Home News World The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 13: Review & Frustrating Finale

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 13: Review & Frustrating Finale


The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 13: June succeeds in her plot to rescue a large group of children from Gilead, sending them to Canada via freight plane.

Where they are welcomed with warm arms in the season 3 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale (despite the Canadians being very worried about just one child, Nichole, throughout much of the season).

Season 3 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale

's tale season 3 episode 13

June, on the other hand, seems oblivious to the situation. She gets into a shootout with a Guardian and, through deception, defeats him—but only after being shot.

Why didn’t she just act like she’d been shot and then shoot him with her concealed pistol? I suppose it’s so they can have that scene with the Handmaids carrying her on their improvised stretcher.

Putting her in even more danger than she was before, now that she’s wounded on top of everything else.

This conclusion—the children’s and Rita’s emancipation—should be more satisfying than it is. However, something about it feels a little too forced or manufactured for my taste.

Throughout the episode, the girl who arrives early with her Martha and nearly spoils everything serves as a plot catalyst.

She’s the girl who shows up too early and nearly ruins June’s plans; then she’s the girl who June almost shoots (or at least points a gun at),

Revealing just how dark June has become; and finally, she’s the girl who miraculously finds her father moments after stepping off the plane—a symbol of hope, but also a stark contrast to Luke, who says “Come on, Hannah” to no avail.

No, Hannah, but only because June was so irresponsible for the majority of the season. She might have easily gotten Hannah on this plane if she’d thought of this scheme sooner.

Before she chased her daughter’s “family” away (strange that a Commander and his family are forced to evacuate while June receives no consequences).

Unfortunately, she did the same stunt in school, which resulted in Hannah’s Martha being hung from the wall.

So, here’s my question: Why didn’t all those Marthas take the kids with them? Isn’t it possible that the jet could have delayed a minute or two longer to pick up the Handmaids as well?

I only ask because it appears highly likely that everyone participating in the plot to take Gilead’s most valuable items will be punished for their crimes—as long as the writers don’t pull a fast one on us.

Is that truly something we should be celebrating if all those Marthas just traded their life for the kids’ freedom? Is this a one-on-one trade? It’s one thing for June to risk her life to save all these children, but hundreds of Marthas are now on the verge of death.

That does not sit well with me

These children were in significantly less danger than the Handmaids or Marthas in many aspects. Gilead is a horrific state, and I’m not suggesting that these children would be better off there, but they did have a better life than the women who rescued them.

It’s just an odd plan in general. June stayed behind to find Hannah, but she didn’t find or save her because they turned her into a reckless moron this season. She’ll have to stay now, but at least she saved all these other kids… while also putting hundreds of Marthas to death.

Serena Joy gets arrested later in the episode, just as she begins to exercise her liberties in Canada. Serena, so much for being there for “your daughter.” The charges originate from her ordering June and Nick to have sex, which started out as a forced relationship before evolving into something mutual and loving, as you may recall.

That’s rape, and it wasn’t something she was forced to do by the state—she wasn’t just a victim of all this enforced religious-based rape, as she has alleged so far. She was a willing participant and a rapist.

Of course, we’ve known this all along, but she appears to have tried to deceive the Canadians and Americans. I’m overjoyed that she’s been apprehended. She’s just as worthy as her husband, and it’s fun to watch the two of them tear each other down. Among criminals, there is no honour.

June exerts her biceps with Commander Lawrence at the Lawrence household. It’s just really irritating to watch. After the absurd Martha arrives early and a manhunt begins, he wants to call it quits on the whole endeavour.

He’s probably correct to call it quits (though they still manage to escape), but June gets tough and tells him that she’s now the boss and he’s just her puppy to play with. The shift in power dynamics between them is supposed to give the impression that June is a tough lady, but I find the whole thing ridiculous.

It’s also another example of June’s irresponsible behaviour when it comes to other people’s lives.

Clearly, the early arrival of an abducted child will raise suspicions and jeopardise their mission. How are dozens of Marthas and their wards supposed to get to the Lawrence residence without being seen by the Guardians who are looking for the missing girl (with dogs!)? I

t’s a marvel that any of them survived. It’s a miracle that dozens of people had congregated in Lawrence’s home and that no one had thought to investigate, despite Lawrence and June being the usual suspects these days.

If I were a Gileadean official, I’d probably think to myself, “Maybe we should check on that troublemaker Oflawrence and see if she has anything to do with this,” if a child went missing.

Surely, Martha, who has been on the run since June and hasn’t had the stones to shoot her, would have been discovered, interrogated, tortured, and so on.

Why didn’t they manage to capture Martha? They could have tied her up, gagged her, and freed her later if they were three against one.

The more I consider all of the minor details that contribute to the absurdity of this incident, the more it irritates me. I liked how tense it was for the most part. In the dark, there’s a way out. Arriving at the plane only to be greeted by a Guardian.

It was thrilling, and the final scene with Rita and Luke was very moving. As she held him, I started to cry.

But I have some concerns. June, for example, has a pistol, so why is she throwing rocks at the Guardian? Why don’t you just distract him and then sneak up behind him and shoot him in the head?

I got the entire “resistance” theme, with all the Handmaids and Marthas throwing rocks at the guy with the machine gun, recalling the early days of protests when the Guardians began shooting demonstrators in the streets. June, you now have a weapon. Why not make use of it?

She was willing to use it to threaten Lawrence, even if it meant pointing it squarely in the face of a small child. But when it came to actually deploying it in a crisis, she seemed to forget it was even there.
We didn’t forget, of course. We all know the rule: “If you hung a pistol on the wall in the first act, it should be fired in the second.”

So, while this wasn’t a bad episode, I’m disappointed by the finale and the season as a whole. Season 3 was slow, ponderous, and incomprehensible. June was the least likeable and relatable person she’d ever been.

Many of the episodes were confusing, or seemed to serve more as filler than plot, or as shock value rather as narrative. June kept getting away with far too much, and the realism that had made the first two seasons so compelling had all but vanished.

While there were a few powerful, emotionally resonant moments, as well as some troubling moments, I primarily felt like we were right back where we left off at the end of Season 2. June isn’t able to flee. Gilead does not perish. A few important people are deposed, and some children are rescued, but there is no sign that anything has truly changed.

June is still a prisoner—a rebel, no less—but she is suddenly more vulnerable than she has ever been. Let’s hope her plot armour is particularly thick this time, since there’s no way she’ll survive this time.

What Does This Mean for Hulu?

Going forward, Hulu faces a difficult situation with The Handmaid’s Tale. In many ways, I still believe this should have been a standalone miniseries or an anthology.

Season 1 followed the book all the way to the finish, and that’s where it should have ended. Season 2 could have been about another Gilead victim, or it could have been about the ongoing warfare, or it could have been about the execution camps.

Season 3 could take a look at it from the perspective of 20 years in the future, and so on.

But Elisabeth Moss has become such an integral part of the storey that it’s difficult to picture it without her as June, even if there appears to be little reason to continue telling that particular storey.

June’s storey is too short for the wider plot arcs that are required to keep The Handmaid’s Tale fascinating. And as one of Hulu’s most popular, influential, and critically acclaimed originals, it’s crucial that this show maintains its appeal.

Season 4 is more crucial than ever because it has gotten a lot of flak from fans and critics alike this season.

I believe my opinion of the ending is more critical than that of many of my colleagues, but even the positive ones I’ve seen are full of quibbles and complaints.

What did you think of the season’s finale and overall? Please let me know on Twitter or Facebook, and thank you for following along this season with me.

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