Season 3 Episode 11 of The Handmaid's Tale was one of the most tension-filled of the entire season. After the series cooled its heels for weeks on the subject of Baby Nichole and whether or not the Waterfords would get custody, Serena Joy took matters into her own hands. She used the phone American Mark Tuello gave her to arrange a meeting. Obviously, she had decided the best way to get to Nichole was through backchannels. But it wasn't until The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Episode 12 promo that the full extent of her plan became clear. Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 follow.
Serena Joy's plan, from the beginning of the episode, seemed to be a clandestine meeting with Tuello somewhere close to the Canadian border. No one said how she planned to use him to get Nichole back. But her husband, Fred, seemed utterly assured that whatever it was, it would work. And if Serena Joy seemed nervous on the drive, well, that's understandable. The Gilead government might not approve of their methods, and the Canadian government probably wouldn't appreciate her kidnapping a child.
But that wasn't why Serena Joy was nervous. Her nerves were due to the trade she was making. One husband in exchange for one child. Fred never even saw it coming. Worse, he kept yelling at everyone not to hurt his wife, not understanding she was the reason he was he was being arrested.
The promo for next week promises that Waterford will learn the truth of Serena Joy's betrayal in an episode entitled "Sacrifice."
The synopsis for Episode 12 reads:
A major change rocks the entire Lawrence household. Luke and Moira adjust to new arrivals in Canada.
The second line is talking about the scene above. Serena Joy planned to hand over her husband to the Canadian government in exchange for access, if not custody, of Nichole. Considering her actions, Serena Joy will probably not be returning to Gilead, either.
If the baby will not come to Serena, then Serena must go to the baby. Intellectually, she knows that Gilead is too dangerous for the child to grow up in anyway. Such irony that Serena, the woman who helped dream up Gilead, has escaped, while June continues to struggle within.
Speaking of June, this week saw a remarkable turn for her, both with Commander Lawrence and with the Marthas. Watching the team of Marthas come in and clean up after June's murder of Commander Winslow was a remarkable sequence. Clearly, the Marthas are not just in charge of the underground, but the overground, too. If they don't want June arrested for murder, they make the body disappear. Thank heavens this time they decided this was the case.
As for Lawrence, apparently, June wasn't kidding when she told Winslow she goes home and tells her Commander everything that happens at Jezebel's. After Gilead blocked his attempt to get his wife to Canada, Lawrence was already fatalistic on how much longer he had until the government came for him. Now with Winslow dead and June responsible, it's only a matter of time until they do.