Since June’s escape from Gilead in the middle of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, the series has taken a significant step away from the tropes that dominated the first three seasons. The plot lines set in Canada, where both June and Serena Joy now reside, have focused on the two women’s complicated relationship, while things in Gilead have also changed considerably. However, The Handmaid’s Tale’s Season 5 finale promo suggests this bifurcated world of Americans-in-Canada versus Gilead is about to come to a head.
Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episode 9 follow. The penultimate episode of Season 5 centered around June’s determination to get Hannah out of Gilead before she’s married off. Unbeknownst to her daughter, June had obtained the location of Hannah’s school. The Americans crafted a plan to fly in the jets and rescue the teenage girls from their Gilead-enforced education program. But Lawrence wasn’t about to let June take her kid that easily. He was happy to offer up Hannah as payment for June moving to New Bethlehem and legitimizing Gilead. But taking her away to Canada? That was no go. He gave the order to shoot down the planes as they crossed into Gilead’s airspace. There were no survivors.
June burning the bridges between them was only one of the major upheavals of Episode 9. She also confronted Nick, demanding to know why he was happy to support a plan that forced her to return to Gilead but never considered coming to Canada. Meanwhile, despite June telling Serena Joy to play the long game of being a virtual handmaid to the Wheelers, she didn’t listen. Instead, she grabbed her first opportunity to make a break for it with Noah, hoping to depend on the kindness of strangers for the survival of her and her baby.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episode 10 is titled “Safe.” Episode 9 concluded with shots fired into an American crowd where June was front and center. With Nick talking about an assassination attempt in the trailer, it seems likely Toronto doesn’t hold safety for either June or Serena now. The synopsis seems to confirm that. “Under threat, June must find a way to keep herself and her family safe from Gilead and its violent supporters in Toronto.”
June and Serena will most likely be the main focus of this episode, but there’s also a very interesting development in Gilead” Lawrence is being forced into marriage with Mrs. Putnam, with Janine as their assigned handmaid. Considering the history of all three, this “Happy Family Unit” just may be the most volatile situation ever.
The Handmaid’s Tale’s Season 5 finale streams on Hulu on Wednesday, Nov. 9, 2022.