The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 5), Episode 8: Recap & Ending, Explained

THE HANDMAID’S TALE (SEASON 5) EPISODE 8 Recap Ending Explained (1)

The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 5), Episode 8 Recap and Ending, Explained: Although Judgment Day is two episodes away, the characters’ verdict already begins to take shape and form. Joseph Lawrence buys his way out of limbo by carrying out a project to replace Gilead’s cruelty in the future. Serena Waterford faces hell and becomes a Handmaid for the chance to assist her newborn son. Unlike the other two, June Osborne receives the first sign of redemption after years of uninterrupted suffering, thus ensuring entry into the paradise that long ago had left her outside its gates.


Inside a memory, June Osborne helps Hannah to make pancakes, whereas, in the present, she cooks with her husband and friends. Noticing that The Immigration Center has been calling nonstop, Rita Blue mentions that Serena Waterford has also been trying to get in touch with her and asks June if they have talked. She replies that they have not since that day in the hospital, so Luke Bankole takes the opportunity to question the support his wife provided to the widow in the woods. Filled with rage, Osborne starts arguing that her newborn did not deserve to die in the woods until their discussion is interrupted by a protest outside. As the group reacts with indignation to the people marching against refugees, June warns them it only tends to worsen.

Joseph Lawrence gathers with a few Commanders on an Island called New Bethlehem. Since Gilead’s diplomatic relations with Canada have weakened due to the migration, he proposes to make that place an alternative for citizens who aim to leave the country and reunite with long-lost family and friends. One of the men seems worried about the people’s reaction, to which Lawrence assures him the news would not spread so fast, considering there is no free press. He continues his speech, underlining they must protect the nation’s moral fortitude to the world, so Nick Blaine decides to reiterate his values adding that they are precisely what Warren Putnam lacked. Lawrence then announces he is going to talk to some families in Toronto, so while others disperse, the previous Commander turns back and shows his approval.

Mrs. Waterford stores breast milk in the prison yard when Alanis Wheeler arrives to collect the bottle. The first-time mother thanks her for fostering her son and apologizes for what happened the day she tried to escape, blaming her attitude on the pregnancy. Mrs. Wheeler replies that hormones could make a person crazy, hence she and her husband should be the ones looking for Noah. Despite Serena’s attempt to assure the wife that she is doing fine, the woman punctuates that she does not have the mental toughness to deal with the baby’s issues. Mrs. Waterford, in turn, insinuates that the Wheelers are mistreating him, so Alanis turns Serena’s anger against herself, reinforcing she has emotional issues.

In the next shot, Osborne and her family clean a vandalized sidewalk. Bankole jokingly says that Moira and his wife are good at mopping, thus she mentions they used to scrub blood off the wall in Gilead. The tension that follows this remark is broken as soon as two Canadian protesters shout at them, so Bankole finally takes the chance to ask his partner if they should move to Europe. June responds it would be further from Hannah, then she gets a call from Lawrence, and the scene changes to their meeting.

The Commander begins the conversation by updating Osborne on Gilead’s birth increase before inviting her to participate in his new project, New Bethlehem. According to him, it would be a place without Handmaids where refugees can get amnesty and return to the motherland. Realizing the woman’s disbelief at the news, he goes on to propose she moves there with her family, stressing they could visit Hannah when she becomes head of her own household. Suspicious, June questions the Commander about security, to which he assures her that Nick will take charge of this matter. As she remains silent, Joseph hands the woman a cell phone and leaves, giving her time to come up with a decision.

Back at home, Osborne discusses the offer with her husband. She emphasizes that moving to the island would be a great opportunity to be closer to Hannah, whereas Luke refuses to believe it. Instead of living in a place similar to Gilead, he suggests getting the teenager out of there, though June warns him they do not have any support to devise a rescue plan. Still, the heroin stresses that Lawrence could be an alternative, enumerating the occasions he came through for her as a friend, including the Angels Flight and Fred Waterford’s runt. Bankole, on the other hand, implies that Osborne is forgiving the Commander’s faults as she did with Serena. June takes the opportunity to say she disapproves of what he did to the widow and her baby, ending the conversation by advising him to focus on protecting Hannah.

Joseph meets Mrs. Waterford in prison to tell her that she will be released into Gilead’s custody. She implores him to get Noah back and help her with the Wheelers, but instead, he proposes she returns to their house to showcase an ideal family concept to the nation. Serena immediately refuses it, justifying that the couple is trying to steal her son and make her their Handmaid. Nevertheless, the Commander stands on his point, reassuring her that living with them would be the only way out.

June cherishes a crying Nichole with a song she used to listen to with her firstborn. At that moment, Luke stands at the door jamb without getting noticed. As the memories return for both, scenes of Hannah with their parents alternate with Osborne’s singing until mother and child fall asleep together. The next morning, she bumps into Mark Tuello in the living room, and they soon start discussing Lawrence’s overture. He warns June that if she accepts it, others may believe it is safe and follow her leadership, ruining America for good. She argues that none of that matters since she does not have Hannah, attesting he did not make good use of the information they got in No Man’s Land to find her. The representative finally confesses that Canada is launching a military action, though Osborne finishes the conversation by stating that Lawrence is offering them her daughter, while Tuello is giving them nothing.

On the porch, she asks for Rita’s advice on that dilemma. At first, Blue is reluctant to express her opinion, but in the face of June’s insistence, the former Martha turns out, admitting she would do anything to see her son if there were a world where he is not dead. After that dialogue, Osborne visits Mrs. Waterford to learn more about New Bethlehem. The antagonist explains she does not have a lot of clarity on Gilead’s politics anymore, counting on her opponent’s assistance to build a new life without them. Serena goes on to remember the day June saved her life at the barn and all they have gone through together. However, the heroin does not give in, underlining she will never forgive her rival for the harm she caused. Noticing the widow’s desperation, Osborne advises her to return to the Wheelers and act like a Handmaid, even if deep down, she will be actually planning an act of revenge against them.

In the following sequence, Joseph declines the protagonist’s offer to leave Canada on the condition that Hannah remains single. She gets angry at him in response, recalling the Commander that he was responsible for creating a society where women are constantly abused. Despite acknowledging their pain, Lawrence replies that his theocratic model saved humanity and proceeds to demonstrate how New Bethlehem can be even more successful. As June does not seem to buy his arguments, he begs her to move to the island as a way of helping him fix his past mistakes.

Osborne receives an anonymous package containing a video of Hannah at Wives School and decides to cross the border for her. Luke, on the other hand, attempts to convince his wife to stay home and think of a way to bring Hannah back. Acting on impulse, June accuses him of having done nothing for the last seven years though she immediately apologizes, suggesting that they all go to Gilead together. Bankole points out it would be too risky for Nichole, so Osborne volunteers to travel alone, taking the blame for abandoning their first daughter. In the end, the couple hugs to comfort each other until the scene cuts to a conversation between two Commanders.

THE HANDMAID’S TALE (SEASON 5) EPISODE 8 Recap Ending Explained (1)

Joseph updates Blaine on the progress of New Bethlehem while walking through its settlements. The younger one asks his fellow about June, and he responds she will be there in a couple of years. Lawrence then renews their bond as allies, promising Nick will soon live near both women he loves besides their children. Back to Canada, Moira comes up with the idea of sending Hannah’s video to Mark in the hope he can find the girl’s location by searching for hidden metadata in the file. The Canadian representative gets optimistic about the strategy, pleading with June to wait because they will do whatever they can to keep her in the country.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 5), Episode 8 Ending, Explained:

Mrs. Waterford follows Osborne’s advice and returns to the Wheeles. Once there, Alanis warns the widow she will stick to nursing, adding that Serena is not fit to be a full-fledged mother. She reluctantly agrees before rushing upstairs to see her baby, who was already crying with hunger. Meanwhile, Osborne gets a call from Tuello at the grocery store announcing they managed to find her teenage daughter.

Suddenly, she drops her grocery on the floor and runs down the street to the sound of “Just Like Heaven,” a love ballad sung by The Cure. As June gets home to celebrate the news with Luke and Moira, the moment cuts to a scene where Hannah plants a tree in the school’s garden. The act not only means that things will improve for the protagonists but also symbolizes their deliverance. When the seed of love is planted amid a blizzard, the result in the sunlight could be none other than a flourishing season.


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Nathalie Moreira

A journalist who knows the world through the big screen and debates by the lyrics of cozy songs.