‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: 17 Important Episodes You Should Watch Ahead of Season 5 Premiere

If you want to be in the know ahead of season 5 but don’t have time to rewatch every episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, we’ve got you. These 17 episodes from seasons 1 through 4 of the Hulu series will clue you in to what’s going on in June Osborne’s (Elisabeth Moss) world before new episodes come out in September 2022.  

June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) in a promo image for the Hulu series 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Elisabeth Moss as June Osborne | Robert Ascroft/Hulu

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ returns to Hulu with Season 5 on Sept. 14

The show’s fifth season will premiere on Hulu on Sept. 14. According to TVLine, the new season’s official logline is:

“June faces consequences for killing Commander Waterford while struggling to redefine her identity and purpose. The widowed Serena attempts to raise her profile in Toronto as Gilead’s influence creeps into Canada. Commander Lawrence works with Aunt Lydia as he tries to reform Gilead and rise in power. June, Luke and Moira fight Gilead from a distance as they continue their mission to save and reunite with Hannah.”

Must-see episodes from season 1 ahead of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5

There are four important episodes from The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1 you should be familiar with before season 5 drops. Season 1 Episode 1 “Offred” covers how June Osborne became Offred, a handmaid for a powerful commander in the dystopian world of Gilead. 

Season 1 Episode 5, “Faithful,” is a pivotal episode from the debut season covering Serena Joy’s (Yvonne Strahovski) desperate proposition that changes everything. Episode 6, “A Woman’s Place,” shows Gilead being glorified to visiting world leaders while we learn more about Serena’s role in Gilead’s humble beginnings. 

Finally, episode 10 of season 1 is a must-watch ahead of season 5. In one of The Handmaid’s Tale’s most emotional episodes, Serena confronts Offred and Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) while June’s best friend Moira (Samira Wiley) has a breakthrough. Meanwhile, the handmaids unite against Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd). 

Four important episodes from season 2

Before tuning in to watch season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale, make sure you’ve seen the season 2 premiere, “June.” In the episode, Offred faces the consequences of her actions. 

Similarly, you should watch season 2 episode 4, “Other Women,” an episode where Offred remembers the choices that led her to becoming a handmaid. Episodes 10 and 12 from season 2, “The Last Ceremony” and “The Word,” are also important. “The Last Ceremony” covers the power struggle between the Waterfords and Offred. “The Word” shows Serena finally seeing eye-to-eye with her handmaid. 

Must-see episodes from season 3 before ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5 release 

Season 3 also contains four important episodes you should watch ahead of season 5. They include: 

  • “Night” (Episode 1): June goes to new lengths to reunite with Hannah (Jordana Blake) while Emily (Alexis Bledel) and June’s Gilead daughter Nichole complete a miraculous journey. 
  • “Unknown Caller” (Episode 5): Word spreads of Nichole’s arrival to Canada and June finds herself in the back of a van, leading to a pivotal incident.  
  • “Liars” (Episode 11): The Waterfords embark on a devious road trip and a return to Jezebels jeopardizes the resistance.
  • “Mayday” (Episode 13): Tensions rise as June’s efforts come to a head. Canada welcomes Gilead fugitives, but June makes a drastic decision. 

Must-watch episodes from season 4 

Season 4 is perhaps the most important season of The Handmaid’s Tale leading into season 5. Before you stream new episodes, make sure you’ve watched the following five episodes from season 4: 

  • “Nightshade” (Episode 2): While being held captive, the Waterfords receive impossible news.
  • “Vows” (Episode 6): June wakes up in the aftermath of a bombing in Chicago to a familiar face. 
  • “Home” (Episode 7): June is face-to-face with Serena for the first time outside of Gilead. 
  • “Progress” (Episode 9): Nick, June, and Nichole are reunited while search continues for Hannah.
  • “The Wilderness” (Episode 10): June gets sweet revenge.

What’s going to happen to June now that she has the Commander’s blood on her hands? You’ll have to wait for season 5 to find out. 

Catch up on episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu. Watch season 5 beginning on Sept. 14, 2022. 

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