The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11 Review: Liars

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It's not entirely clear who the Liars are on The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11, but there are certainly children at the center of this episode. 

June's determination to save the 52 children is a very forward move for this season. June's been in quiet unrest since deciding to stay in Gilead with bursts of anger.

June Is Drinking Wine in Gilead - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11

"Liars" sees her start to propel forward, in some ways that are, perhaps, a little reckless. 

The thing about June's acts of resistance is that she's had to act alone for most of them.

The handmaids are so heavily watched that she can't really count on anyone other than herself, and that's part of why she has such a problem working within the Marthas network. 

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We witnessed at the end of The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 Episode 13, how the Martha's have been able to work together to create their chains. They are doing something right with the moves they've been able to make so far. 

June should listen to them. Her plan is ambitious and moving so many at once means that someone is sure to notice. 

But, the show needs a plot and what better way to send out it's third outing than a fantastic display like getting all those kids safely into Canada?

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Putting aside the ambitious nature of June's plan, let's take a moment and think about Joseph and June's relationship. 

It's no question that their relationship has changed after the events of The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 10, but that doesn't change the fact that June needs him to survive and to carry out her plan. 

June is Sitting at the Table  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11

Joseph Lawrence is complicated in so many ways. He's one of the creators of Gilead, but he's displaying an Oppenheimer Complex.

He regrets what he created, but he's powerless to stop what he helped put in motion. Yet, his love for Eleanor drives him.

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Whether or not that's enough to redeem him, in the end, remains to be seen.

Now that Lawrence can't get them out, June is in the driver's seat of their relationship, and it's a chance to see a Commander completely trusting a handmaid.

That all comes to a head the morning after the meeting at Jezebel's when hands her the gun and says they'll be coming for them. 

Speaking of Jezebel's, Commander Winslow's time has come to an end, and I, for one, couldn't be happier. 

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Christopher Meloni is a brilliant actor, but the scene with Elisabeth Moss in the room at Jezebel's is very creepy, and I cannot get the picture of him as Eliot Stabler on Law & Order: SVU out of my head. (Talk about a 180.) 

It feels very refreshing to see him get what he deserves, but his last words were particularly striking and spoke to the theme of this episode. 

Commander Lawrence on the Floor - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11

I said at the top of the review that kids were the central focus of this episode. It's not just June and her mission but also Winslow and Serena and Fred as well. 

When Commander Winslow pleads for his life by invoking his children, it presents an interesting subtext.

June is attempting this rescue because she wants to save children. Winslow is pleading because he wants to maintain the status quo. 

It's not to see why that wouldn't work in the scene in Jezebel's, and I can't help but think that there might have been some version of The Trolley Problem going through June's head. 

Commander Winslow has a lot of children, but not more than fifty-two. June is choosing to put those fifty-two first. 

Speaking of children though, Fred and Serena's journey to get Nicole also feels like it's rooted in concern for a child. There's something about how Serena's been acting this season that didn't feel right. 

Rita and Serena Waiting - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11

It all goes back to The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 finale when Fred had her punished for reading.

There's something the audience was able to see in Serena in those moments, and her sudden desire to get Nicole back felt disingenuous. 

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Sitting with this episode, I keep thinking back to what we've seen of Serena before the rise of Gilead. She was an author and a public figure, and not dissimilar to Commander Lawrence, she's partly the architect of Gilead too. 

The trouble with Gilead is that it doesn't work for Serena. It doesn't afford her freedom, and therefore she's frustrated within it.

The birth of Nicole during Season 2 gave her something to fight for, but during her scenes with Fred, as they embark on their road trip, I can't imagine that Serena would want to bring her back. 

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There's no moment more telling than when they're on the deserted road and Fred says that Serena should have a turn driving.

With a top-down and the open road ahead of them she cracks a smile and feels free. 

Driving isn't something that Serena's allowed to do anymore, much like she isn't allowed to read or write. That feeling and those memories are what Serena clings too. 

Commander Waterford is Arrested - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11

Like Commander Lawrence, I am not sure that Serena can be redeemed.

She may have delivered a war criminal to the Canadians, but she does have a hand in Gilead's rise as well. I don't feel like she should get off the hook that easily. 

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By the end of "Liars" two Commanders have gotten what's coming to them.

The last one standing in Gilead that the audience is invested in is Commander Lawrence, and if he departs with the children and Eleanor, the show may find itself running out of Gilead-based story by the end of The Handmaid's Tale Season 4. 

That might be a good thing in the long run.

Gilead is a scary place, but the show works best when it explores life after as well. Having read the book, I know that there is a future after Gilead and that it does fall.

If The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 marks a tipping point, I'd be interested in seeing exactly how far down the hill this story is able to roll. 

June Looks Like a Boss - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11

What did you think of this episode of The Handmaid's Tale?

Are you excited to see June move closer to completing her mission?

Do you think she will accomplish it?

Let us know in the comments below. 

Liars Review

Editor Rating: 4.5 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 4.6 / 5.0 (15 Votes)

Lauren Busser is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 11 Quotes

Eleanor: Will it make it better?
June: Yes.
Eleanor: How do you know it will work?
June: Because it has to. Because all of this has to add up to something. It has to mean something. I need your help, Eleanor. Help me make it mean something.

Fifty-two. Marthas and handmaids are offering to help me get fifty-two kids out. Fifty-two kids, and ten seats. How does that math work? Moira would tell me I need to keep my fucking shit together.