The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 has struggled with being able to fill 13 episodes. The opening installments started with a bang, but by the time the series got to Washington, D.C., in Episode 6, things were starting to drag. That's not to say the discourse wasn't interesting, but most of the plots were dead ends. Then, much like Season 2, the action picked back up in Episode 10, as June finally found her calling, to move the "Lost Children of Gilead" to Canada. But even so, no one expected to see June murder a Commander on The Handmaid's Tale. Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 follow.
Last week's catalyst for action was the invasion of the Lawrence household by Commanders Waterford and Winslow. Hoping to press himself forward for promotion, Waterford suggested to Winslow that Lawrence was unable to (ahem) perform his "ceremonial duties" with a Handmaid. Someone whose virility was questionable was obviously unable to lead Gilead.
June stepped up and saved Lawrence's bacon, marshaling the household through their first "Ceremony" in years. She got it done despite his wife's Eleanor's emotional breakdown in the face of having to go through with it. Waterford and Winslow left, frustrated in their efforts to remove the old man. Lawrence promised June he would help her get the children out, as long as his wife escaped, too.
But like everyone in Episode 11 "Liars," Lawrence tried to betray that promise by running with Eleanor to Canada. Unfortunately for him, when he arrived, he learned there were brand new papers one needed to cross, none of which were on file for him. As he observed, this was deliberate. "It was not a clerical error."
With Lawrence no longer able to get vehicles or drivers to get anyone across the border, June moved to Plan B. She met with a black market vendor, Billy, who works out of Jezebels. June didn't manage to get a definite yes out of him, but he didn't say no, either. But before she could press further, she was recognized. Winslow was at the bar, too, and he knew "Ofjoseph" when he saw her.
Unable to escape without arousing suspicion, June lied. She claimed she was there on Lawrence's orders, to describe what she did and with who. "You all have your kinks."
Winslow agreed and, turned on by the idea, demanded they do something for her to tell Lawrence about.
June attempted to go through with it, to leave her body, to get through yet another rape. But her instincts couldn't be overridden. Instead, she attacked Winslow when he tried to touch her. She stabbed him dozens upon dozens of times with a pen before finally taking a statue off the mantle and slamming it into his skull.
Winslow was dead. But instead of being arrested, June went home and told Lawrence everything, just like she promised. The next morning, an entire team of Marthas descended out of nowhere and cleaned it up, disposing of the body and all the evidence. Meanwhile, Lawrence went out and bought a gun. If Gilead hadn't been coming for them before, it was only a matter of time until they did now.