The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 3 The Crossing Recap

This is going to be an episode. Get caught up before but if the preview photos are any indication this is going to be a rough one. Major trigger warning for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 3 The Crossing.


June got caught. Now she is all tied up and gagged headed into a government building. That mask sure do look familiar. Nick opens the door and whispers to her that if she doesn’t talk he can’t help her. They want to know where the other handmaids are.

Aunt Lydia is there and shits gonna get bad. June is dragged into a room and Lydia yells at her and the guards tie her down on a large table. The inquisitor comes in and he asks her where the handmaids are. She refuses and declares the place devoid of god. They waterboard her. Its a tough scene. 

Luke learns from a state department official that June has been captured but she is alive. The state department person tells her that there is nothing he can do. She then mentions burying a green persimmon in the backyard for luck.

More Torture

Lydia comes in to lecture June after her torture. June is not having it today as she details how Lydia has failed the handmaids. Its time for some more torture. The inquisitor is ready to pull her finger nails out when she admits she knows where they are. In a library in Vermont ready to cross over. The torture is called off. 

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 3 The Crossing

Luke and Moira discuss June’s imprisonment. Luke feels powerless. He thinks June is kind of selfish (I do too and have thought that for a season). 

We learn June made up that shit about the handmaids. Time for some more torture. The lights and atmosphere in these scene are really intense. Music too. She is brought up to the top floor and there are two other women being held on the edge of the building. If June doesn’t tell him where the handmaid’s are he is going to kill them. June doesn’t tell and the two other women are thrown off the side. Yet again rough stuff. They lock her up in a tiny cage in a room (like she has to crawl to get into it).

Nick and Joseph discuss June’s predicament. Joseph tells Nick she is never coming back. Nick can’t move on. Nick tries to strike a deal with him. Not sure on what the angle is here. I tire of both of them. They seem feckless while our girl suffers.

Even More Torture

June sings Heaven is a place on earth while stuck in the handmaid kennel. We get scenes of the baby and Luke in Canada burying that persimmon. 

June is let out of the cage, she crawls out and is hooded and brought to a dinner with Joseph. Its an opulent dinner. He tells her to eat. She starts eating a bowl of soup. He tells her that she has to tell him where the handmaids are. He tells her that they will hurt Hannah if she doesn’t tell. She literally tells him to go fuck himself. He tells her that he had hoped to avoid this. 

More torture. This time it is her daughter in a cage playing with a doll. June scares her. That breaks June’s heart. She tells her its ok. Its distinctly not ok by the way as the inquisitor stands near by. She tells the inquisitor where the handmaids are to protect her daughter. 

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 3 The Crossing Courtesy of Hulu

Now the escape handmaids are sleeping but it sure sounds like Gilead has found them as there is a ton of banging and flashlights. The Handmaids stand proud as they get arrested. 

The Van, The Farm, and The Train

June and Lydia discuss the news that the handmaids were found. June tells Lydia she is ready to die. Lydia tells her she won’t be executed but rather sent with the rest of the handmaids to a breeding colony. Gross. The details seemed murky but not great. 

June is getting hosed down and we see the myriad scars, cuts and bruises. She is then dressed in the red garb of a handmaid by Lydia. She is dropped off on the edge of a farm and oh look its Nick on the far edge of a bridge. He tells her that Hannah is safe. He tells her I love you and she walks past him to get to the truck that has just pulled up. She runs back and they kiss. I mean she was just tortured this seems a bit unrealistic. Plus I think he is kind of gas lighting the shit out of her. 

They are in a big ole van full of handmaids. Lots of red. The van stops at a railroad crossing. The driver says it will be a bit and that he needs to go to the bathroom. Lydia is alone in the van and the girls look hungry for violence. The girls make a run for the train to try and beat it. June and Janine make it. The others die trying. 

June says we slept in a gymnasium and learned to whisper and lip read. Feels like we are saying good bye to the handmaids and the archetype for a little while at least. Its touching and more than a little sad. It is brutal ending to brutal episode.

Where We are Going/Where We Came From

  1. The crossing is clearly a reference to a number of things in this episode. Crossing borders has been a reoccurring theme throughout the series. The crossing of a river to end the second season. The crossing of the Canadian border by the Angel Flight at the end of the third episode. Not all crossings are good however as June is crossing over into a not so likable person. The railroad crossing. Death as a crossing of sorts. Torture being something you cant come back from. It really is an apt metaphor.
  2. The images we see of June being tortured are quite familiar with anyone who grew up in the early oughts and the war on torture. The photos of Abu Ghraib will be burnt into my mind forever.
  3. How many times does June have to escape before Gilead is like fuck it and either let her go or execute her. My suspension of disbelief is wearing thin.
  4. So now June and Janine are on their own. Janine clearly is upset. June is borderline psychotic. It is going to be tough for them to get out. Where are they headed? How will they get there? Where the hell are they?
  5. The show is really brilliant at reestablishing that the timeline of the show is the same timeline we share up until The Gilead revolt. Songs like Heaven is a Place on Earth really hammer that home.