Summary: June and Lawrence put their plan into motion, but things go awry when a martha arrives in the daylight and is reported to have been seen. Lawrence wants to back out but June forces him to continue. Lawrence decides to stay in Gilead while June and the others escort the kids to the airport. A guardian patrol is barring the way so the handmaids and marthas cause a distraction, allowing the kids and the remaining marthas to get on the plane and escape. June and Janine are shot and badly wounded, but they survive. The plane lands safely in Canada. In Canada, Fred pettily throws Serena under the bus by suggesting that she was complicit in Nick raping June, getting Serena arrested.
The Good: Sometimes simple and predictable storytelling is absolutely the right way to handle things. What I expected and wanted from this episode was a tense and dramatic episode centering only around June actually enacting the plan of getting the 52 kids out of Gilead. And that is exactly what we got. This show has consistently enjoyed making storylines way more complex than they need to be, but episodes like this one prove that complexity doesn't necessarily make an episode better. A simple episode that is executed well can easily be better than a sloppily written episode that has more depth to it.
The escape of the children from Gilead is a rare story that was built up across several episodes, and that played a big part in making the moment as successful as it was. The process of the kids escaping was really effective and it worked as a joyful moment that provided some much-needed hope into the world of Gilead. I thought that the handmaids and marthas attacking the one guardian patrol was a very strong scene and it was the most heroic that the victims of Gilead have ever been. This was a lovely moment of hope and strength that worked as a climax for the season.
The scenes at the airport in Canada were even better. The arrival of the children and marthas was a rare victory over Gilead for the rebels. The moment hits hard and is surprisingly emotional as Rita meets with Emily and Luke. Furthermore, this scene marks the first time a rebellious move has actually had a significant impact in saving lives and fighting back against Gilead, finally giving us some pay-off for the show's endless promises of rebellion.
June's determination to ensure that the kids get out was a very good story to follow. Her desperation when Maggie nearly ruins her plans is easy to understand and I really liked her choice to draw a gun on Maggie, with her willing to kill Maggie before letting Kiki go back. The prior scene where June got to empathize a little bit with Kiki was also very strong and it did a nice job of bringing June's emotional state to the forefront of her decision to draw a gun on Maggie.
The scenes with Lawrence were strong, as always. He came off as pretty heroic in his final scene as he says goodbye to June, and I did enjoy June mouthing off to him earlier in the episode as she attempted to force Lawrence to stick to the plan.
I liked the scenes with the Waterfords in Canada. Fred would be petty enough to throw Serena under the bus for betraying him, and it was very satisfying to see the walls close in on Serena, providing us with some sweet catharsis as Serena's plan falls apart right in front of her.
The Bad: I get that the show was trying to say that this episode was the point where June went from a victim to a major rebellious leader. The existence of that opening scene suggests as much. But the story doesn't work at all for me because June hasn't really been a victim for so long. I can't recall the last time that June has been abused without her acting out in some way, so it's hard to relate with June as a victim in this season.
I thought the scene of June pointing the gun at Kiki was very forced and it was difficult to buy into why June would do this. I don't buy into June being so desperate that she points a gun at Kiki. The scene simply existed because it was dramatic, not because it was logical.
I found it odd that Serena was convicted at the word of a war criminal. Surely they would need some actual proof of her involvement. Also consensual sex isn't rape, Tuello claiming that it is was very stupid.
The Unknown: What was Janine's gift that she gave to June?
Will Janine and June be fine after getting shot? What will happen to them when Gilead discovers what they did? What will Lydia's reaction be?
How will Gilead react to the child smuggling? Will they demand returns from Canada? Will this lead to war? Will Lawrence be punished for his actions? Or will they remain a secret?
What consequences will Serena face?
Best Moment: The airport scenes.
Character of the Episode: June.
Conclusion: This was a very good finale that had some emotional moments.
This season was a major disappointment. It started well enough but then the middle of the season put the show in a slump as the writers stalled the story, wrote sloppy side-plots, and completely failed to produce emotional moments. There were some good episodes towards the end, but the show mostly didn't recover and I still ended the season feeling underwhelmed. Funnily enough, I thought that this could have been a really strong season if it was written better, but it never lived up to its full potential. This show continues to get worse with every season and it isn't showing any signs of learning from past mistakes, so I'm not feeling very hopeful about season 4's quality. I'm unsure if I will be reviewing that season next year due to my declining interest in the show.
Just a university student who loves to watch TV. And criticize it like hell.