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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3 Episode 8: June's antagonizing Ofmatthew alludes to her rising power

With 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 episode 8, we have come to realize the kind of power June holds amid the handmaids and have also seen that she will stop at nothing for vengeance
UPDATED JUL 12, 2019

'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 episode 8 titled 'Unfit' centered around Aunt Lydia and her past, but it also showed us the power June Osborne aka Ofjoseph held among the handmaids. It started with the way the others treated Ofmatthew, the pregnant handmaid who had ratted out June and the Mackenzies' Martha, Frances, for planning something at Fishes and Loaves.

This results in Frances being punished to death, and the Mackenzie family moves away with Agnes (June's daughter Hannah). We saw June's anger burst out to the extent that she attacks Ofmatthew and tries to strangle her.

Handmaids pointing at Ofmatthew to call her shameful in season 3, episode 8 of 'The Handmaid's Tale'. (Source: Hulu)

This episode, however, is all about how her rage simmers underneath the surface. The other handmaids treat Ofmatthew as they would an outcast. It could even be said Ofmatthew was bullied, shamed and mentally tortured to understand that snitching on June is not something you do and live comfortably with.

It begins on a small scale as handmaids whisper behind her back, hinder her path as bullies would and it begins to put Ofmatthew on edge. Then Ofjoseph does something worse. She tells Aunt Lydia that Ofmatthew has second thoughts about the baby that she is pregnant with.

In Gilead, protecting babies is of the highest importance and a handmaid who is unhappy with a baby that she is carrying has committed a crime that equates with murder. This results in other handmaids sitting around Ofmatthew, calling her shameless repeatedly to make her submit to her wrongdoing. Ofmatthew, one of the most trusted handmaids who has borne children before is pushed out of her space. 

That is not all. When Janine approaches June to tell her that Ofmatthew was only doing everything on orders from Aunt Lydia, June is not convinced and she feels that it is important to show Ofmatthew her place.

For instance, in the scene where June stood away from everyone and looked at Ofmatthew squirm, it is clear she is enjoying it all. It can be seen as vengeance, for what Ofmatthew did to her and Frances, but when June, with just a look, convinces Ofmatthew to point a gun at Aunt Lydia in the end, we see how she has transformed. This leads to Ofmatthew getting shot.

A still of handmaids gathered in season 3, episode 8 of 'The Handmaid's Tale'. (Source: Hulu)

June is now fierce and despite her attempts to bring allies to her side failing, with Serena and Fred Waterford joining hands with her unexpectedly, she has found a way to fight the regime. Is this an allusion to how June will gain power through the resistance? We will know more when episode 9 of 'The Handmaid's Tale' season 3 will air July 17 on Hulu.