The Handmaid’s Story’s Yvonne Strahovski on What’s Subsequent For Serena

Spoilers for season four episode 10 of The Handmaid’s Story, “The Wilderness,” under.

In a jaw-dropping season four finale, one among The Handmaid’s Story’s most distinguished villains will get his long-overdue comeuppance. It’s been apparent for some time now that Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) wasn’t lengthy for the world; in contrast to his spouse Serena Pleasure (Yvonne Strahovski), he didn’t have a lot of a strategic mind, as an alternative seeming to assume he may stroll into a snug post-Gilead life in Canada regardless of his warfare crimes. However he learns a deadly lesson within the closing moments of the season, as ally after ally (Mark Tuello, Commander Lawrence, and even Nick) betray him to June (Elisabeth Moss). As Fred begs for mercy, June leads a pack of ex-Handmaids in a Salvaging towards the disgraced Commander. After hanging him on “the Wall,” she mails Serena his marriage ceremony ring—and one among his fingers.

With Fred out of the image, Serena’s future seems to be extra unsure than ever. She will’t return to Gilead after Fred betrayed the regime, and, as she famous in a latest episode, with out the privilege conferred by being a Commander’s spouse, she may turn out to be a Handmaid. However staying in Canada can be perilous, with June now on the vengeful warpath and Serena’s child due any day.

“The information that June was the one who ripped [Fred] aside, that’s the scary half for Serena,” Strahovski tells ELLE.com. “That’s the largest risk. And if she goes out into the true world and will get launched, particularly if she will get to maintain her child, that’s the half that can always have her dwelling in worry. To Serena, June is able to something, together with ripping Serena or her child to shreds.”

Beneath, Strahovski digs into the influence of Fred’s loss of life, what Serena’s subsequent calculated transfer might be, and the complicated relationship and uncomfortable parallels between June and Serena.

I am getting the sense that everyone concerned within the present is simply thrilled to see Fred go, together with Joseph. Is that the way you felt whenever you heard this was going to occur?

It was, however truthfully, my jaw was on the ground once I learn it. I’m barely biased as a result of I’ve spent a lot time with Joe, and he’s the nicest man ever. I imply, our households know one another! So it was additionally unhappy for me to be studying it, simply as a buddy of Joe’s, to know that he’s going. I keep in mind taking pictures my final scene with him at work, after which it was wrap time, and I couldn’t assist however cry.

It felt like Serena was making an attempt to make a clear break from Fred on the finish of final season, however then the being pregnant modified all of that. What’s the nature of Fred and Serena’s relationship at this level?

If I’ve to place a headline to it, it might be “enterprise transaction.” I feel for the primary little bit, she wasn’t going to make use of Fred in any respect—she was nonetheless pondering for the longest time that she would get off and never want him. However then with the arrival of June and every little thing else, she realized that she actually did must make a enterprise transaction with him and transfer ahead to solidify her probabilities of being free. However I don’t assume there was any form of love there. Nothing may be actually saved between them at this level.

It additionally appears like she turns into a bit acutely aware of what she and Fred symbolize as a unified entrance within the public eye, proper?

Yeah, precisely. It’s solidified once they stroll out into the gang and understand they’ve a fanbase in the true world in Canada. It’s these sorts of issues that Serena takes away, places in her again pocket, and realizes she will be able to use to her benefit down the road if she must. And meaning transactionally sticking by Fred’s facet for slightly bit and sporting that teal costume as he so irritatingly tells her to do.

the handmaid’s tale    “home”   episode 407    june struggles with her newfound freedom, reuniting with loved ones and confronting her nemesis, serena june elisabeth moss and serena waterford yvonne strahovski, shown photo by sophie giraudhulu

Sophie Giraud

Earlier than we get into the finale, I wish to discuss that scene in episode 7, the place June lastly will get to let unfastened on Serena and simply scream at her. That was such a cathartic scene to look at, however what do you assume is happening for Serena in that second?

I believed loads about that scene within the lead as much as it. My preliminary thought was that Serena wouldn’t actually be that emotional, that she’d be a bit extra conceited in her response simply to piss off June much more. However I feel the emotion is each a mix of real emotion and in addition manipulation. As a result of Serena actually does want June to forgive her, predominantly as a result of she actually does worry that her child may be born unhealthy, or be taken away from her; that God will strike her child down. She has that perception embedded in her, each from Gilead and from her personal private non secular beliefs.

I used to be undoubtedly stunned at first that Serena was so deferential and emotional, however that is smart. It’s not that she’s genuinely feeling the burden of what she’s accomplished to June.

She’s additionally conscious that June’s a misplaced trigger to her. There’s no salvaging any form of friendship that they could have had an inkling for in an earlier season. Whereas with Rita, it was a unique story. She thought she may actually manipulate Rita again into some form of an influence dynamic, the place Serena is, in fact, the one in energy, by pretending that every little thing’s nice and effective and dandy. However she is aware of June’s a lot too savvy for that nonsense.

June selecting to kill Fred feels far more black and white, in a way, as a result of he’s all the time been an irredeemable villain. However with June and Serena, it’s a lot tougher to pin down precisely what their relationship is. They’ve had moments of actual intimacy. The place do you see them going from right here?

It’s attention-grabbing you say that, as a result of I only recently noticed somebody had put collectively a YouTube compilation that I believed was so intriguing and compelling. It’s referred to as June/Serena, She’s A Monster. It was a tackle how and why June and Serena are the identical particular person. It was all of the moments wherein they’d both been screaming at somebody or doing one thing abusive. Particularly in season four for June with the way in which that her trauma is enjoying out for her as she settles into Canada.

In my thoughts, I simply marvel what would have occurred if June had been the spouse of a Commander and Serena had been the Handmaid. How otherwise or equally would they’ve performed out their positions? In fact, there can be some mega variations, however on the similar time, I don’t know! It’s a extremely attention-grabbing query, and it goes again to this complete concept that I’ve all the time carried in enjoying Serena and having to humanize her, which is the survival factor of her: What are the actions we take for self-preservation and survival?

The road the place Serena mentions that if she have been despatched again to Gilead she may turn out to be a Handmaid struck me as such an intriguing concept.

It’s undoubtedly one thing she appears to deserve. It’s a selection I personally don’t assume they are going to ever make on the present, simply because it’s such an apparent selection. However I do assume happening that route can be the one means for somebody like Serena Pleasure to essentially, actually be sorry and remorseful for every little thing she has accomplished. I feel that that might be the one means for her to know precisely what she’s put June and different girls, [but] particularly June, via.

It’s attention-grabbing that we don’t see Serena’s response to Fred’s loss of life on this episode. How do you think about she’ll reply?

I think about it being actually heavy and intense, however on the similar time, a contemporary begin for her. I feel, greater than something, the information that June was the one who ripped him aside, or led the group in ripping him aside, that’s the scary half for Serena. That’s the largest risk. And if she goes out into the true world and will get launched, particularly if she will get to maintain her child, that’s the half that can always have her dwelling in worry. To Serena, June is able to something, together with ripping Serena or her child to shreds.

I hadn’t even considered that angle. I can’t think about June ever hurting Serena bodily in that means, however I can undoubtedly think about Serena worrying about that.

June’s form of a unfastened cannon proper now. She’s been on this journey on this season of explosive rage and anger and appearing out. To me, it’s like, nicely, Serena’s subsequent. Higher but, her child is subsequent.

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How did you learn June sending Fred’s finger to Serena?

I feel undoubtedly looks like a risk, that it’s a finger, or some form of F-you, like, right here’s the lacking a part of you, and also you have been all the time as dangerous as he was, if not worse. Or one thing like, right here’s the lacking piece to your puzzle. There’s some form of stick-it-to-you message in there.

I additionally questioned if June killing Fred would even the enjoying area in Serena’s eyes—like, sure, I did all of these items to you, however you murdered my husband, so now we’re even.

As quickly as you stated that, I imagined Serena taking the stance—whether or not she meant it or not—of claiming to June, “Thanks a lot for killing him. He wanted to go.” Whether or not she believes it or not, proper? Like, “Oh my gosh, you probably did precisely what I’ve been desirous to do for therefore lengthy” to try to get her to imagine that. To get her to assume that they’re on the identical facet now.

I can’t wait to see the place that dynamic goes subsequent season. And in your thoughts, what do you assume Serena deserves? What can be a becoming finish for her?

I feel the plain selection is that it’s underneath Gilead rule or regime, being a Handmaid in probably the most terrible family, and simply being topic to all types of abuse, principally from each the Commander and the Wives. And if that’s not the case, then June would wish to create one thing fairly equal to or worse by separating Serena from her youngster. In the end, I feel that’s the largest factor that most individuals wish to see for Serena, that she does should undergo that form of struggling, which might make a lot sense. She’s so shut now to getting that one factor that she’s been wanting all these seasons, the one factor, the one through-line that’s been the strongest for this character: her need for a kid. And to have that taken away, that might be extremely tragic and traumatic for her.

However for these individuals who name The Handmaid’s Story a documentary, I feel what’s really going to occur is that Serena will get to maintain it, and he or she will get to hold on and get into politics and win a seat within the Senate or one thing.


Emma Dibdin is a contract author based mostly in Los Angeles who writes about tradition, psychological well being, and true crime.

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