The Very Last Scene In The Handmaid's Tale's Season 4 Finale Changes Everything
June is leaving her life behind. Again.
After struggling for three seasons to get out of Gilead, June finally escaped to freedom in The Handmaid's Tale Season 4. But Canada was never going to be a haven for her, because June was no longer the woman who tried to flee to Canada in the Season 1 premiere. She was a soldier forged in the horrors of an oppressive nation. Despite what people like Moira hoped for her, she could never be a perfect victim or a spokesperson for bloodless justice. So, where will June go after The Handmaid's Tale Season 4? Canada might be too small to hold her.
Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 4, Episode 10 finale follow. Season 4's penultimate episode ended with the reveal that Fred Waterford had struck a plea bargain. He would turn informant on the Gileadean government in exchange for full immunity. As he saw it, establishing himself as a free man was his best chance at power. Once he did, he could get those fringe Gileadean true believers living in Toronto and elsewhere to raise his profile and perhaps even eventually run for office.
But June wasn’t going to let that happen. Freedom in Canada might mean allowing a man like Fred Waterford to walk free and then insist on his right to spread lies as part of his rise to become a public figure. But she was a Gileadean soldier, trained by Aunt Lydia to murder rapists by tearing them to bits with her bare hands.
Fred's path to freedom was predicated on the notion that his information and status as a witness against Gilead trumped June’s testimony against him. What she needed was to give Canada something of greater value than just one man. Commander Lawrence wasn't willing to help her get Hannah — neither was Nick, for that matter, who told her it was hopeless; the child was too well guarded. But they were fine with handing over 22 political prisoners, all women, in exchange for one snitch who needed Gilead's versions of concrete shoes to stop him singing to the feds. Gilead didn’t need them; after all, over there, women prisoners who are not fertile are simply more mouths to feed. Meanwhile, Canada was doing right by those who put their lives at risk.
Fred wasn’t told his hearing at the ICC had been canceled. (Serena Joy hadn’t either.) As she sat innocently trying to play PR flack for a man worth one-tenth of her, Fred was dragged away and handed over to the Eyes of Gilead. And Nick had a perfect fate in mind. Fred was left in No Man's Land, where an entire phalanx of former Handmaids meted out the justice of Gilead, led by June.
But what does this mean for June, now that Fred is dead? One might say that just this once, everyone wins. Gilead no longer has to worry about Fred giving away the government’s secrets; June got justice. Even Serena Joy can now use Fred to get out of jail without the inconvenience of his actual existence.
But Serena Joy doesn't like to lose, and she will see June sending her Fred’s severed finger as, well, giving her the finger. And June knows this will have ramifications. After all, she didn't just leave his body to rot in the woods. They hung his corpse on the Wall, a warning to the Gileadean government.
June may not yet be charged with the same atrocities as the Waterfords were. But chances are, she's facing a reality where she will be. It's time to go on the move. But where? Only time (OK, Season 5) will tell.