The fifth episode of The Handmaid’s Tale season three is available to watch now on Hulu! Check out the recap below or turn back now if you’re avoiding spoilers!
Season 3, Episode 5 – Unknown Caller
The start of this episode picks up where episode four left off. The whole town is talking about how Baby Nichole was spotted in Canada with June’s husband. On a trip to the store, Ofmatthew has harsh words for June – referring to Luke as a kidnapper and saying she hopes Nichole is returned home soon. June loses her composure at this and tells Ofmatthew to bite her. Meanwhile, the rest of the handmaids seem happy for June that her baby is safe.
When she returns to the house, June asks Commander Lawrence if Luke is safe now that “they” know where he is and that he has baby Nichole. Commander Lawrence reveals nothing.
Outside a meeting of the Commanders, Rita asks Serena whether she finds comfort in knowing where Baby Nichole is. Commander Waterford invites Serena into the meeting where the men discuss the baby and plot their next move. She sits at their large circular table. She asks to know more about Luke and is brought to tears by the updates on Nichole. After the meeting adjourns, Commander Waterford asks Serena why she is upset. Didn’t she want Nichole to live a happy life in Canada? Serena says she just wishes she were with her.
The Waterfords visit the Lawrence house for a conversation with June. They want to see baby Nichole in Canada – and they want the handmaid to call her husband to arrange the visit. June initially refuses but agrees after Serena begs for her help. June realizes she has little choice in the matter – but wants Serena has to owe her a favor in exchange for the call.
The Eyes set up a timed call for June to quickly arrange the meeting. She and Luke are both crushed by the brief interaction – missing each other terribly. But Luke agrees to allow Baby Nichole to meet Serena at the Toronto airport. He refuses to allow Commander Waterford to join.
After the call, Eleanor Lawrence finds June to debrief. She understands how upset June must be. She talks about missing the man Commander Lawrence once was – a man who made her mixed tapes in college. June reminds her that beneath it all Commander Lawrence still has good in him. Later, she finds the mixed tapes and listens to them on a recorder.
At her mother’s house, Serena bundles up some old pictures and a necklace to give baby Nichole when she says goodbye to the girl. Rita gives Serena a package that is meant for Luke. Neither woman opens it to see what is inside, but Serena takes it with her on the trip.
Commander Waterford walks Serena to the plane, where she is seated with a single Eye as an escort. Mr. Tuello – the diplomat from the American government – meets her at the airport as soon as she lands. She remembers him from her previous trip to Canada, where he offered her refuge in Hawaii. She dismisses the Eye that is escorting her, and Mr. Tuello tells her she’ll need to change clothes and meet Luke in a more public place – the Toronto airport terminal.
She is overcome with emotion when she sees Nichole. Luke dismisses Mr. Tuello – unafraid to meet with Serena alone. He demands to know where June is. Serena tells him about her new posting and gives him Joseph Lawrence’s name. He makes sure she knows he thinks she’s a monster. She begs him to understand that she let Nichole go and protected his wife. Luke agrees to give the girl the necklace Serena brought for her. He lets her hold the baby for a moment.
After she is parted from the baby, Serena has a breakdown. She refuses Mr. Tuello’s offer to escape to Hawaii. But as the plane takes off to carry her back to Gilead, we discover that she has a phone in her purse along with a note that reads, “If you need me”. When Serena lands Commander Waterford is there to greet her, and the old wounds between them seem forgotten. The Commander implies that there is more they can do to help Serena be with Nichole.
At Loaves and Fishes, Ofmatthew apologies to June for her harsh words about Luke and says she is glad the baby and June’s husband are safe. She also reveals that she’s pregnant. Again. (She’s had 3 children before.) June seems to wonder if even this pious woman can be driven to rebellion by the thought of being torn away from another baby.
An Eye finds June in the store and orders her to come with him. She’s escorted into a black van.
Back in Canada, it is revealed that Luke has his tape – and it’s a message from June. She tells him it’s OK to find new love. That her child’s real name is Holly and a driver named Nick is the father. And that she was born out of love. She promises that she is still trying to get to Hannah. And that he must do whatever he can to protect himself.
June’s ride in the black van ends with a greeting from Aunt Lydia, who has her try on a new red dress. She’s taken out on a stage with lights – where Commander and Mrs. Waterford are already positioned on a couch. They’re broadcasted live asking for Nichole to be returned. June is forced to stand behind them quietly, but she stares daggers into the camera.