This post contains spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Episode 2. Proceed accordingly.
Well, the widow won this round.
Episode 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale‘s fifth season — the second half of a two-episode premiere; read an Episode 1 recap here — found Serena Joy Waterford somehow bending the American, Canadian and Gileadian governments to her will and pulling off a grand funeral in Gilead for Fred. Though Commander Waterford definitely didn’t deserve the pomp and circumstance, greater forces were at work. Gilead’s ruling council considered the event, which would be televised abroad, an impressive postcard for the nascent republic. And Serena saw it as a way to stick it to her former handmaid/Fred’s killer, now free and living in Canada.
To wit: After June and Luke had a date-day at the ballet, they shared a romantic kiss in Toronto’s city center… and then looked up to see Fred’s funeral procession being broadcast on every giant screen in their proximity. And if that weren’t enough, Serena made a point of stopping by a group of school-age girls to accept a white bouquet from one of them.
That girl? June and Luke’s daughter, Hannah. Serena kissed her on the forehead and then looked directly into the camera, giving viewers a barely perceptible smile.
“We talked a lot about that final — and we have a number of takes — but that final image through that black veil, of Serena Joy and just how much that mouth curves into the slightest smile,” executive producer Warren Littlefield tells TVLine. “Yes, she wants to honor Fred, but this is Serena Joy’s stepping in and getting on the throne, and she’s masterful. She’s powerful. She’s a great chess player.”
Meanwhile, in Toronto, an aghast June and Luke are thinking, “‘She’s got her hand on my kid!'” showrunner Bruce Miller notes, chuckling.
The EPs add that Serena and June’s twisted relationship is at the center of the new season, which will offer insight into both the women’s past and their future.
“And so it begins!” Littlefield says. “Season 5 is all about that gamesmanship. These are two people who hate each other, want at times to kill each other, have the ability to, and then there’s also this fascinating respect that comes into play.”
What did you think of Serena’s masterstroke in Episode 2? Sound off in the comments!
Game point to Serena….just evil but perfect.
The ever so slight smirk by Serena was masterfully done. She knows that at some point June would see the news feed.
That b*tch is crazy and June’s gonna kill her.
God I loved it but hated it for June – I’m so looking forward to this season!
As soon as Esther showed up with that chocolate for Janine, I knew it wasn’t going to end well.
Oh my goodness, I know! I was sitting there saying NO Janine don’t eat it! But she did, anyway! *sigh*
An EXCELLENT series!!!
It’s very hard to see Serena get what she wants. When will she get her due??
Was that Hannah in the newscast with Serena?
Yes. Serena knew June would see it. The message was “You got Fred, but I have your daughter.”
I think June will get the better of her, though. Somehow.
Despite all the feelings about Serena, you must admit that Yvonne is such an incredible and unbelievably talented actress. She can tell a story without saying a word better than anyone with dialogue.
This is the most boring, repetitive show I have ever watched. Should have ended with the book martial at Season two.
Forget about that ridiculous funeral procession…do NOT tell me they just killed off Janine?
Janine is about the ONLY one I’m rooting for anymore. And she just keeps getting screwed by everyone…over and over and over. EVERY friend she THINKS she’s made ends up betraying her. Honestly, I think Lydia is the only one who truly loves Janine, and tries to protect her in her own Gilead-twisted Lydiaesque way. Which is so effed up, it just makes it all worse!
Yes, Serena is a cool Chess Player, and June, the Americans, Nick, and just about everyone else on the canvas has underestimated her.
No, Janine is hooked up to machines in the next episode and Aunt Lydia was crying over her. I think Esther is dead, though.
IMO, Ester was a b word when we 1st met her as a wife. She forced Janine to eat the (cow? Pig?) Janine had just bonded with. When they BOTH ended up back in a Red Center, Janine was nice enough to take her under her wing. Janine never set out to betray Ester.
Janine tried her best to keep Ester alive. Apparently, Ester chose the alternative. She doesn’t get to make that choice for someone who tried to help her.
Why does it appear June is having a seizure and every other scene, she is such a profoundly unlikable character imo
But I don’t understand is when Serena was coming out after seeing Fred’s dead body. What about those people who are advocating against Gilead and their government? We only ever see people who are for Gilead’s government. I’m pretty sure there is a huge movement from those who have been hurt and lost loved ones in Gilead but it’s completely ignored in the series.
Not true. There were scores of people cheering on last season when the handmaids were rescued and they have been openly welcomed by crowds and the government in Canada. Gilead’s supporters in Canada are like the crazy ass MAGA crowd here in the states.
Brilliant episode with flawless performances as usual.
I do question, however, how this gala tribute managed to be put together in a matter of hours and what time it was being held? I ask that because Luke and June were at an evening performance of the ballet and it was probably near 10 pm when they were walking in the square. Was the funeral at 10 pm or are we supposed to think it was footage that played earlier? I also wonder why Mark left Serena long enough to meet up with Nick? Wasn’t he supposed to be by her side constantly? Still, riveting television.
They came out of the ballet during daylight…that kind of threw me too. I think they went to a matinee.
But I cannot fathom WHY a “sanctuary” like Canada would be airing that funeral on EVERY TV SCREEN in that Times Square like location. Would we all be glued to Idi Amin’s or Bin Ladin’s memorial service?
Why did we not hear jeering in the background, since one of the world’s most hated political figures was being memorialized?