The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 3 recap – what happened in “The Crossing”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: April 28, 2021 (Last updated: February 17, 2024)
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Hulu series The Handmaids Tale season 4, episode 3 - The Crossing


Usually praised for its slow-moving tension building, episode 3 decides to move up the gears with an intense interrogation and another brewing escape plan.

This recap of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 3, “The Crossing,” contains spoilers.

Ah shit. It didn’t take long for June’s reign to end — episode 3 sees her back in the hands of Gilead after she was found at the farmhouse — the other Handmaids had managed to get away before the raid. She is shackled to transport — Nick tries to show some soft reassurance as he unlocks her from the vehicle. He tells her that Mrs. Keyes is still in custody, but the other Handmaids are still missing, and they have assumed they’ve moved to another safe house. He tells her he can’t help her if she doesn’t give information on the whereabouts of the Handmaids.

Episode 3 brings a serious situation for June.

The interrogation of June begins

And it gets worse…

Aunt Lydia turns up, and she states she is going to be June’s advocate. June is taking to a prison cell — Lydia doesn’t hold back and slaps her immediately and calls her a wicked woman for taking those children away from their “parents.” Guardians enter the cell and tie her to a metal bed. The lieutenant walks in to ask questions — he immediately asks where the other Handmaids are, but she refuses to answer. Her metal bed is put on an angle, and the lieutenant waterboards her. Outside, Aunt Lydia does not appear too sure of herself, and she sews to calm herself down.

Is Aunt Lydia having doubts about Gilead since the disappearance of the children? She did not seem too keen on the remarks she heard from the men in season 3, episode 1.

Word reaches Canada

In Canada, Luke is made aware that June has been captured. However, he’s told they will not get much more information. Luke heads home, and he lights candles with Moira for June. He wonders if June chose this new life to stay in Gilead. It’s eating him up that he will probably never see her again based on a choice she made. He knows he has to respect it.

June and Aunt Lydia share plenty of words

It gets juicy between June and Lydia in episode 3 — they must have missed each other.

The interrogation continues, and June looks exhausted from the waterboarding. Aunt Lydia tells her that the lieutenant is determined and that’s she’s in grave danger if she doesn’t talk. June tells Lydia that there’s no meaning to this place apart from violence. She explains how under Lydia’s watch, women have been raped and humiliated — “you failed them.” Lydia doesn’t like her words as June tells her it is her fault that the women and girls were let down. As Lydia walks out, June laughs and calls her “Lydia” without the honorifics. June brings up Janine and tells Lydia how she turned on her “in a second.”

June is suffering greatly

The lieutenant walks in and starts the process of ripping off June’s nails. June tells them to stop and says she knows where they are and gives a location — she claims the women will be crossing a border. Later on, June tells Aunt Lydia that she will never tell them where they are, confirming that she lied. She’s dragged away and taken to the roof. Two Marthas are on the edge of the roof, ready to be thrown off the top if she doesn’t speak. One of the Marthas tells June not to say anything. The lieutenant pushes her off the edge, leaving one remaining. June cries with the remaining Martha, and the lieutenant pushes the other one off. She’s then taken back into her cell and shoved into a metal box.

I mean, the ruthlessness was expected in episode 3, but that was tense and extremely tragic.

A dinner with Joseph

If anything, episode 3 shows how fractured Gilead is if one Handmaid has such an influence on powerful people at the top — The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 brings perspective — June has powerful allies, even in the most dangerous of situations.

Joseph tells Nick that they cannot save June. Nick wants her to stay alive and refuses to move on. He tells Joseph that he’s becoming very comfortable in this house and can help him stay here — Nick hints that Joseph owes him.

Listening to the water drops, June sings “Heaven Is a Place on Earth,” bringing us memories of that horrific event where she had to stay in the hospital for months while waiting for a brain-dead Handmaid to give birth. Eventually, June is removed from the metal box, and she is taken to a dining room table — Joseph Lawrence is on the other side of the table, and he tells her to eat. He references how there are 9 Military Commanders who are in the hospital, and 6 are dead after being poisoned. He implies he knows it was her and sounds almost impressed.

Joseph asks her where the Handmaids are and tells her that they will hurt Hannah if she doesn’t say anything. June is dismayed — this changes everything. She wonders if Gilead would hurt a child. Joseph tells her that Gilead cares about power, not children. June tells Joseph to go fuck himself.

A mother/daughter reunion

June is sent to a glass box, and Hannah is inside. When Hannah sees her mother, she’s scared of her and runs to the other side of the box. June reassures her to try to calm her down. She tells Aunt Lydia and the lieutenant where the others are and gives the location of the farmhouse. Aunt Lydia tells June that she has to go, but June doesn’t want to leave. Meanwhile, at the farmhouse, the Handmaids and Marthas stand hand in hand as they are caught.

This was a painful moment for June and will shape her actions for future episodes — her daughter was scared of her in episode 3 — she’s become a villain in Gilead — The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 confirms it.

Reassignments pending

Aunt Lydia updates June and tells her all the women have been captured and are safe. June looks at Lydia and tells her she’s ready for it all to be over (implying that she wants to die). She asks Lydia nicely to kill her. Lydia laughs and states that no Handmaid will be killed because they’ve lost too many children and women. She explains that they will be reassigned to a Magdeline colony and will labor in the fields and become breeders. Lydia’s words get crueler as she states that everything that happens from now on will be her fault. June is clothed and is officially a Handmaid again.

This is truly a sobering moment seeing June back in her uniform.

Romantic reconciliation at the bridge

Driven away, June ends up on a bridge and meets Nick. He tells her that Hannah is back home and safe. He apologizes for doing everything he could do to keep her alive. June explains how Hannah was scared of her and not “them.” Nick comforts her and tells June that Hannah loves her and that he loves her. Before June is picked up in another vehicle, she turns back and kisses Nick passionately. She tells Nick she loves him.

The ending

June is now on a van with the Handmaids she betrayed. The driver decides to go for a toilet break. June has other ideas and eyes up Lydia’s taser. The other Handmaids all talk with their eyes as June throws Lydia to the floor. As she’s about to hit Lydia, the Aunt tells her not to do it, so she gets off her. The Handmaids all run away together, with their hands tied. The driver starts shooting at them and brings a couple of Handmaids down, but then they have to cross a train track. As they cross the track, a few Handmaids are run over by the train; June and Janine are left to fend for themselves, and they continue running. It’s a long supply train, so they have a lot of time to get away.

As the episode ends, June tells the audience that when they were first caught, the Handmaids learned to communicate by lip-reading and eye contact. She lists the Handmaids from her group. These Handmaids are in it together.

Usually praised for its slow-moving tension building, The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 3 decides to move up the gears with an intense interrogation and another brewing escape plan.

Hulu, Weekly TV
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