The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 episode 6, titled “Household,” airs tonight at 12 p.m. ET on Hulu. The synopsis for tonight’s episode reads “June makes an important connection as she attempts to protect Nichole while accompanying the Waterfords to Washington D.C., where a powerful family offers a glimpse of the future of Gilead.” (Spoilers ahead, so turn back now if you’re not caught up!)
Tonight’s episode will explore Gilead’s continued efforts to convince the Canadian government that the Waterfords’ kidnapped “daughter” Nicole, and the other babies born in Gilead, belong to Gilead. Viewers will also learn some new, dark information about Nick’s past and get a glimpse of Gilead’s disturbing version of Washington D.C.
This article will explore tonight’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale in detail as we do a live recap while it airs. If you aren’t completely caught up and don’t want anything spoiled for you, this is your OFFICIAL SPOILER WARNING! Turn back now or proceed at your own risk. Otherwise continue reading for details regarding tonight’s episode with LIVE UPDATES throughout the episode’s premiere. Don’t forget to refresh the page every few minutes to keep up with the live spoilers.
We will update this story as soon as the episode airs, so stayed tuned and thanks for reading! The episode airs at 12 p.m. ET on Hulu.
The episode opens with a group of marthas praying in the snow. They’re praying for Nicole’s safe return to the Waterfords, and June is praying for their prayers to not be answered. The scene jumps to Joseph telling June to go pack so Fred can “borrow” her and attempt to “force the Canadians to the table” by “repatriating” their daughter. June asks Joseph not to call Nicole the Waterfords’ daughter before the scene cuts over to June sitting on a train with Aunt Lydia.
An eerie new Washington Monument greets them as they ride into Washington D.C. – the monument has been turned into a giant white cross, looming over the city. June notices a few handmaids riding down an escalator with their mouths covered with a red mask. Aunt Lydia warns June that they don’t tolerate misbehavior in the capitol, so she needs to be a “good girl” and head to her post.
“Blessed are the silent, for only they will hear the voice of the Lord,” an unnamed aunt tells June as she greets her. The Waterfords meet June, and Fred says “all together again, isn’t it nice,” while June tries to make small talk with Serena. Rita quietly tells June that she misses her. June whispers that Serena can’t “really want this,” and Rita says it’s the only thing she’s ever wanted … a baby.
They arrive at the house that they are staying at, which is clearly the home of a very powerful commander. “We have to be judicious about the images we release to the world,” Commander Winslow tells the Waterfords before a huge flock of children (all different ages and races) rush into the room. At least five or six children rush in, which leaves June and Rita speechless and taken off guard.
Rita and June are led to their rooms and Serena begins to unpack in her own. Fred meets her in the room and they discuss how the Canadians might react the following day. Fred gives her back her wedding ring so “everything looks right” for the cameras the next day.
Serena gazes at a picture of Nicole’s baby footprints, and June has a run-in with the silent handmaid of the house. She tries to have a conversation with Ofgeorge (Commander Winslow’s handmaid) who turns around and shows June the most disturbing footage of the season to date – her mouth is sewed shut.
The following day, Fred has all of the handmaids line up and pray while he sets June and Serena up at the front to look like the grieving family they are. Nick walks into the room and Fred greets him – “Hello … Commander.” (Is he a commander now, or just a high ranking officer in the Gilead army?!)
Nick walks up to the June and says “what’s a nice girl like you doing in a place like this,” which makes June smile as he squeezes her hand. The cameras start rolling and June puts her wings back up while Serena hides her deformed finger so the Canadians can’t see how Gilead punishes their wrongdoers.
Serena and June meet in the nursery and have a quiet conversation. June begs Serena to talk to her, and Serena replies “you have to understand that seeing her changed everything for me.” June tries to convince her that just because seeing Nicole changed her, it didn’t change Gilead, and Nicole still deserves better than to be there. Serena tries to convince herself that the children seem happy in the house, and June asks her if she’s seen their handmaid (and her mouth) before Fred interrupts and says the Canadians want to speak to the whole family.
The Canadian/Swiss delegate speaks with Serena and Fred first and then requests to speak to June alone. Fred protests but the Canadian insists. Serena warns her to not be stupid, once again sounding exactly like the abusive, horrible woman she was in the first season.
“I am the child’s mother and I want Nicole to stay in Canada,” June immediately tells the delegates. “I do not expect you to feel sorry for me. I just need to keep Nicole there.” After she informs them that Nicole is not Fred’s baby, they say they already know, but that they are trying to avoid conflict with Gilead at the moment and are discussing their options to avoid war. June convinces them that she has a Commander that will speak to them about what really goes on in Gilead, and makes them promise that if she can get him to talk, they have to keep Nicole in their country.
The scene cuts over to Fred, who is having a conversation with Commander Winslow. Winslow toasts Fred’s successes and offers him a position in D.C. “A man of your talents could be an asset,” he tells Fred, with his hand lingering on his shoulder.
Back in the nursery, Serena has a conversation with Commander Winslow’s wife, who tells her that she loved her book before the war. She tells her how she and Commander Winslow had no time for a family before Gilead overthrew the U.S., and promises Serena she will have a beautiful, big family one day too.
Later on that evening, Nick comes to meet June in the middle of the night, and they share a passionate embrace. June tells Nick about the deal she made and asks him to help her, but he immediately gets upset and tells her that politicians can’t be trusted. She convinces him that this is his “one chance” to be a father to their daughter, and asks “how many of those do you think you’re going to get?” He eventually agrees to help June.
As Nick expected, things don’t go as planned. The Canadian delegates apparently refuse to speak with Nick. June confronts the woman she made the deal with the day before, who tells her that they are going to continue to have discussions with the Waterfords about whether or not they will bring Nicole back to Gilead. She tells June that wouldn’t speak with Nick because he “isn’t to be trusted,” and tells June that she “doesn’t know who he was before this.”
June looks visibly shaken and asks Serena what Nick did before he drove for them. Serena tells June that Nick “served Gilead” as a “soldier in a crusade,” and that Gilead “wouldn’t be here without him,” indicating that Nick probably had a pretty big hand in helping Gilead rise to power. Serena also asks June skeptically “all this time you spent together and he never mentioned anything?”
Aunt Lydia comes to visit June in her room, and brings her a gift – the same red face mask that the silent handmaids wear in D.C. June asks Aunt Lydia quietly if she wants them to all be silenced, and she tells her no. Aunt Lydia tells her that she is tired, and when she is tired she likes to think about the “good” she can still do for the world, and how if she can “help just one soul,” she would be happy. They share an uncommonly tender hug before Aunt Lydia helps her put her face mask on (what a change of pace from the earlier episode where Aunt Lydia was beating Jeanine to a pulp).
The scene cuts over to June walking up to the Lincoln Memorial, which is missing most of Lincoln’s body, before she turns around to see Serena, who tells her how nice it is to see her silent. June tells her that she could “return the favor,” and Serena replies that she and Fred were going to move to D.C. and that they would soon, finally be free of each other. June tells Serena that she will never be free of her, not while her children aren’t safe.
The two get into a heated argument, and June tells her how pathetic it is that she built this entire world just so she could have somebody. “You’re small, you’re cruel and you’re empty.” Both women are crying at this point. Serena replies “I should have put a ring in your mouth the day that we met,” and June replies “I should have let you burn when I had the chance.”
June emotionally leans against what’s left of the Lincoln Memorial and cries while Serena walks away. She walks forward to see the giant Washington Cross in all it’s twisted glory, and looks down as the entire Mall is filled with hundreds and hundreds of handmaids in their red garb.
The cameras start rolling and Serena gazes down in amazement at the women standing before her, and at everything she helped Fred build (because she’s apparently reverted completely back to the abusive, evil woman she was two seasons ago).
Fred starts praying in front of the crowd, and June cries as she drops to her knees, and all of the handmaids follow suit. The scene ends with the camera focused on June’s face, as her eyes reflect the cross of Gilead before her.