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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Recap: Everything you should know before watching season 4

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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3

The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 is the last part of our 3 part series recap. Read this before watching season 4.

Read season 1 and season 2 summaries.

Trigger warnings : Sexual assault, Violence and Murder

The Handmaid’s Tale season 3

After the events of season 2, June takes commander Lawrence’s help and goes to find her daughter Hannah at Commander Mackenzie’s house. The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Guardians take her back to Waterford’s house. There Serena confronts June and screams at her for sending Nichole off with Emily. 

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June consoles her and tells her that any mother would choose her child’s safety and that she couldn’t leave Hannah. Nick and Rita both share their disappointment. Serena calms down but later we see that she sets “the ceremonial” bed on fire and the entire house burns down. June is later sent back to the Red Centre and is punished. 

Meanwhile, Emily successfully escapes Gilead and finds Luke and Moira in Canada. Luke gets to know Nichole. Moira and Luke help Emily adjust to her new place.

June is re-housed in commander Lawrence’s household

The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 is the first time we see June in a new household – Commander Lawrence’s house. As soon as June goes there Aunt Lydia, who just recovered from the injuries inflicted by Emily visits them. 

In Lawrence’s household, things are quite different from others. He is devoted to his wife Eleanor and they both refuse to perform the ceremony. Of course, no one outside their house is aware of the situation but Aunt Lydia has her doubts. June is assigned a new walking partner Ofmatthew who is a “true believer”. 

Eleanor is a curious woman who hates the cruel laws of Gilead and we find out that she is sick. Lawrence goes against the law to get her medicines and June helps her calm down on various occasions. He also turns a blind eye to June’s “Mayday” operations.

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June’s talk with commander Lawrence

The Leaders have a meeting at Commander Lawrence’s house where both Nick and Fred meet June. June asks Fred about Serena and he tells her they are separated. We find out later that after their house burns down, Serena stays with her parents and tries to find some peace. 

During this meeting, we find out that Nick got promoted. In The Handmaid’s Tale season 3, we have a glimpse into commander Lawrence’s past. He justifies his role in building by saying that “he did something to create a better future for all the children”. He also guilt trips June saying that she chose work over her sick daughter and that Mrs Mackenzie was a nice woman who helped many orphans in Africa. 

Emily tries to reconnect with her wife and her son. She finds it very difficult to navigate through her new life in Canada but meeting her family gives her hope.

Fred and Serena

While Serena tries to heal from the trauma, her mom suggests she forgive Fred and obey him. Meanwhile, June also negotiates a truce between them by suggesting Fred give Serena “rights”. Emily tries to reconnect with her wife and her son. She finds it very difficult to navigate through her new life in Canada but meeting her family gives her hope.

All the Handmaids are taken to a communal Baptism ceremony which reminds June of her daughter’s Baptism. Janine sees the Warrens with her daughter and asks them to let her stay with her daughter. She offers to “make them” another baby. This makes Aunt Lydia furious and she punishes her. June tries to stop her but she lashes out at Janine as everyone stood there disgusted by her. Janine is then taken away. Aunt Lydia finds some time alone and weeps for her actions.

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Fred and Serena find out that Nichole is with Luke in Canada as they find a video of Luke and Nichole ‘protesting’ over the internet. Serena then starts on a path to bring her family together. Episode 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 ends with Nichole getting Baptized in the hands of Luke and Moira.

Serena visits Nichole in Canada 

Serena asks Fred that she wants to see her baby and they arrange a visit to Canada. June worries about Luke and asks commander Lawrence to help, but he refuses. June talks to Luke (forcibly) and asks him to visit the airport with Nichole. She then records a tape and sends it to Serena to bring it to Luke. Serena visits Nichole and gives the tape to Luke.

During the few hours Serena spends in Canada, the person who tells her about the “infertility cure”, Mark Tuello gives her a satellite phone and offers her a free life in Canada.

Immediately after returning, Fred tells Serena that they could bring Nichole back from Canada. They make a video petition to the world, saying that Nichole belonged in Gilead. They even involve June in that! 

Waterford’s campaign to bring Nichole to Gilead

In The Handmaid’s Tale season 3, Episode 6, We see that both Fred and Serena start a campaign to bring Nichole back. They even lie saying that she got kidnapped by a fugitive who fled Gilead. 

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Fred, Serena and June visit where they DC to set up a week-long public prayer for their daughter’s return. There they meet a peculiar commander and his kind wife. June also sees that the laws for Handmaids are stricter and crueller in the Capital. 

Diplomats from the Swiss visit Gilead to act as a neutral party for Nichole’s case and are questioned by her. June involves Nick but later his testimony is rejected as he is a war criminal and is a crucial part of creating Gilead.

June tries to meet Hannah

Emily has to face a trial for her past crimes and worries that her wife would not understand. She connects with Moira as they help each other try to get in touch with their new identities. Fred and Serena spend more time in DC but send June back to Lawrence’s. This stay gives them a glimpse of Gilead’s future.

June takes the help of Eleanor and Hannah’s household Martha and visits her at her school. This gets her and Eleanor into trouble. Ofmatthew snitches about the Martha’s involvement and gets her hanged. As a result, Mackenzies also move away to some unknown place.  So, all the Handmaids isolate Ofmatthew which drives her crazy and she ends up getting shot.

June has to spend her time in the hospital praying for Ofmatthew and her baby as a penance. She begins to crack for the first time in The Handmaid’s Tale season 3. Serena’s visit causes her more distress and she attacks her. Meanwhile, Aunt Lydia recalls her past and all the choices which lead to the life she now has. 

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The Ceremony

Furious with June’s actions, Serena and Fred along with other leaders visit the Lawrence’s and ask them for proof that the ceremony is taking place every month. Fred’s twisted idea is to break June further so they ask to bear witness with a “simple” test after the ceremony. Lawrence gets on with the ceremony unwillingly, with Eleanor heavily drugged and sobbing in the next room. After that, he feels guilty and promises June to help her find her daughter and save other children.

Commander Lawrence helps June to visit the Jezebels to reconnect with the Marthas and the network that helped her escape. She tries to arrange a flight to take the children to Canada. Meanwhile, Commander Winslow sees her and forces himself on her. She kills him and the Martha’s and Jezebels help her escape.

In a dramatic turn of events, Serena tricks Fred takes him on a trip up the North and gets him arrested. She does this in exchange for freedom and a life with Nichole. Angry from the betrayal, Fred tells them that Serena forced Nick to rape June to get her pregnant. This gets Serena arrested.

The great escape of The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 

June, with the help of Handmaids and Marthas, create the plan of getting 86 kids out of Gilead. Commander Lawrence, who just loses his beloved wife Eleanor also helps them to carry out this mission. They successfully get those children and Marthas to Canada. Rita who gets off the plane tells Luke that June helped everyone get out of Gilead. 

June stays back for Hannah. As she helps those kids get into the plane, she gets shot by a Guardian. The last scene of The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 shows June carried by some Handmaids.

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Season 4 will reveal how the story continues from there. 

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