‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Recap: Season 4, Episode 3 “The Crossing”

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In the previous episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, June left to coordinate a safe house for the handmaids, but when she returned, she was greeted by Nick along with several guardians who ultimately captured her. In this episode, June is interrogated. The episode also marks Elisabeth Moss’ (June) directorial debut for the show. Read on to find out what happened in “The Crossing.”

The episode kicks off with June, restrained, in a van, where she’s taken to a building to be interrogated. When she arrives, the back doors of the van open with Nick waiting on the other side. He removes the collar chaining June to the van as well as the restraints around her ankles. He tells her that Mrs. Keyes is safe, and the other handmaids are still in the wind. He also says she needs to give him information so he can help her.

Aunt Lydia appears moments later, and she and a few guards bring June to a room with a table that has restraints on each of the corners. Aunt Lydia is furious, and she slaps June hard and yells at her. The guards return and strap June to the table. Another man, a lieutenant, enters. He removes June’s mask and wants to know where the handmaids are, but she refuses to tell him. In response, he gestures for the guards to kneel and recites a small prayer, Aunt Lydia taking this as a cue to leave. When she’s gone, the lieutenant begins to waterboard June. Aunt Lydia waits outside, keeping herself occupied with an embroidery project.

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Meanwhile in Canada, Luke awaits news about June. A woman tells him that June was captured but is still alive — as far as they know. He asks about a trial and then what sentencing would look like, but the woman can’t give him much info. She tells him they may never know. As she leaves, she tells Luke that her grandmother used to bury persimmons for luck. “For what it’s worth.”

After the first round of torture, June is brought to another room. Aunt Lydia comes in and tells June that things can get much worse for her; she needs to bring the handmaids home. June retorts that Gilead isn’t their home, telling Aunt Lydia how she lied to them, using the ways they’ve been brutalized to make her point. She goes on to say that Aunt Lydia failed them, which prompts a stronger reaction. Aunt Lydia calls for the lieutenant, but June continues and says that everything is Aunt Lydia’s fault, using how easily Janine turned on her for the final verbal punch. The lieutenant returns, this time with a rolled pouch of menacing looking tools. He still wants to know where the handmaids are, about to pull off one of June’s fingernails. She stops him, saying that the handmaids are at a library in Vermont. Seemingly satisfied, he leaves. Aunt Lydia gives June a suspicious look but doesn’t respond and follows the lieutenant. When she’s in the clear, we see June’s trademark “got ‘em” expression.

Back in Canada, Luke sits on the front porch with Nichole. Moira places a couple of posters in the car. She lets Luke know she’s heading out, revealing that she’s on her way to a march/vigil for June. Luke asks Moira if June chose this, but Moira says no and defends her. Luke, however, is struggling to come to terms with June staying behind. He becomes overwhelmed and heads back inside.

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Aunt Lydia comes back and tells June she made a poor choice, revealing that she did know June was lying. June responds by saying she will never give the handmaids away. Two guards bring June to the roof where the lieutenant is waiting for her… and so are Beth and Sienna, standing on the ledge of the roof. The lieutenant once again tries to pry information out of June. Beth tells June not to say anything, and the lieutenant pushes her off the ledge. He heads towards June and brings her over to Sienna, allowing Sienna to step down, again trying to gain intel. June takes Sienna’s hands, and they give each other a look (you know, the “oh god this isn’t going to end well, is it?” look). Just as Sienna says “June,” the lieutenant pushes her off the ledge too. He tells June never to lie to him again. As punishment, the guards bring her back inside and lock her in a box just barely big enough to fit her.

At Commander Lawrence’s house, he and Nick talk about June. Nick tells Lawrence that he owes him, and Lawrence says that Nick can’t save June. Nick continues, saying that June changed both of them and Gilead, but Lawrence thinks that Nick needs to let go. Switching topics, Nick brings up another commander who can help Lawrence get June to talk. When Lawrence asks what he means, Nick repeats that Lawrence owes him.

In her box, June quietly sings “Heaven Is A Place on Earth.” The scene switches to Luke sitting with Nichole on the front step, June’s singing as voiceover. Luke carries Nichole over a small flower bed, where they bury a persimmon.

When we return to June, the box unlocks, and she crawls out. The guards enter and place a cloth bag over her head. When they remove it, she’s greeted by Lawrence sitting at a dining table covered with food and joins him. He tells her that nine commanders are hospitalized and six are dead due to some bad liquor at a Jezebels. He then says she needs to tell him where the handmaids are, or Hannah will get hurt. June struggles to understand this, because Gilead only cares about children. But Lawrence contradicts by mentioning they only care about power. June brings up his deal and throws a snide remark at him, prompting him to summon the guards to take her away.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

When they reach the next room, June sees a massive glass box. And inside that box, playing quietly with a doll? Hannah. June approaches her, but Hannah, scared, goes to a far corner. When June is finally able to get as close as she can, the lieutenant shows up. June caves and gives up the real location of the handmaids.

At Morrow Farm, 13 miles west from the Keyes’ house, the other handmaids sleep peacefully. Janine stirs when she hears a dog barking. When a bright light flashes through the window, she wakes everyone up. They huddle together and wait for the inevitable.

Aunt Lydia tells Junes that the handmaids were caught and brought back. June says Aunt Lydia should just end it and kill her, but Aunt Lydia assures June that neither her nor the handmaids will be executed. Instead, they’re being sent to what June calls a breeding colony where they will work in the fields, and when they’re most fertile, their respective commanders and wives will arrive to perform the ceremony and leave. Aunt Lydia then uses June’s own words against her, saying that everything that’s happened – to her, to the handmaids, to the marthas, to Hannah – is June’s fault. Soon, she takes June to get cleaned up, dress her back in the handmaids’ uniform, and send her on her way.


June, escorted by two guards, arrives at the meeting point for the next van, and across the bridge, Nick waits for her. When she reaches him, he lets her know that Hannah is home and safe. He tries to apologize for what he’s done, but June stops him. A moment later, she begins to cry, telling him how Hannah was scared of her but not the others. He tries to comfort her, saying that Hannah loves June, and so does he. The next van arrives, and June begins heading toward it. Instead, she turns and runs back to Nick, and the two kiss and say they love each other before June gets in the van.

The ride with the other handmaids and Aunt Lydia is mostly quiet. June begins making her plotting expression, eyeing Aunt Lydia’s electric prod. As the van stops at a railroad crossing, June subtly signals the other handmaids. The driver gets out to relieve himself, which is June’s cue to grab the electric prod and push it into Aunt Lydia’s throat (who’s just barely holding it back). The other handmaids escape, and Alma urges June to follow, which she eventually does. Aunt Lydia begins screaming for help and for the handmaids to stop running. The driver comes back and begins shooting, killing two of the handmaids. But the train is fast approaching; they’re running out of time. June and Janine make it safely across the tracks, but the remaining handmaids are struck by the train.

The episode ends with a flashback to the early days at the Red Center. It’s night and everyone is in bed. June narrates how they learned to whisper and read lips. As she talks, the women reach their hands out to each other and silently introduce themselves.

“Sarah. Ellie. Brianna. Alma. Janine. Moira. June.”


The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale are streaming now on Hulu. The remainder of the episodes will release weekly every Wednesday. Make sure to check back for our recaps.

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By Julia
Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.
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