It’s now been two episodes since June’s escape on The Handmaid’s Tale, but to say she’s settling in nicely to Canada would be a mistake. You can take the woman out of Gilead, but you can’t take the rage over what was done out of the woman. Moreover, just because June’s left the country that abused her behind doesn’t mean it’s not living rent-free in her head or that the atrocity machine that drives it isn’t still churning. In the new The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 9 promo, fans get a glimpse of June’s latest salvo against the enemy, as well as those who have yet to escape.
Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 8 follow. In Episode 8, “Testimony,” June’s public appearances may have seemed controlled and calculated. But outside the public courtroom, she was all unfettered fury, angry at Luke for trying to get Mark Tuello to help with the search for Hannah and mad at Moira for trying to get former Handmaids to “move past” what happened in Gilead. June doesn’t want to heal; she wants to tear does the patriarchal structures that did this to her, brick by brick. Those who worked so hard to rescue her have no idea what they’ve unleashed.
In the teaser for Episode 9, fans get a hint of why June might not want Tuello involved in her quest to get Hannah freed from Gilead. She already has people on the inside she trusts more. But is that trust misplaced?
Season 4, Episode 9 of The Handmaid’s Tale is titled “Progress.” But progress toward what? The search for Hannah? The synopsis doesn’t mention it. Instead, it reads: “Serena and Fred greet unexpected visitors from Gilead. Aunt Lydia deals with a hunger strike at the Red Center.”
Episode 8 concluded with the reveal that Janine survived Chicago, and as repayment, Gilead sent her right back to Aunt Lydia. Now, the Episode 9 promo shows someone else living under Aunt Lydia’s thumb: poor Esther Keyes, who seems to have been confined to the Red Center as well, despite her former Wife status.
But herein lies one of the most confusing aspects of this season: fertility. The entire point of the initial structure of Gilead is that most women were infertile. Wives, in particular, were unable to conceive children.
But The Handmaid’s Tale has chosen in Season 4 to throw all that out the window, first with Serena’s pregnancy and then with Esther’s experience. (As a Wife, she shouldn’t have been expected to bear children, which makes her Commander’s behavior in attempting to get her pregnant bizarre at best.) It seems like Episode 9 is coming in square this circle, confronting both Serena’s fertility (which could indeed relegate her to Handmaid status) and what happens to Esther Keyes in the future.
The Handmaid’s Tale continues Wednesdays on Hulu.