After 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 3 Ep. 12, Lawrence Is June's Biggest Threat

What does he know?

June has unraveled in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3. She no longer has the same level of fear she did in Season 1, and with everything she’s experienced, her level of cruelty is no longer surprising. Like Fred Waterford told Luke in Season 3, Episode 12, Gilead has transformed June into a new person, and while she and Commander Lawrence have had a mutually beneficial relationship thus far, June letting Eleanor die in Episode 12, “Sacrifice,” might change that dynamic. If the end of the episode is any indication, Lawrence might already suspect June’s involvement.

“Sacrifice” continued the trend of showcasing June at her most desperate. Though she’s definitely more in control of things than in previous seasons, June’s drastic actions exemplify the dire situation within Gilead. With the plan to take 52 children across the border to Canada and the Marthas, Eleanor, and the reluctant Commander Lawrence on her side, things were finally looking up.

Thrilled about the plan, Eleanor struggled to keep the secret throughout the episode, almost letting the details of the plan slip while speaking with Commander Winslow’s widow. The consequences, of course, would’ve been dire. June made that very clear to Eleanor as she angrily held her against the wall. Lawrence had already made a comment regarding June’s behavior and he was now witnessing firsthand. 

The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 episode 12
June and Commander Lawrence had a strange, but mutually beneficial relationship.

After finding an overdosed and unresponsive Eleanor, June doesn’t make any attempts to call for help. Instead, she walks out of the room, careful not to be seen. Clearly, June values the lives of the children she’s rescuing over the wife of her commander and Eleanor had unfortunately proven herself a liability. While Eleanor had personally been kind to June, Mrs. Lawrence’s bipolar disorder had become harder to manage after Gilead’s change in policy prevented her from receiving the medication she needed. And June took drastic measures to ensure secrecy.

So, where does Commander Lawrence come in? Well, wracked with guilt at Eleanor’s service, he admits to June that he could’ve checked in on his wife. The Handmaid says that she could’ve done the same. Something in June’s words or expression must’ve given her away because Lawrence, doesn’t look convinced. In fact, there’s a heavy pause as he studies June afterward. later, he gives June the same suspicious look when she tries to comfort him. Did June give herself away? Does Lawrence think June killed his wife?

The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 12 Lawrence
Commander Lawrence seems suspicious of June at the end of Episode 12.

It’s possible, especially after having seen what she’s capable of. June’s lived with Lawrence long enough for him to understand how willing she is to do whatever it takes if it means the success of her plan. After witnessing her manhandle his wife in the hallway, Lawrence will certainly draw his own conclusions about what really happened. And since the good guys rarely get a win on The Handmaid’s Tale, Lawrence’s realizations might put a wrench in June’s plans and her safety at risk. Additionally, she’ll be losing a source of tremendous power if he reacts badly (and he might). Either way, we can expect Lawrence to at least confront June about what happened and all we can do now is hold our breaths and wait for the best.


The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 airs Wednesdays on Hulu.

Media via Hulu, Hulu/YouTube