The Handmaid’s Tale (S03E12) “Sacrifice”

So, here we are, at the penultimate episode of season 3.  You all know how much I love the word penultimate, so I’m always happy for any opportunity to use it.  Penultimate, penultimate, penultimate.  There, I got it out of my system.

We pick up pretty much where we left off last week, with June standing by the window with Lawrence’s gun in her hand.  No, that’s not a euphemism.  She hears people arrive, and think she’s being arrested for Winslow’s murder.  But no, it’s some Commanders who have come to discuss the fact that the Waterfords are in custody in Canada facing trial.

Later, at Loaves & Fishes June tells Alma that Operation: Pied Piper would be happening in exactly 1 week.  (Just in time for the season finale!  How handy!). She then sees Rita, who wants in on the child rescue plan.  She tells June that she (June) is a boss and that she (Rita) is proud of her.  They briefly clasp hands over the potatoes and I’m thinking Rita is not long for this world.  (Anyone else get that feeling?  I can’t be the only one.)

Fred is in a pretty comfortable cell and Serena comes in.  Their rapturous reunion is pretty short lived, once Fred realizes his wife made a deal with Tuello.  Heh, sucks to be you Fred.

June finds Eleanor hiding and offers to take her back to the parlor, where Joseph is sitting with Olivia Winslow and Naomi Putnam, discussing Winslow’s disappearance.  Olivia is concerned that the will take the children away if she’s a woman alone, and Eleanor says the children can come with them!  Joseph hastily covers for her, but it’s pretty obvious that something is up.  Eleanor is the weak link, and she’s becoming more and more dangerous.

Moira and Luke arrive at the detention center with Nichole.  Supervised by a social worker, Serena is being allowed an hour with Nichole.  Moira is reluctant to leave her, but she does, but only after ripping Serena a new one.

June overhears Lawrence having a loud conversation.  It seems that TPTB want to close the border, which would put the kibosh on Operation: Pied Piper.  He tells June to move up the schedule, but if Lawrence thinks he’s in charge here, he clearly hasn’t been paying attention.  June shoots back that rescheduling the plane isn’t an option and he needs to convince TPTB not to close the border.  They manage to catch Eleanor before she leaves to go get another kid.  June gets a little harsh with Eleanor, and tells Lawrence that he needs to keep her quiet.

Later, June brings a tray to Eleanor’s room, but Eleanor doesn’t answer her knock. June finds her unconscious, and June attempts to revive her, and then stops.  Instead, she gently kisses Eleanor and leaves the room.  The following morning, Eleanor is found dead, an overdose of sleeping pills.  In the end, she kept herself quiet.

Other things:

– At what point did you start to think Eleanor might die? I began to think it might happen when she almost gave them all away to Olivia Winslow.  I just…couldn’t see any way for her to live and not ruin everything.  As a matter of fact, I wondered if June might end up killing her.  I’m still surprised she didn’t use a pillow to finish the job.

– Can we get a break from the endless close-ups of June’s face?

– Did you notice a lot of attention was given to people’s hands in this episode?


“She’s only nice when she needs something.”

“I pity the child that has you as her mother.”

“Just because you got some new clothes doesn’t make you any different. You are still the same woman who held my friend down so your husband could rape her. And he raped me, too, at the whorehouse. Treated me like shit like I was worthless. I am who I am and I have sinned plenty, but you? You are the gender traitor.”