The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 6 recap: Vows

The Handmaid's Tale -- Courtesy of Hulu
The Handmaid's Tale -- Courtesy of Hulu /

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 has made more progress in the last two episodes than it has through its entire run–and we’re here for it! Before getting into the thick of things, if you have not seen this week’s episode, then stop reading here, there are major spoilers ahead!

At the end of last week’s episode, June (Elisabeth Moss) and Janine (Madeline Brewer) fell under the rubble of Gilead’s surprise attack, moments before the ceasefire. When June comes to, she’s frantically in search of Janine, who is nowhere to be found.

Instead, June finds someone else in the aftermath of the rubble, someone she would never have imagined running into–Moira (Samira Wiley). While Moira is trying to wrap her head around June being right there, June is lost in her search for Janine. There isn’t much time to do anything as the end of the ceasefire rapidly approaches.

June is reluctant to go off with Moira, but with some convincing and perhaps a touch of white lies, Moira convinces June to go with her. And that, my friends, is just the start of what is an incredibly emotional (and nail-biting) episode!

We’ve got plenty to break down from this week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, so without further ado, let’s get right into it!

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 5 recap: A flashback of days past

We take a brief break from the present to go back to the days before Gilead took over the world. It’s always a nice vacation from the gloom and doom, especially when it’s a moment between two best friends just having drinks together.

It’s been a while since we’ve seen a flashback of Moira and June, and given the present situation, it’s a welcome reminder of how close they used to be once upon a time. It helps us understand why Moira is so eager to go above and beyond for her friend, even if it means risking it all.

At this point in the flashback, June and Luke (O-T Fagbenle) are just engaged and getting ready to move in together. I had forgotten this next point but the reason June and Luke got together was that they had an affair and Luke cheated on his wife. His ex-wife couldn’t get pregnant, and that was the biggest reason why he left her.

Naturally, that places June in a weird position especially if she can’t get pregnant either. Would he leave her too? According to Moira, it’s not out of the realm of possibilities, and anyone that ditches his wife in that way isn’t the best of guys.

It’s a point of awkward contention between Moira and June, and while she insists otherwise, June is bothered by the fact that Luke’s behavior is questionable. In another flashback, June tries to ask Luke about his first marriage, and he simply reassures her that their marriage won’t be like his first one.

She’s clearly perturbed by Moira’s concerns so June confesses that she’s worried about her and Luke’s future together. What if he realizes that she’s not the person he thinks she is? Luke is quick to settle her anxiety promising her he will love no matter what.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 5 recap: Oh, Canada!

After somehow convincing June to join her, Moira and the others head to the NGO base camp where they learn June had a concussion. It isn’t until now that June realizes Moira is there and what is going on–and it’s a very emotional moment for the both of them.

At the base, Moira’s girlfriend Oona (Zawe Ashton) is in charge, forcing the refugees to get out of the immediate area. They can’t go with them but they need to get the hell out of dodge as the ceasefire comes to an end. It’s a jarring scene to see how many people want to sneak away to their freedom, but simply can’t.

Moira tells Oona that she found June, but regardless of the discovery, Oona informs her that they can’t take June with them. Given her popularity in Gilead and that everyone is on the hunt for her, helping June escape could jeopardize everything the NGO has worked so hard to do. In fact, it’s part of the ceasefire agreement that they can’t take any refugees with them, and that includes June.

I mean, do they have to find out that they helped June escape. She’s quite resourceful and could have found many ways to get to safety. Just saying!

At this point, Moira is in a place where she’s not willing to listen to anyone, not Oona or June, who doesn’t even want to leave. She’s still eager to get Hannah back even though it doesn’t seem like it’s been on the top of her list lately. And then there’s also the fact that Hannah did not cozy up to June when she saw her recently, so wouldn’t one say Hannah is better off where she is? I mean if we’re talking about Hannah’s happiness, it is a valid point.

Moira sneaks June onto the boat, despite Oona’s orders, and as the boat officially leaves the port, June looks back on the refugees left behind with horror and guilt.

After they’re well on their way, Moira has to confess to sneaking June onto the boat, especially when she finds out that Gilead is going to do an inspection before they’re officially in Canadian waters. Canada is within reach, but will June actually make it there?

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 5 recap: A bittersweet reunion

Once it’s known that June is on board, the NGO staff has to figure out what to do with June. Do they turn her in? Do they hide her? …Do they kill her?

Everyone is split over what to do, but many are vocal about the fact that helping June means things could get difficult for their missions in the future. Sitting in silence up until then, June speaks up and says they should turn her in. I feel like it’s a bit too late to say that after all her reckless behavior, but hey, better late than never.

In a last-minute change of heart, Oona decides to help June out and asks them to make her an I.D. so she can pretend to be a part of the NGO. My only question here is–doesn’t everyone in Gilead know who June is at this point?

I felt like they should have recognized her right away, but instead, after an awkward pause, the Gilead officer lets her go. Seriously, though, the number one Gilead fugitive is on the run, and these officers aren’t thinking about looking for her? Seems like a plot hole.

After all of that, and Oona breaking up with Moira over her lies, June still considers fleeing from the boat. Talk about disrespect at its finest!

There’s also the fact that June is nervous about reuniting with Luke sans Hannah. She felt like she should have been with her by the time she got back to Luke, but things haven’t worked out as June would have liked. In fact, things haven’t worked out as anyone would have wanted them to–Moira lied to Oona, Oona abandoned her mission, and June has left Hannah behind. It’s a hot mess all around, and we’ll have to hang tight to see how it all plays out in future episodes.

They finally arrive in Canada, and we reach the moment we’ve been waiting a long time for. June’s nervousness is palpable, but as soon as Luke appears, it feels as if all the tension melts away. She falls into Luke’s arms, apologizing for not having Hannah with her. There’s a moment where I thought Luke was actually going to blame her, but instead, he embraces the love of his life into his arms.

And as June takes her first step on Canadian land, it feels like for the first time in a long time, freedom might be on the horizon.

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What. an. episode.

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4? Tell us in the comments below!