‘The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4: What Happens to Aunt Lydia in Episode 1?

The Handmaid’s Tale is back as of April 28, in which three fresh episodes dropped. In the hit Hulu series, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) is a character you don’t want to get on the wrong side of. She works at the Red Center, and she’s tasked with molding the poor women sent there into docile handmaids to be sexually assaulted by the commanders they are handed over to.

She’s been a formidable and rather terrifying character over the years, and when season 4 picks back up, we see her again. But what happens to Aunt Lydia in episode 1?

Ann Dowd
Ann Dowd | Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu

Aunt Lydia is back in season 4, episode 1 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Fans will recall from the series that June (Elisabeth Moss), the main character, orchestrated the rescuing of numerous children – 86 children, to be exact – in the season 3 finale. They are all safe and sound in Canada after boarding a plane. However, Aunt Lydia, who is supposed to be overseeing the handmaids, is soon questioned in Gilead over the whole thing by The Eyes, the law enforcement of Gilead. June and the other handmaids are still missing as well, as they’ve narrowly escaped.

When we finally see her, it’s been 19 days since the interview started. She has cuts and bruises on her face, so obviously she was abused and tortured while in custody. Aunt Lydia stands before the Council, where she is allowed to go free after her treatment.

She corrects Commander Putnam (Stephen Kunken) with how long she was in custody with the Eyes being “interviewed,” as he said it was two weeks, but it was really 19 days. 

“This Council has concluded that you will not be the subject of further discipline in this matter,” Putnam says.

Lydia thanks them, but another commander says, “This is not an exoneration. Those children were taken by females under your charge.”

Lydia agrees, saying, “I am humbled by your mercy.”

“Your frailties were also considered,” one of the commanders adds.

Lydia is silent for a moment, seeming to be insulted, before adding, “How empathetic of you, sir.” She’s told to “return” to her “good works.”

Aunt Lydia speaks about June to the Council


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But as she’s leaving, a commander says, “Handmaids. Sinful w*****. More trouble than they’re worth.” Lydia can’t help but reply to that.

“Yes sir,” she begins. She then talks about June, insulting her. “More misled then sinful, in this case.” She continues, “They were led astray by a gifted and amoral liar. A Delilah. When she is hanging on the Wall, justice will be done.”

Of course, Lydia is speaking about June, whom she clearly blames for the other handmaids going astray with her. She asks for June to be brought to her once captured.

“She has eluded your soldiers for 19 days,” Lydia continues, raising her voice. “She’s out there planning who knows what kind of atrocities to visit upon our righteous nation. Pray gentleman, find her, and bring her to me. And a frail woman will sleep better at night.”

Aunt Lydia is allowed to go free, but this isn’t the last we’ve seen of her in The Handmaid’s Tale.