‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3, Episode 7 Recap: Grave Consequences
Last week on The Handmaid’s Tale, June (Elisabeth Moss) joined the Waterfords and Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) in Washington, D.C., as tension between Gilead and Canada mounted. She saw the horrors the Handmaids in the capital face and learned that Nick (Max Minghella) isn’t who she thought he was. Now, what will happen? Let’s find out.
Season three, episode seven opens on June and the other local Handmaids heaving up gallows for three people to be hanged. Once the bodies go slack, Aunt Lydia tells the Handmaids to disperse. June and Ofmathew (Ashleigh LaThrop) walk away and discuss the hangings. As usual, Ofmathew is on Gilead’s side and says the woman who was hanged mistreated her child. June gets cross with her, but when Ofmathew comes down with a bout of pregnancy nausea, she puts her feelings aside and coaches Ofmathew through it. Ofmathew says she’s always loved being pregnant, but this time is harder.
They arrive at the grocery store and June beelines it for the other Resistance women. Alma (Nina Kiri) tries to be sly and tells her the store finally got in the fruit cocktail she’s been looking for. But it’s not fruit cocktail they’re really talking about. Alma tells June that the MacKenzies’ Martha is in the refrigerated aisle waiting to talk to her about Hannah (Jordana Blake).
June asks about Hannah, and the Martha pointedly replies, “Agnes couldn’t be happier. She’s doing so well in school.” June tells her that Commander Joseph (Bradley Whitford) could get all three of them out of Gilead and into Canada. The Martha is intrigued by the prospect of freedom, but she says it’s irresponsible to put a child like Hannah in danger. June suggests they ask Hannah point-blank and resolves to go to Hannah’s school and do it herself. Ofmathew sees them talking and immediately grows suspicious.
When June gets home, she tells Beth (Kristen Gutoskie), the Lawrence Martha, that she has to get to Hannah’s school by three o’clock. June says she can’t walk there alone, so she asks Beth to accompany her, but she has things to do. So, June pivots and asks Eleanor Lawrence (Julie Dretzin) if she’d like to go for a walk. Surprisingly, she agrees. But going out proves to be a bit too difficult for Eleanor.
They run into Naomi Putnam (Ever Carradine), and Mrs. Lawrence keeps repeating how beautiful her baby is and how glad she is the baby didn’t die. It’s unnerving and when they step away, Eleanor confides in June. She says that she always wanted her own children but that the Commander wasn’t on the same page. It was even more difficult because her bipolar meds were always getting switched and she was so focused on work. It just didn’t happen for them. June feels bad for lying to her and decides to come clean about why they’re really on a walk. June says she’ll take her home, but to June’s surprise she says she’d like to continue. “I think I’m keen on an adventure,” she says.
They finally arrive at the school but the Guardian who was supposed to be there to help June is out for the day. Thinking on her feet, Mrs. Lawrence asks for a tour and the Guardian agrees but shuts the gate in June’s face. She’s forced to listen to the sounds of her daughter’s laughter through the wall. Suddenly, she’s snapped out of her reverie when a Guardian rushes up to her and says the Mrs. Lawrence isn’t well. She’s having an episode and is demanding to see the children although she’s in a state that would frighten them. June asks if she wants to leave and she says yes.
Once they arrive home, Commander Lawrence puts his wife to bed and June apologizes for putting her at risk. Then, she changes tactics and says Eleanor came alive out there, insinuating that she should be let out into the world more often.
The next morning, June and the other Handmaids prepare to hang more people. Aunt Lydia says a Martha and several others are being hanged because they put a child in danger. It’s the Martha who cared for Hannah. She’s being punished for trying to help June. Then, swiftly, she’s gone. But that’s not all. Hannah and the Mackenzies have apparently fled the city as well.
After Aunt Lydia tells them to disperse, Ofmathew tells June that she should be grateful because the Martha’s temptation has been lifted. Ofmathew told Aunt Lydia what June was planning because she was asked to keep an eye on her. “I saved you. We saved you,” Ofmathew insists. June loses it and strangles Ofmathew while screaming “Do you know what you did?!” in her face. Thankfully, Alma pulls her off and she bounds away.
In Canada, Emily (Alexis Bledel) is deep into her interview with the Swiss diplomat from last episode (you know, the one who broke her promise to June). The diplomat asks her about her supposed crimes against Gilead while Sylvia (Clea DuVall) stands by. It’s emotional, but Emily handles the questions in stride. Afterward, Sylvia tells her she doesn’t have to deal with this on her own, but for reasons unknown to us, Emily says she’s fine.
Later, Emily and Moira (Samira Wiley) meet in a bar and talk about life before Gilead. They recall their very different experiences on the lesbian scene and Moira is shocked they don’t know any of the same women. Then, Moira realizes that she’s late for a protest against Gilead. Surprisingly, Emily asks to join her. Once they arrive, Moira fires on all cylinders and calls the prime minister out for how he’s handling the baby Nicole situation. Emily yells, too, saying she brought Nicole over from Gilead herself and the baby deserves to stay in Canada.
Both Moira and Emily are arrested and consider how Luke (O.T. Fagbenle) and Sylvia will react. Emily takes the opportunity to open up to Moira and tell her that in addition to the people Gilead knows she killed, she also poisoned a wife in the Colonies. Moira says she killed a Commander at Jezebels while he slept. Maybe they aren’t so alone.
Back in D.C., Olivia Winslow (Elizabeth Reaser) and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) walk through the neighborhood. Olivia takes her to a home she thinks would be perfect for the Waterfords. It has a nursery and one of the rooms even has “bunk beds for when the kids are older.” Serena is overwhelmed and say she’ll think about it.
At the same time, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and High Commander Winslow (Christopher Meloni) are coming out of a meeting. They discuss the issue of Nicole and Commander Winslow tells Fred that they need to keep her in Canada for a while longer. Commander Waterford is visibly upset by this but agrees.
That evening Commander Waterford and Serena meet for a dinner date. He tells her he’s still fighting to get Nicole back home. She’s surprised and reveals that she assumed it would be “more politically expedient” to keep Nicole in Canada. They kiss and it seems like they might just make up.
Afterward, they continue on to an extravagant gala full of Commanders and their Wives. Serena is whisked off by Olivia and introduced to all of the D.C. Wives. They crack surprisingly inappropriate jokes and then she and Fred make eyes across the room. They meet on the dance floor and begin a sexual-tension-laden dance. It seems more power is all they needed to rekindle the flame of their marriage.
It’s great that things are going so well for the evil Waterfords, but what about Hannah? Where is she and will June ever see her again? And will baby Nicole still be able to remain in Canada?
We’ll have to wait and see when The Handmaid’s Tale returns with episode eight next Wednesday, July 9, on Hulu.