This season, The Handmaid's Tale introduced an entirely new character drawn from whole cloth: Commander Joseph Lawrence. Billed as "the architect of Gilead's economy" this eccentric fellow, played by Bradley Whitford, seemed at first to be some new, terrible torture to add to the long line of horrible things Emily has gone through. But her new Commander turned out to be far different than anyone expected. Will Commander Lawrence be in The Handmaid's Tale Season 3? Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale's Season 2 finale follow.
When Emily turned up at the Lawrence house, it was clear from the getgo the Commander wasn't like the other powerful men fans had met. He seemed irritated at Aunt Lydia and her standing on ceremony, and his interest in Emily was far more cerebral than carnal. When his wife turned up, a woman who was driven mad with grief at the world her husband had created, it was clear this was not a home following Gilead social norms.
But even so, when Emily stabbed Aunt Lydia, it seemed like Lawrence was not going to take it well. There's being vaguely kind, and then there's allowing murder under one's roof. But Lawrence surprised everyone by deciding the best course of action would be to protect Emily from her crime and get her to Canada, ASAP.
Emily was so out of it, she couldn't comprehend what was happening until the van pulled up. Even then, Offred had to spell it out, she was getting out. Lawrence, on the other hand, saw it rather differently:
I'm getting myself in deep sh*t.
Is Lawrence actually going to get in serious trouble for this? Will this be the last we see of him? According to showrunner Bruce Miller, now Lawrence has met Offred, he's part of the tale, and as long as the schedule works out, he's coming back for Season 3.
I think we're gonna learn a ton about him. I mean, I think the fact is he's our Oppenheimer character. The man who designed an atomic bomb and then saw what it could do. I mean, he's a designer of Gilead, and now he's seen what it can do.
Miller hinted having a mad wife in the attic, Jane Eyre-style, was only the tip of the iceberg when it came to Joseph Lawrence's story.
He is a mass of contradictions and dangers, so you never know what he's willing to do, what he's not willing to do. He's been protecting himself for a very long time. And his adventure to keep himself alive certainly is not always an adventure that's going to keep the people around him alive.
This certainly sounds like a man who is dangerous. But Lawrence also apparently has a kind heart somewhere deep down, even if he doesn't show it very well. He collects broken people who need protecting, like his one-eyed Martha, and Emily, who it's clear he planned to keep safe and unraped for as long as he could, had she not attacked Lydia.
How will he figure into Offred's story going forward? Miller wouldn't give details, but he promised they would see each other again.
But now that June has crossed paths with him, she's going to cross paths with him a lot more in Season 3.
It will be interesting when they do meet again, as Lawrence thinks Offred got in the van with Emily and the baby. He drove off before she decided not to go. Will he ultimately help her escape too? Or will his need to keep himself alive put people around him in danger of their own lives?