Welcome to Episode 13 of season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale! We’ve reached the end of the season already, can you believe it?! If you haven’t watched the episode yet, please do so and then come back here.

{SPOILERS, SPOILERS, SPOILERS} from here on out . . .


And here…








The finale opens with Rita (Amanda Brugel) and June (Elisabeth Moss) packing up the remains of Eden’s things. They both feel guilty for the way they treated her.

June finds Eden’s bible. It’s full of notes, drawings, doodles. Page after page after page. Women aren’t allowed to read in Gilead, so Eden’s personal bible is contraband, technically.

June shows it to Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) in the greenhouse (aka “Mrs. Waterford’s Home for Plants That Serve as Emotional Placeholders for Human Babies”). June explains that the bible and her notes prove Eden was doing her best to understand God – and was struggling. Pious little Eden had questions and she was seeking answers, alone and in the dark. A combination for disaster when one is struggling.

Serena resists June’s message. So June gets straight to the point re: Holly.

“How are you going to keep her safe?! Are you going to lock her up here like an orchid?!”

Serena believes that the baby will be brought up to obey and understand His word.

“She cannot READ His word!” June shouts.

This hits a nerve with Serena, because it’s true and accurate.

In the Waterford living room, Eden’s father apologizes to Nick (Max Minghella). Then to Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena. W.T actual F. He apologizes for Eden’s sins. Serena tells him that Eden missed him and his farm and that she “had a kind heart.”

Eden’s father goes on to explain how when Eden arrived home with “that boy” they called the authorities immediately.

June and I both say, “You turned her in?!?!”

As Fred leaves the room. June says, “What’re you gonna do when they come for your daughter?”

He closes the door, tells her, “Mind your tongue,” as he slaps her clean across the face with all his strength.

 And you know what happens?



He grabs her face and spews, “The mouth of a woman is a deep pit. Even fools therein will suffer. You are the misery of all man. All of you.”

And there you have it. Fred’s real and true deep down feelings about women. Out in the d*mn open.

Rita ices June’s hand for her, because she thinks she broke it.

As she leaves June’s room, Nick walks in. Rita tells him,

“Your girlfriend is a badass.”

June takes him to Holly’s room where he finally gets to hold her. Finally.

June, Emily (Alexis Bledel), Janine (Madeline Brewer) and (I think) Alma, walk by the wall where Eden and Isaac are hanging.

Emily explains she has her first ceremony tonight with her new Commander.

Serena and Naomi (Ever Carradine) are at some sort of rapist assistant meeting with all the other Commander’s wives. Serena asks Naomi if she’s at all worried about their daughters’ future in Gilead.

Over at Emily’s new post, it’s time for the ceremony. Before she heads in there, she grabs a knife out of the sink and stuffs it in her waistband.

She goes downstairs and kneels on the floor as one does in Gilead before they’re about to be systematically raped.

Music is playing really loudly. Set against the expectation of what is to happen – it’s a disturbing choice of music.

As Emily waits, Commander Lawrence  (Bradley Whitford) rustles in the room behind her, looking for something, taking zero notice of Emily. Once he finally does, he asks her what she’s doing.

“We have the ceremony tonight.”

“Nah. Get up. I’m not gonna do that with you. Get up. Go to your room.”

At bible court, Serena, to Fred’s surprise, wanders in and asks to speak to all the Commanders.

She explains that she and the other Commander’s wives want to amend the rules so that women can read the bible.

Fred thanks her and tells her they’ll discuss it but he’s lying.

And she knows it.

So she opens Eden’s bible, and reads.

Some of the wives march out as she reads. Because they’re cowards to their core. This is Serena’s #resistance moment. The only thing that could motivate her to act is her love for her daughter. It’s late, and it’s not a lot, but it’s something. We haven’t seen her go this far ever.

As Serena and the wives wait in the hallway, Fred comes out. He thanks them for taking an interest in their work and then dismisses them.

Except for Serena.

She tells him she did this for Nicole, “I did it to set an example for our daughter.”

“So you have,” he replies, just as some guards join them and drag Serena away kicking and screaming.

At Emily’s posting, Aunt L pays a visit to see how the first ceremony went. Commander Lawrence, apparently, told her it went splendidly.

 Emily says nothing.

Aunt L takes this opportunity to let Emily know she 100% believes she’s a perverse degenerate. When she turns to leave, Emily grabs that knife she swiped and stabs Lydia in the back!

Then she punches her. Lydia falls down the stairs, the knife still in her back!

Emily goes downstairs calmly and kicks her six times (I counted). Cora, the Martha, comes in and alerts Commander Lawrence. She throws Emily in her room and locks the door.

Meanwhile, at the Waterford’s, June greets Serena and Fred as they arrive home.

She wants to know what’s wrong with Serena. Fred says, “We had a difficult day. All will be well. From now on.”

He leaves to get her some tea.

June asks her what happened.

“I tried,”

Serena mutters as she shows June her left hand, now missing a pinky finger.

Fred can’t manage to locate the tea in the kitchen because he’s a helpless ninny of an idiot.

June hands it to him in a big, heavy ceramic jar. I’m yelling “HIT HIM OVER THE HEAD WITH THE JAR! DO IT!” But she doesn’t.

RELATED: Read all of our recaps for The Handmaid’s Tale.

June wants to know how he could let them do that to Serena. He says, “We all have our roles to play. Serena needed to be reminded of hers.”

He tells her, “An obedient Handmaid might be able to stay in this house. How does that sound?”

She tells him it’s not allowed.

He continues, “You could stay here with your baby. We could try again. For a boy this time. Could be fun.”

She responds with a resounding,

“Go f*ck yourself, Fred.”

Over at the Lawrence house, Commander Lawrence takes Emily from her room and leads her downstairs to a car.

As they pull away he says to Emily, “You must be so proud of yourself. You like music?”

Then he turns on the radio as Emily has an emotional breakdown in the backseat. She has no idea where they’re going or what’s going to happen. Commander Lawrence’s nonchalant attitude is VERY unnerving.

At the Waterford prison, June feeds and burps Holly. She hears a lot of hubbub outside. Dogs barking, sirens. She looks out the window to see the house across the street is fully on fire.

Rita bursts in and tells June they can get her and the baby out but they have to leave right now!

“Who’s we?”

“Friends. Marthas,” Rita replies.

Marthas!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! YESSSSSSSSSSSSS!

June grabs her picture of Hannah and Holly. She thanks Rita and heads outside.

Nick is on the street, diverting traffic and making way for June and Holly to escape.

Fred asks Rita what all the commotion is about. Then he goes upstairs and sees that June is gone. And so is the baby.

In her room, she’s carved into the wall:

Nick tells him to stay inside.

“My child is missing!” Nick grabs him by the shoulder, puts his hand on his holstered gun with the other and calmly says, “It’s too dangerous out there. We’ll stay here.” And so they do stay there.

As June darts past the greenhouse, Serena spots her, “What’re you doing?”

June pleads with her,

“I can get her out. I can get her out of here. She cannot grow up here. She cannot grow up in this place. You know she can’t.”


Serena FINALLY does something right for once in her miserable existence. She says goodbye to the baby and lets June take her. So she can grow up NOT HERE.

A network of kick-ass Marthas lead June and the baby away from the Waterford’s.

As they hide, June takes out Hannah’s picture and stares at it.

Flashback to her singing to Hannah.

Back in the present, she tucks Hannah’s photo into Holly’s blanket. A car pulls up, flashes its lights.

June runs to it.

Commander Lawrence gets out!

“Godspeed,” he tells her.

Emily jumps out of the car and hugs June.

Emily asks, “What is happening?”

Commander Lawrence says, “I’m getting myself in deep shit.”

June tells her, “You’re getting out. You’re getting out of Gilead.”

Hold up. You’re getting out? What about WE’RE getting out?

Emily gets in the back of the getaway car. June just stares at her.

Then she hands Emily the baby.

“Call her Nicole. Tell her I love her.”

She shuts the door and the car drives away with Emily and the baby! LEAVING JUNE THERE!


She decided to stay. She’s staying in Gilead!

Cut to: several days after I watched the finale and wrote this recap – I can’t shake my disappointment in June’s decision to not leave with Emily and the baby. Why? Why didn’t she leave?

I understand that she doesn’t want to leave Hannah in Gilead – but is that enough of a reason to stay? I also get that she wants to take down Gilead from the inside. But how?!? She’s still very much outnumbered. Couldn’t she do more OUTSIDE of Gilead to tear it to the ground?!?

Is she going to go back to the Waterford’s house? How can she?

How can we possibly wait 10 months to pick this story up again?!

Until Season 3 my friends. . . Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum.


What’d you think about this episode? What about Season 2 in general? Let me know in the comments or contact me on Twitter!  Thank you so much for reading!


Kim Bowman
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