The 8 things you may have missed in The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8, Unfit.


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


The image of Aunt Lydia sucking face has been permanently burned into my retinas and it is not okay.

Episode eight of The Handmaid’s Tale season three was a lot to take in. We watched The Handmaid’s Tales version of Mean Girls, got way too intimate with Aunt Lydia, saw Janine become a punching bag for approximately the 956th time and… that ending.

Just in case you feel the need to see Aunt Lydia’s karaoke again. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ Post continues below video.

Video via Hulu

While achieving more than episode seven’s 45 minutes of nothing, the season continues to stutter. We waited so long for an Aunt Lydia flashback and it turns out she’s a horrible, abusive slave trader because… a man rejected her? Ugh.

That karaoke scene was great, though.


The ending of Ofmatthew being shot inside Loaves and Fishes, leaving behind a trail of blood and a very dented can after beating Janine, killing a guard and pointing a gun at a smiling June (who may or may not have gone full mad queen Daenerys) and a panicked Aunt Lydia was a surprise we didn’t see coming, but… what was the point?

At least it was a major cliffhanger. Will Ofmatthew die? What about her baby? Will the rest of the handmaids be punished for her outburst? IS JANINE OKAY?


While we tap our fingers impatiently waiting for answers, here are a few things you may have missed from season three, episode eight, Unfit.

The meaning of Aunt Lydia’s full name is… not okay.

Before she was Aunt Lydia, she was primary teacher Ms Lydia Clements.

Clements, huh.

Clements is derived from Clement, which in Latin means a mild or merciful individual.

Mamamia recaps The Handmaid’s Tale season 3, episode 8. Post continues below audio.

That’s basically the exact opposite of the Aunt Lydia we know, but it’s probably close to how she views herself.

There’s a reason that was a can of lobster.

…This will shake you to your core.

In the final scene, we see Ofmatthew cradling a can of lobster as she watches June and Aunt Lydia speak. It’s not explicit, but when June notices Ofmatthew staring and smiles, it’s like she wanted Ofmatthew to think they were talking about her to further torment her.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8
We see you, Ofmatthew.

Ofmatthew snaps when (poor, sweet) Janine approaches to check on her welfare, bashing her with the can multiple times.

We already know Ofmatthew was feeling uneasy about her pregnancy. She believed the baby was a girl and was worried about her future in Gilead, and there was that whole "crybaby, crybaby, crybaby" thing after she admitted she'd thought for a moment about not wanting the child.

With this in mind, the choice of a lobster can seems deliberate. Pregnant women should avoid raw seafood, which can contain harmful parasites and bacteria that can harm a developing child and result in defects or miscarriage.

Was Ofmatthew trying to end her pregnancy?

The symbolism of Aunt Lydia's hair, house and clothing.

Let's not speak about that moment on the couch.

Besides the trauma of seeing... that, the flashbacks to Aunt Lydia's pre-Gilead life did have some very clever symbolism.


Her hair.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8

How weird was it seeing Aunt Lydia with her hair down? She looked so much... softer. Throughout the first few flashback scenes, her hair is left loose but after she was rejected by Principal Jim and makes the decision to report Noelle to the authorities and have her child taken away, her hair is up. She looks like the Aunt Lydia we know.


Her house.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8
So red.

Those walls are very red.

Her clothing. 

Look, she's not out here wearing neon pink or anything, but pre-rejection Aunt Lydia's fashion choices are a little more lively: white, blue and that sequin jacket.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8

When she's speaking to the authorities - and being confronted by Noelle afterwards - Lydia's outfit is more muted. In fact, her cardigan is very close in colour to her green aunt uniform. Did you also catch the colour of Noelle's scarf in that scene? Handmaid red.

Aunt Lydia is a skilled manipulator.

Offred. Ofjoseph. Ofmatthew. Ofandy. Ofeveryone else.

Handmaids are stripped of their identities and given new ones, which is solely focused on their role to bear children for the men that own them.


Aunt Lydia will rarely acknowledge their past names - unless she really needs to.

As Ofmatthew points a gun at her, Aunt Lydia shouts "Natalie!" It's the first time we've heard Ofmatthew's name and the first time in a while Aunt Lydia has referred to a handmaid by anything other than her commander's name.

But it's not the first time she's done it: When in danger, or when needing to 'snap a handmaid back to reality' Aunt Lydia will call them by their real name.

Aunt Lydia often called Janine, well, Janine instead of by her commander's name - probably because of Janine's fragile mental health, making it harder for her to compartmentalise her 'identities'.

Using a person's name is also one of the most important tricks of persuasion. She knows what she's doing.

The rules don't apply to aunts.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8
Cheers to ruining lives!

Aunt Lydia has previously acknowledged aunts have special rules that allow them to read and write, unlike other women in Gilead, but watching her and two other aunts sit around (a Lazy Susan!) as they assign handmaids to families and... gossip, they pour themselves glasses of liquid that definitely isn't good old H2o.

Was Ryan Aunt Lydia's nephew?

Cast your mind back to season two, episode nine, Smart Power. Aunt Lydia disclosed she felt guilty about the death of a nephew (which she hastily explained as "not my fault"). Hmm.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8
Sweet, innocent Ryan. :(

In the flashback of Lydia spending Christmas with Noelle and Ryan, he refers to her as "Aunt Lydia".

Could it be, that when she told authorities to put him into foster care, it inadvertently caused his death?

Gilead... does not really care about children.

Firstly, we will never get over the word 'birthmobile'.

Secondly, children are supposed to be the most "precious gift" in Gilead. Handmaids only exist to have them.

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8

But yet... when an umbilical cord wraps around a baby's neck during birth - a pretty common problem that can often be remedied by a doctor or midwife - the aunt doesn't even attempt to help or resuscitate her.

If healthy babies are such a miracle, why does Gilead not go to every length to ensure they are delivered safely? We know handmaids receive ultrasounds and medical attention from trained doctors during pregnancy, so why can't that extend to the delivery and post-birth period too?

The fact they just shake their heads and shrug when a baby who could've been saved with adequate medical treatment doesn't make it is so counterproductive to their beliefs it's unbelievable.


Shout out to the cinematography of this episode, which was bloody outstanding.

The overhead shot of the handmaids hugging Ofandy after her baby died was beautiful, and only with a second look did I notice they had all formed into the shape of a heart!!

The Handmaid's Tale season 3, episode 8
Definitely a heart.

The final scene, with the camera perspective of under Ofmatthew's wings was also so freaking good.

The promo for next week's episode shows Janine calling June out, telling her it's all about her now and she's different. Fingers crossed that gets through to her, so she can sort her shit out and we can get back to trying to take down this damn regime.

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