The Handmaid's Tale is finally back for season four on Hulu in the US, and is (hopefully) soon to follow on Channel 4 in the UK. So what has happened so far, and where did season three leave off? Here's everything you need to know about the story so far...
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The story follows June Osbourne, a young woman who finds herself trapped in Gilead, a totalitarian country that was once the US, but has since become a theonomic place after birth rates drastically slowed and religious zealots took power in a military coup.
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In Gilead, women able to bear children are forced to serve as 'handmaids' to wealthy members of the new society in order to give them children, with June being renamed as 'Offred' after the commander of her household, Fred Waterford.
Told in flashbacks, it is revealed that June has a husband, Luke, and a daughter, Hannah. While Luke managed to escape to Canada, June and Hannah were caught and separated, with Hannah being given to a wealthy Gilead couple. June's friend Moira also managed to escape to Canada after serving as a prostitute at 'Jezebels'.
Serena Waterford in season three
In season one, June struggles with her life at the Waterfords, feeling a keen hatred towards Fred's wife, Serena Joy, who is desperate for a baby and is regularly cruel to the staff of the house, which includes the housekeeper, Rita. June strikes up an illegal relationship with the Waterfords' driver Nick, while also winning over Fred despite her secret loathing of him.
June finds small acts of rebellion thanks to her friend Emily, a fellow handmaid who has been separated from her wife and son. Working with the resistance, June becomes in possession of a bundle of letters from handmaids trapped in Gilead begging for help.
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June finally gets pregnant, the baby being Nick's, and gives birth to Nicole, who she secretly names Holly. After the Waterfords take the baby, she is then given to Commander Lawrence, the architect of Gilead who has become horrified by what he has created.
Luke escaped to Canada in season one
Meanwhile, the Waterfords visit Canada for trade talks. They are accompanied by Nick, who finds June's husband Luke and gives him the bundle of letters. Luke releases the letters, which horrifies Canada's population and shuts down trade talks between the two countries.
June in a season four sneak peek
Commander Lawrence manages to arrange both June and Emily's escape from Gilead, along with baby Nicole - who Serena has allowed to leave after seeing the brutality of the country firsthand. However, June decides not to leave, determined that she can't leave the country without Hannah. Emily makes it to Canada with the baby and reunites with her wife and son.
In Gilead, June works with Commander Lawrence to help dozens of children escape Gilead, and arranges a plane to collect them all. The plane makes it safely to Canada, but June is shot while attempting to get them out. Meanwhile, Fred and Serena Waterford are both arrested and held in custody in Canada.
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