This week on The Handmaid’s Tale, Serena is finally having her baby. The circumstances are less than ideal, and it’s up to June to help Serena through the birth. Despite everything the two have gone through, they seem to find some common ground, however fleeting it may be.
Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.
The episode picks up right where last week’s ended as Serena commands June to keep driving. Unfortunately for June, Serena is in labor, and she accidentally shoots the windshield during a contraction. June gets angry, stops the car, and gets out. Serena tries to drive after her, but another contraction causes her to get the car stuck. June goes to check on Serena and realizes what’s happening. She wants to take Serena to a hospital, but Serena doesn’t want to. So, they end up in a barn.
A big contraction hits Serena and June silently revels in Serena’s pain. Guilt quickly takes over and June goes to help. She tells Serena she needs to check her cervix, but when she does, Serena pushes June away, thinking June is going to hurt the baby. Aggravated, again, June storms out. She goes back to the car and gets it unstuck, but she can’t leave Serena. Back in the barn, she helps Serena birth her baby.
Throughout this, flashbacks play out of when June and Serena attended a birthing ceremony in Gilead. As the two watch, both make eye contact and seem to agree that it’s all a little ridiculous. Sadly, the handmaid, Ofclarence, eventually died after a C-section that saved the baby. Aunt Lydia tells the rest of the handmaids that Ofclarence served her purpose, and they all leave. As June walks by a room where the wives are celebrating the baby, June and Serena again make eye contact, and June silently tells Serena that Ofclarence didn’t make it, and Serena offers her silent condolences.
Serena nurses the baby, a boy she names Noah. After June talks a bit about Hannah, Serena asks why June didn’t kill her back at the info center but killed Fred. June admits that she didn’t want to. After a beat, Serena brings up Fred again and wonders if Noah will be like him. June says it will depend on who raises him and what Serena teaches him. A bit later, June checks on them as they sleep. Serena wakes up and June again wants to get them to a hospital. Serena still says no and tells June about the Wheelers. June gets harsher, explaining that there’s no food, no water, and it’s freezing. Serena also has a fever and she and Noah will die. Slowly. Serena thinks for a moment and says that June should take Noah; there’s no future for Serena but there is for June. Serena even uses biblical metaphors to try and drive her point home, believing she was only just a vessel for Noah.
“God’s will. A vessel. That’s what you thought I was. What we were. Who we were. Where we came from. What we wanted. None of that mattered to you, to any of you…I don’t care that you’re sorry. We mattered. We were – we are people. We have lives, and that’s why I’m gonna save yours, Serena. Because this isn’t Gilead. And I am not you.”June
Serena says she doesn’t deserve to be saved, but June isn’t doing it for her. This is for Noah, who belongs with his mother, with Serena.
June and Serena get to the hospital, and once Serena and Noah are tended to, June goes to check on Serena. She’s feeling a little anxious about Noah, who’s in the NICU, and the general hospital environment. June does her best to offer some comfort. When she gets ready to leave, Serena reaches out a hand and thanks June. June takes it and says “you’re welcome” before heading back to the waiting area. She sees Luke waiting for her. He tells her that Tuello got the USB, and she tells him about Noah and that Serena is fine. Three men arrive for Serena, and it turns out they are with Canadian Immigration. Serena is being detained and Noah is currently with CPS. June is confused and learns that Luke called them. As Serena screams and begs for Noah, June seems genuinely upset, but Luke thinks Serena is finally getting her comeuppance.