby Nichole. The Minister responds that the birth mother relinquished her rights. Emily, who is trailing them, responds that Nichole's birth mother gave her baby to her so that she could escape an oppressive state. Moira and Emily fight with the security detail and are quickly arrested.
Back in Gilead, Mrs. Lawrence and June approach the school in Brookline, which is heavily guarded by Guardians. They see three children being led out by an aunt with a rope. Mrs. Lawrence approaches the guards, seeking a Guardian named Parker. Though Parker is away, another Guardian speaks to her. Mrs. Lawrence claims that she was promised a tour of the school grounds due to her status as Commander Lawrence's wife.
Mrs. Lawrence is allowed inside the building but June is kept waiting outside the gates. The courtyard inside is filled with the laughter of children playing. June walks around the wall, which is ringed by barbed wire. She skirts the perimeter of the building and tries to make out her daughter Hannah’s voice. June cries out to Hannah and presses her hands against the wall. June experiences a flashback of playing with her daughter under a blanket. Over the wall, we can see children playing while June continues to listen to them until a Guardian finds her and takes her back toward the gate.
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. June apologizes for taking advantage of her. June leads Mrs. Lawrence 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 not intention of putting Mrs. Lawrence in danger. As she walks back to her room, she coldly tells Commander Lawrence that his wife came alive during their walk.
Meanwhile, Serena attends a banquet with Commander Waterford and asks how the gallery tour she'd taken went. She says she enjoyed seeing that so many intricate pieces were recovered from the art institute. Serena asks if he remembers the last time they were there. Waterford teases her that she skipped out on her cousin’s baby shower. Waterford expresses his love for his wife while gazing down at the menu.
Serena says she wanted to give the Winslows a break for their hospitality. Waterford thanks his wife for her patience. Serena hopes that the two of them will have a home together someday. Waterford reassures her that they will. Waterford vows to bring Nichole back. He tells her that he quit his job because other Gilead officials thought it would be more expedient for Baby Nichole to remain in Canada. He tells her not to press for a timeline because he doesn’t have one yet.
Moira in a police holding cell with Emily
Meanwhile, Fred and Serena attend a ball where the Commanders and their Wives are dancing. Serena is greeted by Mrs. Winslow, who introduces her to Evelyn, Gabrielle, and Tacoma. Evelyn claims the credit for organizing the ball. They invite her to enjoy herself, claiming she is among friends.
As Serena approaches Fred, he tells her that she looks stunning. She offers her hand and the two dance against the background of a waltz. The other commanders and wives watch them dance.
The following morning, June and the other Handmaids gather for another particicution. Alma tells June that the MacKenzies are gone and that not even her Commander knows. Aunt Lydia asks the Handmaids why they have long faces and implores them to take a moment to abide in the sunlight of God’s “grace.” Two figures are standing in the gallows. Aunt Lydia announces that they are individuals including a Martha for endangering the child she was supposed to protect. June recognizes the Martha as Frances, who is gagged and makes tearful noises.
The Handmaids assume their places under Aunt Lydia’s orders. Reluctant, June does not pick the rope. Aunt Lydia tells her that no one can escape their duty and she finally complies. The Handmaids pull the ropes. Frances weeps as a noose is placed around her neck. June bids Frances farewell before taking part in the particicution. Aunt Lydia tells them all they learned a hard lesson before ordering the Handmaids to disperse. June is the last to drop her rope and eyes Lydia menacingly before dispersing.
Upset, June brushes past the other Handmaids. As she passes by her, Ofmatthew tells her she should be thankful. June stops and asks Ofmatthew: "What did you do?". Ofmatthew tells June that she reported June's encounter with Frances to Aunt Lydia. June asks what she said to Lydia. Ofmatthew replies that she and Lydia saved her. June takes off her cap and angrily grabs Ofmatthew around the neck screaming repeatedly at her "What did you do?". June is restrained by Alma and Brianna, but she angrily storms off.
- Emily's surname Malek is mentioned for the first time in this episode.
- In the novel, Pieixoto reports on extraditions from Canada ("Historical Notes")
- Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne
- Joseph Fiennes as Fred Waterford
- Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford
- Alexis Bledel as Emily Malek
- Madeline Brewer as Janine
- Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia
- Samira Wiley as Moira
- Bradley Whitford as Joseph Lawrence
Guest Starring Edit
- Christopher Meloni as George Winslow
- Elisabeth Reaser as Olivia Winslow
- Ashleigh LaThrop as Ofmatthew
- Clea DuVall as Sylvia
- Julie Dretzin as Eleanor Lawrence
- Ever Carradine as Naomi Putnam
- Kristen Gutoskie as Beth
- Sarah McVie as Lena
- Nina Kiri as Alma
- Jenessa Grant as Dolores
- Bahia Watson as Brianna
- Ordena Stephens as Frances
|Season 1||Offred | Birth Day | Late | Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum | Faithful | A Woman's Place|
The Other Side | Jezebels | The Bridge | Night
|June | Unwomen | Baggage | Other Women | Seeds | First Blood | After | Women's Work|
Smart Power | The Last Ceremony | Holly | Postpartum | The Word
|Night | Mary and Martha | Useful | God Bless the Child | Unknown Caller | Household | Under His Eye | Unfit | Heroic | Witness | Liars | Sacrifice | Mayday|