The 7 things you may have missed in The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 6, Household.


Warning: This article contains MANY spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale season three, episode six, Household. If you’re not caught up yet, bookmark us and come back once you’re ready to properly debrief. Ready? Let’s go!

Other than a few short trips to Canada and the colonies, The Handmaid’s Tale has spent its time in Boston, Massachusetts.

Gilead’s Boston was bad enough, with its ritualised rape, cruel punishments, child brides and ‘the wall’.

We’d heard about other parts of what was once the United States: Mid-western states were now radioactive, known collectively as ‘the colonies’. We knew there was war waging in Chicago, and that states like Texas and Florida were held by anti-Gilead forces.

But in season 3, episode 6, we first stepped foot into Washington DC, the capital, and it’s so. much. worse.

What we discovered in DC makes for one of, if not the most horrifying episode of the series so far. I mean, if even Aunt Lydia thinks it’s f*cked…

DC is the Gilead we’re used to on steroids.

When Aunt Lydia and June see handmaids at the train station with a red muzzle added to their usual red robes, we immediately feel discomfort. Then June is told to go to her ‘spot’ – a literal red dot on the ground, where handmaids must kneel and wait to be collected.

The first sense of true horror comes when we meet the Winslows and their large family of six children, many older than the state of Gilead:


“Are they all yours?” Serena asks, with a look of awe and a hint of jealously.

“Who else’s would they be?” Olivia Winslow replies.

Six stolen children. Six mothers without their child. And still, the Winslows have a handmaid to create more.

Then, moments later, when we discover why DC’s handmaids wear the red muzzle – well, it’s a sucker punch unlike anything we’d felt in a while.

“Blessed be the meek”, a favourite quote of Aunt Lydia, has been escalated to “blessed be the silent” in the most horrific of ways.

These women have their mouths wired shut. They are now literally just walking incubators: No reading, no writing, no talking.

If Gilead’s Washington DC had your head spinning, here are some things you may have missed from The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 episode 6, Household.

The destruction of the Lincoln memorial is highly symbolic.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3 episode 6
Ain't no freedom here.

We first know we're in DC when June looks out the train window to see the Washington Monument turned into a cross. This in itself is chilling, but seeing another damaged landmark later in the episode really shows that what the US once stood for is no more.

The episode lingers on June staring up at the destroyed Lincoln Memorial for a large chunk of time, both before and after the fight with Serena. And there's an important reason for it.

The memorial, built to commemorate Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States, is one of Washington DC's most famous landmarks.

Lincoln was president during the American Civil War: He's best remembered as the leader who abolished slavery.

So it's striking to see the destroyed statue of the man who ended slavery, with June - a slave - at its feet.


There's been no attempt to fix, or even completely remove, the broken statue. The message is clear: Freedom is dead.

Even the escalators are segregated.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3 episode 6
In Gilead, all escalator etiquette has gone out the window. SINGLE FILE, GUYS.

When they arrive in DC, Fred and Serena get on separate escalators.

The escalator for women does  not distinguish between handmaids, Marthas and wives... They all ride on the same ones.


It's a far cry from Serena telling the Canadians she spoke for Commander Fred in his absence. In public, in DC, she is seen as no better than the other women.

Fred, stop being weird.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3 episode 6
Fred, why did you say that?

After the Waterford household picks up June from her red spot in the middle of the train station - literally like a parent picking up a child from kindergarten - Fred says something so bizarre we had to go back a few seconds and hear it again.


"We're off like a herd of dusty turtles."

Fred... WTF.

Obsessive Googling has not helped us figure out what this means, but good God he better not be insinuating this urban dictionary definition.

June's tape for Luke may come back to haunt her.

The Swiss know Nick is Nichole's father thanks to the tape June made for Luke last episode.

This means Luke shared it with Canadian authorities - the Swiss are acting as a neutral intermediary, remember.

If Gilead gets wind of this, it will put June and Nick in serious danger from the powers that be. Not only have they broken Gilead's rules by sleeping together, but the revelation would seriously embarrass the Waterfords - who would no doubt set out for revenge.

Something isn't right with Nick and the Swiss.

The neutral Swiss claim they couldn't trust Nick after meeting with him, because he was a major player in the war that overthrew of the United States and established Gilead. But if that was the case, wouldn't they have known that before the meeting? They tell June they already knew who he was, so it seems weird that they wouldn't have been aware of this part of his past.

Maybe this was just a weird way to drop the bomb that Nick was not the nice guy June thought he was, but it also could point to a theory we sincerely hope is legit.

The theory is that Nick has actually joined rebel forces against Gilead after his deployment to Chicago, perhaps even becoming a spy for them.


He could also be acting as an informant for the Swiss and they - quite rightly - are trusting absolutely no one, especially June, with that info.

Nick as a spy also makes sense when you look back at his brief relationship with Eden (RIP). If he was such a staunch believer in the Gilead cause, he probably wouldn't have hesitated to sleep with her.

Commander George gave off, uh... some serious DTF vibes.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3 episode 6

OKAY so we thought this was 1000% obvious, but according to the internet, some people didn't pick up on the ~cues~ Commander George Winslow was putting down while playing pool with Fred.

The bending over in front of him... The shoulder grab that went on a little too long...

And Fred 100% knew it. We wonder how far he'll go for that Washington posting.

June is not exactly the poster girl Fred wants her to be.

Does anyone realise all these videos designed to get Nichole back are... weird?

The Waterford's put June on camera multiple times, and each time it seemed risky.

Last week, June's face was clearly one of disgust and anger during the first televised plea for Nichole, and the Waterford's decision to have her lead the prayer of all the other handmaids from the steps of the Lincoln Memorial was handing her power.

Did you see Commander Waterford's face when June hesitated to kneel? He was nervous.

Of course, when she did kneel the handmaids followed. We've moved on from the season's earlier focus on the resistance but this... Well, it seems to foreshadow a June-led revolt.

It harks back to season one: "They shouldn't have given us uniforms if they didn't want us to be an army."

Via la revolution (maybe... hopefully... please).

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