The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 ended on a sort of a cliffhanger, at least where one character was concerned. Aunt Lydia, the woman whose job it was to keep Gilead's Handmaids in line, was stabbed in the back by Emily and then pushed down the stairs for good measure. Fans were wondering if she would survive to Season 3, but showrunner Bruce Miller told viewers not to worry. Lydia would survive. But her behavior since her return has raised serious questions. Will Aunt Lydia die in The Handmaid's Tale Season 3? Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 follow.
After June's return from putting Nicole on the bus to Canada, her time with the Waterfords didn't last long. Serena Joy, having gone off the deep end, burned the house down. By the end of the premiere, she'd been sent out again though to Commander Lawrence's, the same place Lydia had been stabbed.
It wasn't going to be a comfortable visit when Lydia next came by. However, no one expected Lydia to lash out at June so violently, especially with June so obviously genuine in her concern for the old bat. Grabbing a cattle prod, Lydia jabbed June, screaming obscenities at her in a completely uncontrolled rage. And yet, the sudden outburst was sort of understandable. She and June were at the bottom of the staircase where Lydia had fallen. Perhaps this freakout was a spot of PTSD.
Unfortunately, Episode 4 made it quite clear whatever has happened to Lydia mentally in her post-recovery efforts, this was not a one-time incident. Lydia spent much of the episode sitting with Janine, at the celebration at Naomi Putnam's house. Janine is utterly loyal and genuinely believes Aunt Lydia's punishments are because she loves her. She's as faithful to the cause as one might find.
She was also the Handmaid who carried Naomi's baby to term, and Janine loves that child. She wants desperately to serve. So in a fit of hope, Janine begs the Putnams to let her return, to get her pregnant again, perhaps this time with a boy?
The Putnams have been surprisingly kind to Janine once they understood how emotionally broken she is. But considering everything that happened after the birth of the first child and Janine's postpartum depression, this is not a thing that they could ever allow.
But the Putnams' refusal isn't enough for Lydia, who flies into a psychotic rage Janine would dare request such a thing. She begins violently beating Janine within an inch of her life in front of the entire crowd. It isn't until June throws herself bodily over Janine that Lydia finally stops, only to see a room full of horrified and accusing eyes staring at her. A line has been crossed. Perhaps this is how Lydia treats Handmaids when the Commanders and Wivers aren't looking, but it is never to be done in front of them.
Stunted at the rejection by all, Lydia limps off, suddenly a pariah. How much longer will she be able to hold it together? Will Aunt Lydia be retired and put out to pasture? Or will another Handmaid have to snap and take her down?