Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and June (Elisabeth Moss) in 'The Handmaid's Tale'

The Handmaid's Tale's New Promo Hints June May Return To Gilead

New Bethlehem is calling.

by Ani Bundel
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Since the start of The Handmaid’s Tale, the power dynamics have never favored June. Being a handmaid in Gilead meant she spent her life a prisoner, while Serena Joy, as a wife, has always been higher on the pecking order. However, The Handmaid’s Tale’s Season 5, Episode 8 promo shows that role reversal has finally come between Serena and June, as the former hits rock bottom and the other sees her fortunes rise.

Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episode 7 follow. Episode 7, “No Man’s Land,” was a tour-de-force for actors Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski, who play June and Serena, respectively. The two characters spent the day delivering Serena’s baby, Noah, as June flashed back to an early experience of a birthing ceremony in Gilead. June successfully delivered Serena’s child, but Serena began to grow feverish and needed medical attention June couldn’t provide.

Determined not to let Serena die, as so many wives in Gilead had allowed happen to handmaids, June took mom and baby to a hospital in Canada. The irony is that Serena was correct that the hospital was not a safe place — not because the Wheelers would find her, but because immigration officers would. Having lost her diplomatic status, Serena was technically in the country without a visa, and Luke was only too happy to call the authorities and give the woman a taste of her own medicine.

Perhaps Luke thought he was doing as June would want, but as the promo for Episode 8 shows, he doesn’t understand her relationships with those from Gilead at all.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episode 8 is titled “Motherland,” and the synopsis confirms what audiences already guessed: “June considers a tempting but risky offer from a surprise visitor. Serena hits rock bottom and searches for allies.”

June’s offer is obviously from Lawrence, though it’s unclear if he is the surprise visitor or if it comes through an intermediary. As for Serena’s journey, Strahovski told Entertainment Weekly in a recent interview that some of her favorite scenes this season are in Episode 8. “There’s more rock bottom to come for her in a very big way,” she said. “Given that she’s now in a position that is not privileged or how she’s used to being, I don’t think she’s going to know how to be as savvy in her manipulation as she has been in the past. She’s going to flail a little bit in that department.”

As for June, it sounds like she’s going to be lured back into Gilead via Lawrence’s New Bethlehem project, which promises amnesty for escapees as well as a life without handmaids or hangings. Considering Hannah is still in Gilead, approaching the point of no return of becoming a young wife, it seems like June is more inclined than ever to make her return. After all, as she said in the promo, “you cannot help your child if you’re not with them.”

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 continues with new episodes streaming every Wednesday on Hulu.