Alexis Bledel as Emily In ‘The Handmaid’s Tale'

What Happened To Emily In The Handmaid’s Tale? Her Mission Will Prob Be Fatal

Even June knows this is folly.

by Ani Bundel
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Trigger Warning: This piece contains descriptions and fictional accounts of sexual assault and suicide.

The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of June Osborne, the titular Handmaid. But the TV series expanded that world by taking Ofglen, a side character in the novel, and giving her an entire LGBTQ+ backstory, allowing the show to tell more than the original heteronormative novel. Fans were disheartened to learn the character would not return for Season 5. But the way the show wrote out Alexis Bledel, who plays Emily in The Handmaid’s Tale, is almost more painful.

Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episodes 1 and 2 follow. Season 4 finally allowed June to escape from Gilead into Canada, where she confronted Fred and Serena Joy Waterford for the horrors they perpetrated on her. But her bravery was not rewarded — Fred copped a plea deal, and Canada let him go. June was so incensed that she got Commander Joseph Lawrence to help her hatch a plan — Fred would not be allowed to head to Geneva and safety but be traded back to Gilead for releasing 22 Handmaids.

Except Fred never made it farther than the Gilead border before Nick and Joseph released him into the wild, where June and her fellow ex-Handmaids were waiting. Taking out their rage and suffering, they chased Fred through the woods, cornering him like an animal, nearly tearing him limb from limb.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Emily was part of June’s group of women who participated in the slaughter. Her story was one of turmoil since getting out. Before her escape, she was turned in by an Aunt for being a lesbian and “circumcised,” aka FGM. Unable to have intercourse, she’s been unable to date or return to her wife. In Season 4, the Aunt who turned her in, Irene, was brought before the group of Handmaids in therapy, where she begged Emily to forgive her. Emily refused, but when she reconsidered and drove to see Irene, she found the woman had hung herself.

Since then, Emily has been struggling with the guilt of sending the woman over the edge by refusing forgiveness and her sense of justice. But the experience of taking down Fred in the woods radicalized her. Rather than return to Canada with the others, she chose to cross back into Gilead, with dreams of slaughtering every Commander she could find.

Even June thought that was an unhinged decision when she learned of Emily’s plans, all but saying it was a form of Emily taking her own life, martyr-style. But it seems, whatever Emily’s success rate is, chances are she’ll never be heard from again.

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

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, you can call the National Sexual Assault Telephone Hotline at 800-656-HOPE (4673) or visit

If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-8255 or text HOME to the Crisis Text Line at 741741. You can also reach out to the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860 or the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, or to your local suicide crisis center.