Return to the place where she met the most unimaginable horrors to find herself again or continue lost and dazed, unable to put together the pieces of something that is broken and may never be put back together. That is the decision June Osborne must face (Elizabeth Moss) during the fifth season of The Handmaid’s Talethe series that took as its starting point the homonymous novel by Margaret Atwood to take his story much further and imagine his protagonist’s life outside of Gilead.
Just Gilead – that authoritarian theocracy that much of the United States became, from which Osborne was able to escape at least physically – seems to have the answers she needs to find after assassinating Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). “June she thought that killing her oppressor would fix everything, because she believed he was the ultimate villain. She was also certain that his act of vengeance would bring her some sort of relief personally and, at the same time, strike Gilead so hard that it would inevitably lead to real change. But soon he discovers that this is not going to happen, ”Elisabeth Moss told the Argentine newspaper La Nación, in an interview via Zoom, about the new episodes that are available from this Sunday on Paramount +.
Already from its first chapter, this fifth season shows that Gilead is far from losing power and influence; on the contrary, it is very clear that Waterford was one more piece in a system that is ready to continue operating and, worse still, expanding at the expense of its now new martyr. Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) then becomes a key element in the emotional and political game that the plot poses, and she seems willing to capitalize on all the attention that the murder of her husband brings to her. But she also takes center stage again in the nightmares of the one who was her servant.
“Serena is someone who is a huge key figure in June’s life, sometimes for the better, sometimes not. She’s her biggest enemy but, at the same time, she’s probably the person she has the most in common with. There is a connection there that is undeniable, that goes beyond what they shared in Gilead with Fred. This season explores that relationship,” admits Moss.
“What did Serena say?” June asks Mark Tuello (Sam Jaeger), the United States government representative who took it upon herself to inform Joy of her husband’s murder, with a certain morbid desperation. “She needs to know how she reacted to her. June doesn’t think ‘I got rid of Fred, this is over, I’m moving on, everything is going to be okay’. She wants to know what Serena thought, how she feels now, what the news of Fred’s death caused her. And I think there’s pleasure in that and there’s also guilt and paranoia about the retaliation that Serena might take. There is a very complex relationship there”, analyzes the actress and producer of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The sudden departure of actress Alexis Bledel – who played Emily Malek, an ally of the resistance, one of the few people with whom Osborne could feel a brotherhood outside of Gilead – possibly posed a crossroads for the writers that ended up activating the twist in the plot of this fifth season. And it is that, after learning that Emily returned to Gilead to settle pending accounts, June understands that she will never be able to move on with her life if she does not return to face the monster and recover -or at least try- everything that he stole him.
It is clear that there is no shortage of villains for June in this series, “says Moss. “But her main confrontation is with herself. It’s very much about June versus Offred, this persona that Gilead created in her, with the violence and the anger and the trauma that he not only experienced firsthand, but that he witnessed from her. He understands that her life has changed forever, so she asks herself: How to be herself in the world, how to be a good wife, a good mother, a resistance fighter? How can all these women coexist in one person? That’s what June’s journey is very much about,” she adds.
It is true that the new episodes may fall into some common places or some hasty resolutions, but somehow they also develop some of the points that had flown over the fourth season: How to find yourself again after having gone through a trauma? Is there only one way to heal? Is it possible to forgive when the damage was done deliberately and is irreparable?
Moss again uses her enormous capacity as an actress to show those contradictions that run through June now that she is in that safe place, where she can be a free woman again, but to which, however, she feels she does not belong. Also when those who love her seem to demand that she turn the page and continue her personal quest to get her daughter back through a system she doesn’t trust, a system that has already betrayed her once and pushed her to take justice into her own hands. own. June is no longer the same, and in this fifth season it is her when she assumes that she will never be again.
Margaret Atwood started this story, all the credit goes to her”, highlights Moss about the Canadian writer who published The Handmaid’s Tale in 1985. The novel had a first film adaptation in 1990, with a script by Harold Printer and protagonists of Natasha Richardson, Robert Duvall Y Faye Dunawaybut it was with the series released by Hulu in 2017 that it achieved enormous popularity worldwide, to the point of becoming a kind of feminist manifesto.
“Atwood had this incredible vision of the future based on reality, research, intelligence and a great knowledge of history. And he took all of that for this really entertaining and fascinating novel, sometimes funny and sometimes brutal. We have been privileged and honored to pick up that mantle with our series and continue it,” Moss says of the series that earned her a 2017 Emmy Award for Outstanding Actress in a Drama.
The premiere of the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale It had a fortuitous and perfect timing: it coincided with the inauguration of Donald Trump as president of the United States and the harbinger of the advance of conservatism over individual freedoms that it brought with it. “The relevance of the series is not something we rejoice in. We very much wish that it was not so relevant, we very much wish that it was not so current, ”says the actress. “Our writers don’t read the newspaper and say, ‘Oh, this is interesting, I’m going to put it on the show.’ The scripts are written much earlier, but somehow they are crossed by reality; that is also amazing and moving, ”she assumes.
This new season comes just a few months after the US Supreme Court repealed the ruling that, since 1973, guaranteed legal access to abortion in that country. In that sense, The Handmaid’s Tale, with all its dystopia, once again gains new relevance when thinking about those rights and freedoms that should never be taken for granted. “For me personally, it’s heartwarming to hear from people not just in the United States, but all over the world, who feel like this series opened a door of hope for them, made them think, or led them to find a connection with its reality. Many people feel that in this show there is a voice for them, that there is room to discuss a topic that is important to them. That for me is something that honors me”, stresses Moss.
“Having the opportunity to tell stories on this show that connect with people in such a personal way, like I said, all over the world, and to hear testimonies of what’s going on in their different countries, in their communities, it’s been a kind of opportunity. added bonus, a bonus I never expected. Because one, as an actress, joins a series, a project, with the intention of entertaining people, but when there is this additional layer of connection with people from all over the world, it becomes something very moving, ”she concludes.
Shortly after the interview, it was confirmed that The Handmaid’s Tale will have a sixth and final season. In addition, Bruce Miller, its creator, is known to be actively working on a kind of spin off based on The Testaments, the novel that Atwood published in 2019 as a sequel and that takes place years after what is narrated in The Handmaid’s Tale. It is clear that there is still much more to tell in this dystopian universe with a lot of reality.