In 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3, Gilead victim Eleanor Lawrence's rapidly deteriorating mental state plays a key role in June's plan
If there wasn't a desperate need to get Eleanor out of her current situation, Commander Lawrence would hardly have risked his life and reputation. Now that he has a clearer picture of what exactly is taking place, Lawrence, with a target on his back, decides to go to with June's plan.
In 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 episode 10 titled 'Witness' the show delves deep into the mental space of Commander Joseph Lawrence's wife Eleanor who is mentally unstable at the moment. Commander Lawrence gets Marthas who are part of the resistance to smuggle in mood stabilizers for his wife, but things have become stricter after Commander Fred Waterford's return to the city.
Without the mood stabilizers, Eleanor is a ticking time bomb and we expected her to burst out any minute and this moment appears when Eleanor learns she will have to preside over the Ceremony that will be held between June and Commander Lawrence.
Initially, when Eleanor is unable to come to terms with what is being asked of her, she lets weeps loudly and is unable to express how caged she feels at the moment in the presence of June and Commander Lawrence. While both of them understand Eleanor's feelings, any such behavior in the presence of Serena Joy, Commander Waterford or Aunt Lydia will have severe consequences.
So both June and Commander Lawrence try to hush Eleanor up and explain to her this is something they must do if they do not want to be killed or if they do not want June to face the wall. Visually speaking, it is clear Eleanor cannot accept what her husband is doing but she also understands this is a question of survival and Gilead is the reality she has to endure.
When Commander Lawrence and June are completing the Ceremony, we see Eleanor sitting in the shadows. This represents everything about her character in the show.
Without the mood stabilizers, Eleanor will be prone to more outbursts in the future and this is exactly what Commander Lawrence and June want to avoid. June's plan to arrange for an escape route for the lost children of Gilead was something she had begun to work on much earlier, but with the prospect of Commander Lawrence helping her procure a truck so as to get his wife out of Gilead, June's impossible plan becomes probable.
If there wasn't a desperate need to get Eleanor out of her current situation, Commander Lawrence would hardly have risked his life and reputation. Now that he has a clearer picture of what is exactly taking place, Lawrence, with a target on his back, decides to go to with June's plan but he wouldn't want to be in the truck.
The only way to get him on the truck would be to further manipulate Eleanor and thereby create a situation where the Commander is forced to step into the getaway truck with the children. While this is a risky move, June has decided to go ahead with it and as long as Commander Lawrence depends on June to arrange for his wife's escape, June's plan has a good chance of working out.
Episode 11 of 'The Handmaid's Tale' will air Wednesday on Hulu.