‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: June’s Most Compelling Moments

The Handmaid’s Tale ended its third season in August and fans of the show are anxiously awaiting its return. The riveting TV show on Hulu centers around June, a Handmaid in Gilead, which is a totalitarian society that treats women as property.

Over the course of three seasons, June has grown from a Handmaid to a leader of the rebellion against Gilead. June is arguably one of the most interesting protagonists on TV. These are June’s most compelling moments from The Handmaid’s Tale.

The Handmaid's Tale
Elisabeth Moss plays June in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | JC Olivera/Getty Images

4. June confronts Serena

In the sixth episode of the third season, “Household,” June finally tells Serena what every viewer thought. The episode shows the Waterford family and June in Washington D.C. Fred comes up with the plan to force Canada to turn Nichole back over to Gilead through a series of propaganda videos. Serena supports Fred’s plan despite originally letting Nichole escape.

When it seems like June’s selfless attempts of getting her daughter to safety are about to be futile, she loses it. She calls Serena out on her selfishness and corrupt motives. It’s a moment of catharsis and validation for both June and viewers of The Handmaid’s Tale.

3. June tells Luke about Holly’s real name and parentage

In season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale, June’s husband Luke unofficially adopts June’s daughter, Holly. When he takes Holly in, he believes Holly’s real name is Nichole and that she is the product of rape between Commander Waterford and June. In the fifth episode of season 3, “Unknown Caller,” June manages to sneak a voice recording to Luke

Luke listens to the recording in Canada, and the scene bounces between showing June recording the message and Luke’s reaction. It was one of the standout scenes of the season. June explains to Luke that Nichole’s real name is Holly, and that Holly is not the product of rape. Instead, June fell in love with Nick and made a life for herself in Gilead to survive.

The scene shows the amount of love and respect June still has for her husband. It was no doubt a difficult thing for June to admit, but she respected Luke enough to tell him the truth. It’s a scene of many nuances, as June admits she is not the same person she was before Gilead captured her.

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2. June sacrifices herself in the season 3 finale of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

In season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale, June comes up with the plan to rescue 52 children from Gilead. She is helped by Marthas and other Handmaids and arranges for a plane to take the children to Canada. When the rescue group reaches the airport, guards are standing watch.

June makes the decision to sacrifice herself and distract them. Other women follow her lead, and in a beautiful moment the women work together to distract the guards. To keep anyone from getting hurt, June sacrifices herself again and leads a guard away from the others.

She kills him, but not before being shot herself. As she lays on the ground bleeding, she watches the plane of children fly overhead, accomplishing her mission. June’s fate is left unknown at the end of season 3, and no one knows where she will end up when the fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale begins.

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1. June reunites with Hannah in season 2 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

One of the most heart-wrenching moments of The Handmaid’s Tale occurred in the second season. June is briefly reunited with her daughter, Hannah. At first, Hannah is apprehensive about reconnecting with June. Hannah asks June why she did not try to find her, which noticeably hurts June.

Because June is such a good parent, she buries the hurt she feels and works at gaining Hannah’s trust back. The mother and daughter bond, and when it is time for Hannah to leave she does not want to leave June again. June holds herself together and convinces Hannah to go back to her home, but not before giving her one last hug.

June holds herself together for Hannah’s sake, and does not breakdown until Hannah is out of sight. This scene not only demonstrates June’s skill as a parent, but also her strength in a difficult situation. This makes it June’s most compelling moment of the series to date.