The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 2, episode 13 recap: ‘The Word’


The season two finale of The Handmaid’s Tale had us asking one question–why June, WHY?

Wow, The Handmaid’s Tale, wow! After a rollercoaster of yet another dark season, the season two finale threw us for an unexpected loop. So much happened, yet somehow it felt like nothing happened at all–if that makes any sense.

When season two began, we all had our own ideas as to where the story was going to go. We hoped that June would make a grand escape and the story would be about her freedom–but alas things didn’t exactly go that way.

In the season two finale, June did find a very interesting way to freedom (thanks to the team of Marthas, a supportive Serena, and Commander Lawrence). However, she decided not to take it–but more on that a little bit later.

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The Handmaid’s Tale really tested our emotional limits with everything it threw at us this season, but in the finale, it was all too much to take in. In an effort to secure a literary future for the kids of Gilead, June insists that Serena take some action. And while she refuses to acknowledge this at first, she ends up doing something we really didn’t see coming–reading in front of a council of men to prove her point.

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Of course, this doesn’t end well for Serena who is beaten and has one of her fingers chopped off as punishment. Serena’s character is most definitely the standout character of season two because she has matured and adapted in a way that we would have never even contemplated last season. Something within her changed, and in those moments she lets June go with Nichole, she redeemed herself by ten-fold.

Then there’s Emily–angry, so-over-it Emily. She has been living with Commander Lawrence but things aren’t exactly handled the way they normally would be. He doesn’t make her participate in the Ceremony, and after she attacks Aunt Lydia, he actually helps her procure freedom. Very interesting.

Credit: Hulu

And let’s not forget that the inspiration for literary freedom came from Eden, who left behind a Bible that she used to write in. This is what motivates June to speak to Serena in the first place, so kudos to Eden for making a place for herself in the push to make Gilead a better place. And speaking of Eden, we also learn that it was her own father that turned her in when she showed up with Isaac. Come on man–that wasn’t cool.

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The Handmaid’s Tale season two finale ends with a group of Marthas leading June and Nichole to an undisclosed location. Watching June secretly walk through Gilead has us on the edge of our seats because we expect her to be caught at any moment–but she doesn’t. Instead, she ends up waiting near a tunnel and is surprised to see a car pull up with Commander Lawrence and Emily.

And just as they are supposed to load up and make their escape, we see June begin to hesitate as she hands Nichole to Emily and abruptly bids farewell, asking Emily to call the baby Nichole. I don’t know about anyone else but I was definitely screaming “WTF” multiple times as June once again gave her signature dark glare into the screen and walked away–right back into Gilead.

So, now what?