Episode 9 of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 starts with a sorry. June apologizes to Luke, who reassures her that what happened to Hannah is not her fault. In fact, Luke is dead set on bringing Hannah to Canada. With June’s power following Angel’s Flight, and Luke’s surprisingly thorough investigative work in her absence, the pair decide to use someone new on their side. That person? Lawrence.
Lawrence drives a hard bargain and tells her she can trade ten of the kids from Angel’s Flight in exchange for Hannah. It’s a really tough ordeal, one that June refuses to deal with. She tries to turn him around with kind words, telling Joseph that he’s a good man. Eventually he hangs up, unable to listen any more.
Luke decides on another tact, this one meeting Nick and taking Nichole as a bargaining chip. Knowing that he won’t be able to say no, June agrees to this.
Serena and Fred are showered in gifts, with notes reading that they’re “beacons of hope.” Naomi soon shows up with Warren, wishing her and Fred well. She hands over gifts from Gilead, with Naomi suggesting she can look after Serena’s baby in Gilead. In fact, they’re dead set on her returning and raising this “miracle baby” in the home nation. Serena is not so sure, which is ironic given what she’s done in the past.
Back in Gilead, Aunt Lydia does her best to keep Janine out of the breeding colonies. With all the Aunts sat on one side of a table like Da Vinci’s The Last Supper, Lydia thwarts off the concerns from the other Aunts.
With Esther refusing to eat and captured with the Aunts, Janine manages to convince Lydia to head in and talk to her. It seems to work too, as Janine tells her to stay alive so when things get better she’ll be there to see those changes come into fruition.
It seems to work too, and just like that Esther is indoctrinated into the Gilead ways. Lydia is impressed and realizes how useful Janine could be to them there.
When Fred finds out about Naomi’s meeting, the horrors of Gilead are finally showcased as Serena could well be made a handmaid and even sent off to the colonies too.
Meanwhile, June and Nichole drive to meet Nick at the meeting point. As soon as she hears his voice, she melts. A smile crosses her face as she allows herself to feel. There’s an interesting shot here too, with the sunbeams shining down through the gaps in the clouds making it seem like a heavenly light.
Anyway, the pair head inside to talk in this house full of Christian symbology. It turns out Nick hasn’t stopped trying to help her and he to has collected a whole load of information on Hannah.
She lives in the Westward Territory in Colarado Springs, with several accompanying photos of her. Getting her out is going to be nigh on impossible but Nick is dedicated to June. The pair’s doomed romance continues though, with the pair kissing before Nick holds his daughter. He tells her to try and be happy, as their meeting comes to an end.
June returns home with all the information Nick has gained on Hannah. It’s a success of sorts, as Tuello confirms they have another contact inside Toronto too. That man? Fred Waterford. In exchange for revealing everything, the prosecution will drop all charges against him and allow him to be free.
June is enraged and heads out to confront Tuello, promising to kill him.
The Episode Review
Once again Elisabeth Moss showcases just what a great Director she is. Much like the harrowing third episode of this season, the penultimate chapter of The Handmaid’s Tale is a powerhouse of drama and acting.
While there isn’t a lot of development plot wise, the acting all round is excellent and the teasing bits of iconography and symbolic Christian faith work beautifully to keep the visual flair The Handmaid’s Tale is known for alive and well.
The negotiations continue here too, and now it becomes clear that someone is going to die in the finale. Given the way June went after Tuello at the end with a venomous wrath and anger, it could well be that Waterford is killed, which in turn makes him a martyr of sorts.
We’ve already seen that some fanatics in Canada are seeing them as a “beacon of hope” and this could well push them over the edge.
Either way, this series has been a vast improvement over season 3 and everything here is poised to deliver an emotionally charged and dramatic finale to come.