The season finale begins with a flashback to right after June was captured and separated from Hannah. Women are everywhere – being abused and shoved into vans by guards.
Back in the present day, June is more determined than ever to rescue 52 children. They’ll board a plane tonight, after gathering at Lawrence’s house. June is escorted by a guard on her errands – and other Handmaids discreetly slip bars of soap into her bag. Aunt Lydia notices the attention she is getting from the other women and stops to warn her to cut out the nonsense. June’s next Commander won’t tolerate it.
Back at the house, Beth, June, and Sienna to go about the business of preparing supplies for the children who will be rescued. They bundle care packages of food and June melts down the soap from the other Handmaids to lubricate the doors in the house. Lawrence has called a meeting to draw security away from the house for the night.
As everyone works quickly, June discovers a child and her Martha hiding near the home. It’s too early for them to be there. But June is fearless. She lets them inside.
In Canada, Serena meets with Tuello. She is obligated to testify in front of lots of different people as part of her agreement to see Nichole. Tuello tells her that next week she’ll be allowed opportunities to leave the detention facility unescorted.
June talks with the child, Kiki, who was brought to the house early. The girl is uncertain of what will happen next, but she is brave and ready to leave. Her Martha, Maggie, gets cold feet and tells everyone she is leaving with the child. She plans to tell her mistress the truth in order to gain forgiveness. But Beth knows they can’t let her leave. June runs upstairs to get the gun Lawrence gave her. She threatens Maggie with it, but the woman runs off – leaving the girl. Then, in a daze, June points the gun at Kiki. Beth pulls the girl away, shocked that June would hold her weapon to the child’s head.
Lawrence comes home from his meeting early. He says the Martha and girl were spotted traveling in the daylight. Guards will be searching the houses soon and setting up roadblocks. The child must go home. And, he says, tonight’s plans are canceled.
June isn’t having it. She won’t let the girl go back. She’s ashamed that she almost shot Kiki, but she refuses to let all their efforts be in vain. She tells Lawrence that he’s not in charge. The plan is going forward. He should go find her a map to get past the roadblocks.
Cut to Canada, where Waterford is answering questions about his role in Gilead. He looks rough. When he has a private moment with Tuello, he seizes the opportunity to tell him that he’d like to provide information about Serena’s crimes. Tuello assures him that Serena has immunity, but Waterford insists that the deeds he has to relay will be punishable by law. He’s been studying the detention center’s legal library.
Back in Gilead – Sienna, Beth, and June study Lawrence’s map. They decide that walking through the woods to the airport is the best option since the roads will be blocked. June hears sirens outside, and dogs barking. But it is finally dark. She finds Marthas, Handmaids, and children already waiting near the house. Rita appears with one group and informs June that the Martha who rescued a baby had to kill to do so.
A small group including Rita, June, and Sienna set out to mark the path through the woods to the airport with fabric. The dogs and sirens continue as they move quickly.
In Canada, Tuello has Serena arrested for forcing June to have sex with Nick so she could claim Nichole. Waterford seems to have found his legal loophole. Because Serena did this against the laws of Gilead – she cannot claim immunity for the crime.
When the group arrives back at Lawrence’s house, a large group of children is gathered in the dark. They are listening to Lawrence read them a story. It’s easy to see there are more than 52 kids there.
Janine comes in and warns them that Maggie, the Martha who escaped, was arrested not far from here. The guards are coming – searching door to door. June snaps into action. She sees through the window that the vans are not far. They’ll have to get everyone out now.
In a tender moment before she departs, June and Joseph say goodbye. She tells him he should join them and get out – but he thinks Eleanor would’ve wanted him to stay behind and make things right.
The children and their guardians move quickly through the forest. When they see lights scanning the trees, they duck low to avoid being seen. Finally, they have reached the airport. But there is a truck with guards waiting to stop anyone who goes near the plane.
June urges everyone forward toward the plane, promising that she will create a distraction for the guards. Several Handmaids and Marthas refuse to leave her behind, though. Beth and Janine are among the women who help her throw large stones at the guards and the truck from behind the cover of the trees. In the darkness, the guards are distracted by the attack and fire indiscriminately into the forest. Sienna is shot.
Meanwhile, Rita helps lead the children to safety. The large group quietly exits the woods near the truck, but are not seen by the guards who are engaged in fighting off their attackers.
June breaks off from the rest of the group and runs so that she can further distract the guards. She is chased by a guard and shot in the side, but she still has Lawrence’s gun on her. She threatens the guard with it, telling him to use his radio to give the other guards the all-clear. He does as she commands. Then she shoots him in the head before collapsing on the ground near him. She sees the plane take off overhead.
In Canada – Luke, Emily, and Moira are ready to receive refugees from Gilead. But they aren’t prepared for the number in the plane – and they didn’t know that it would be mostly children. Kiki’s father is one of the people prepared to help the new arrivals. He spots his daughter quickly, and as they reunite we learn that her real name is Rebecca. Many of those on the ground are overcome with emotion. Luke frantically searches the faces coming off the plane for a familiar one – but doesn’t see Hannah. Instead, he is introduced to Rita – and the former Martha tells Luke that June was the person behind the rescue.
As the episode ends, a new day is dawning in Gilead. Alma, Janine, and a group of Handmaids rescue June from the forest floor.
The Handmaid’s Tale has already been renewed for a fourth season! How will Rita and the children of Gilead adjust to their new lives? What will happen to Serena and Waterford? How will June and the Marthas and Handmaids who helped her avoid being hung on the wall? We’ll be tuning in to find out!