The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 3 recap – “Border”

By Adam Lock
Published: September 21, 2022
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The series continues to be masterfully directed, written, and acted, with some stunning performances on display by veteran cast members. We’re five seasons in now, and these characters are still just as engaging, surprising, and relatable as they’ve ever been.

This recap of the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 3, “Border,” contains spoilers. Some plot points are still under embargo and will be updated later today.

ACCESS: the archive for recaps and reviews for The Handmaid’s Tale.

June killed Fred, so Serena retaliated the only way she knew how, hitting June where it hurt. She used Fred’s funeral to broadcast the Gilead way of life to the globe and plastered Hannah’s face across all the news outlets in the process. Now June is aware of Serena’s intentions she wants to fight back herself. “Border” addresses June’s attempts to make contact with Nick and wage war, whilst Serena plans to keep herself relevant in the nation she helped form.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 3 recap

Poor June was just about getting back to some scant form of normality and Serena went and ruined all that progress. June is now fixated on her daughter and is distraught she can’t help rescue her from that torturous land. Moira returns home as soon as she hears the news and with Luke they try to comfort June. Moira mentions a group of women by the border who could help her make contact. June is angered Moira didn’t tell her about this sooner, but as always, she was only trying to protect her friend.

They drive to meet with the head of this resistance, an ex-Martha called Lily, who was part of the trade off with Fred, orchestrated by June last season. She is in awe of June Osborne and reiterates that what she did was something truly extraordinary. Lily endeavors to help June the best she can and directs them to the hidden base. It’s a dangerous life on the edge of no man’s land and the women there carry guns for protection. Lily shows them around the outpost and discusses the long reach of the Mayday scheme.

While June tries to infiltrate Gilead’s borders, Serena is already back in the home country. She meets with Commander MacKenzie, who happens to be the ‘legal’ father of Hannah. They have since renamed Hannah as Agnes MacKenzie, whilst shielding her from any knowledge of June, her real mother. Joseph talks about the positive feedback they have received from the funeral broadcast and tries to build upon this momentum. Nick and his wife Rose are also in attendance at the meeting. Commander MacKenzie quickly moves the conversation onto the topic of June Osborne. They fear for their safety thanks to June’s murderous antics and want to protect their daughter at all costs. Serena agrees with this sentiment, it is clear Gilead wants June dead.

Serena weighs up her options, desperate to reside in Gilead for good. At one point she looks like she is considering remarrying and seems to be aiming her attention towards Joseph. Commander Joseph Lawrence isn’t keen on this idea though and rejects her subtle offer before a meeting with the High Commanders. Here, Serena’s fate has already been decided for her. They want her to be an unofficial global ambassador for the nation. Feeling trapped and with no other leverage to use, she asks for her own staff, a large budget and ample protection going forward. The High Commanders agree and Serena is swiftly dispatched back to Canada.

The ending

June’s plans don’t go according to plan either. Whilst staying at the border, she witnesses the strains of war. The women are sewing messages and items (including arsenic) into clothing, ready to kill the criminals back in Gilead. Eventually she gets her precious phone call with Nick, but it isn’t that useful. Nick talks about having a wife now and his own obligations. He admits that he can’t help June anymore. She asks why Hannah was dressed in purple. Apparently, the color signifies a change in schooling. Hannah will now be trained to become a future wife.

After June’s awful update from Nick, she is informed that Serena is returning to Canada. She makes sure that she intercepts Serena’s vehicle before her nemesis is back in the safety of her detention center suite, hastily heading over for this ambush. June bangs on the window of Serena’s car, threatening the woman, demanding that she never touches Hannah again. Serena looks visibly shaken by this assault. Their long-distance battle wages on some more.

What did you think of the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 3? Comment below. 

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