Elisabeth Moss as June at the end of The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 finale.
7 The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 Theories

There is so much that could happen.

by Ani Bundel
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

It had been nearly two years since The Handmaid's Tale was on the air when Season 4 premiered. But the wait was worth it. Season 4 brought brand-new, shocking twists, like June's escape to Canada, Aunt Lydia's struggle to stay relevant in Gilead, and Serena Joy's pregnancy. But the finale changed the game yet again, with June having made a decision that could blow up her new life. These The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 theories try to consider all the angles heading into the next season.

Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 4, Episode 10 finale follow.

Good news, everyone: Fred is dead. Fans knew from Episode 9 that June hadn't taken the former Commander's decision to turn informant against Gilead (in exchange for his freedom in Canada) well. But even so, she tried to make peace with it for the sake of her family. A good mother should be able to move on, she said. So, she would close the door on this horrific chapter of her life and try not to let that man live rent-free in her head for one more second.

But she couldn't do it.

Fans saw June make up her mind when Fred apologized to her, saying he regretted how tough her life had been in Gilead. Something in June's eyes changed at that moment, as if hearing him say it made her realize that he had indeed understood what he was doing was not just wrong but utterly depraved, and he did it anyway.

From that moment on, it was only a matter of how and when revenge would be served. The only genuinely shocking thing was that it was done appropriately and by the right people. First, Lawrence made a deal with the Canadian government that Gilead would hand over imprisoned women in exchange for Waterford. Once across the border, Nick took Fred into the custody of the Eyes, and from there he was handed over to a dozen former Handmaids who, led by June, chased down the rapist in the woods, murdering him with their bare hands, just like Aunt Lydia taught them.

So, what now? Here’s what could happen next season:


Fred Waterford’s Fate Will Hang Heavy

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Perhaps if June had left Fred's body to anonymously decompose in the appropriately named "No Man's Land," that would be the end of it. But June was never the type to go quietly. As fans saw in the season's final moments, Fred's body now hangs on the Wall, a warning to Gilead's Commanders. One theory is that his death will not be overlooked, at least not by the Canadian government or the ICC, who will see it as a new atrocity.

The question isn't whether June will be blamed for it, but when and how she responds to the charges. There's also the question of how much the guilt of what she did haunts her. Even if it was justice, that doesn't mean his death will rest well on her soul.


Serena Joy Will Have Her Revenge

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Fred’s death will be a significant turning point for Serena Joy as well, who has been trapped in an abusive relationship with him for years. On the one hand, this is going to be a major boon for her. She can use Fred’s actions to paint herself as a martyr and maybe even get the pardon he couldn’t swing, all without the actual nuisance of him being there.

But Fred’s manipulation of Serena hung on one emotional reality for her: She hates losing. And Fred’s death? That’s a win for June, and therefore a loss for Serena. That finger June sent her? That’s both a trophy and a taunt, since Serena lost her own finger when she stood up to Gilead. Fans are almost certain that whatever happens next season, Serena Joy will go to war against June.


Gilead Will Go After June

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Fred was spurred into action when he realized toward the end of Season 4 that Gilead didn’t give a damn about him rotting away in a Canadian prison. It wasn’t until he started singing like a canary to the American government about Gilead’s inner workings that they cared about him again, and then, it was only to shut him up permanently.

Gilead wanted Fred dead, and it seems they didn’t care how, which is why Nick had the freedom to let June and her crew take him down as they saw fit. But then they put his body on the Wall.

Fans have a feeling that’s going to be the step too far. Gilead is a country all about control — namely, the control of women. June humiliated one of their own with this act, showing women to be powerful. IDK if Gilead will allow that to stand.


Commander Lawrence & Nick Will Face Fallout

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Both Nick and Lawrence walked a tightrope throughout Season 4. They did not betray Gilead precisely, but their hearts weren’t with their country’s interests. Lawrence in particular had been playing a dangerous game in contacting June. He used Lydia to get back into the government’s good graces, but she knows too much about him and is willing to use it.

As for Nick, as the head of the Eyes, he is a powerful Commander. And because he runs the spy group, he’s got a leg up on those trying to dig into his choices. But Waterford turning up on that Wall is bound to raise uncomfortable questions. What fans want to know is whether Season 5 is when June’s habit of taking down those around her finally reaches these two.


June Will Find Herself Losing Friends & Allies

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Speaking of June’s abilities to alienate everyone around her, fans think next season might be the last straw for many of her supporters. When June was a prisoner of Gilead, people like Luke and Moira could support her without the pesky reality of what it is to live with a revolutionary. Now they live with a murderer. (Although, yes, she was already a murdered before she got to Canada, but this time they’re fully aware of this fact.)

Moira especially has been troubled by June’s willingness to let her anger drive her, and that her rage is reversing years of therapeutic work with other former Handmaids. In the dark, it wasn’t clear who was among those Handmaids who ripped Fred to shreds (aside from June and Emily), but it’s a good bet the others were also from the library where Moira led group therapy. With June threatening to take off again, I have a feeling it won’t be long until Moira tells Luke it’s better just to let her go, for everyone’s sake.


Aunt Lydia’s Position May Change

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June is no longer directly affecting Aunt Lydia. The latter spent the better part of Season 4 trying to regain her stature lost after being sidelined due to Emily pushing her down the stairs. She, Janine, and Ester now form their own little storyline in Gilead, along with those like Aunt Ruth, who think Lydia needs to retire and get out of the way.

Although Fred’s death may have unforeseen consequences, any blowback Lawrence feels may hurt Lydia as well. Right now, the two are using each other to regain their leverage; if one goes down, so might the other.

But what fans are concerned about is how Janine and Esther fare under Lydia’s “protection.” If Lydia is taken out but those below, will they suffer too? Or will Moira and company try to rescue them, now that June has turned out to not be the perfect victim they needed?


Nichole’s Safety May Be At Risk

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The biggest issue come Season 5 might not be the Canadian government nor Gilead. There’s been a subplot building in the last few episodes of Fred and Serena Joy’s followers, their constituents, the true believers who want to see Gilead in Canada. As Luke noted in Episode 10 those folks include a few who are unbalanced, to the point where extra security has been sent to their house, just in case.

When those followers learn of Fred’s fate, they are likely going to respond strongly. The threats to June and those who are associated with her are going to rise. And god forbid Serena Joy turns the mob on them. If that happens, June will need to be long gone from Toronto. Moreover, Serena Joy could argue that means Nichole is safest with her.

Perhaps they should all start packing.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 is expected to debut sometime in 2022. Seasons 1 through 4 are available now on Hulu.