At a For Your Consideration event for “The Handmaid’s Tale” Thursday night in Los Angeles, the hit show’s cast and producers teased what’s to come in future episodes of season 2 and broke down some of its biggest moments so far, including Serena Joy and June’s turbulent relationship and Fred’s turn as an abusive husband.
Also looking ahead at the season’s remaining five episodes, showrunner Bruce Miller and executive producer Warren Littlefield confirmed that June (a.k.a. Offred) will have the baby that she is carrying for the Waterfords before the season is through.
So far in season 2, June (Elisabeth Moss) has both despised and befriended Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) at separate times, something that Moss said has been “really honest.”
“There’s no way that Serena can just turn into a resistance fighter, that’s just not the reality,” the star told Variety on the red carpet. “But what we’ve always connected on, Yvonne and I, is the idea of there are these two women, polar opposites in this world, and they’re both unhappy, and they’re both not satisfied and they’re both victims in a lot of ways. And finding ways they can connect about that, obviously the big thing that connects them is the child growing inside June, which is my child, but also in a way, Serena’s. So that’s something that bonds them in a way that is very palpable.”
Another major moment from the first eight episodes was Fred’s (Joseph Fiennes) decision to beat Serena Joy when she made a move against his will, which Strahovski said “was sad to play, it was sad to watch it also because it almost feels like whatever the Commander was wanting and hoping to achieve after that punishment he has achieved,” in pitting the two women in his home against each other.
Strahovski teased that the violence shown in Commander Waterford’s beating scene is just the beginning of what’s to come the remainder of the season, remembering how on set there were “audible remarks from the crew, that was one of those days, the beating scene, where people were just like ‘Ugh, this is too much, we quit.’ It was that day, and many more to come that you’ll all see.”
As for the future of Fred, after he survived the bombing earlier in the season, he now has “the mantle on his shoulders, this weight of the transformation of a society,” Littlefield said.
“We’re seeing the pressure, and as that mounts, can he hold onto his seat of power?” the executive producer asked. “What we know, and we help define it when Serena Joy and Fred in episode nine go on a diplomatic mission in Toronto where they clarify, there’s basically Alaska and Hawaii are the only two states that are still America. So it’s been a pretty massive takeover.”
During the panel, Moss elaborated on June’s journey with the resistance as she will continue to figure out her path and “what kind of fighter she is… there’s all these different ways of resistance and she kind of has to find her own and she kind of stumbles and falls a few times in finding that path. But that was really interesting to me, how do you resist? Do you resist from the inside, do you do it in a big loud way, do you do it with words and a pen?”
Moss also addressed Offred seemingly giving up and accepting the culture of Gilead early on in the season, admitting she’s “surprised she didn’t give up sooner. But I think it’s really important to show her hitting rock bottom, because that’s what would happen, you know. And it’s important to show that vulnerability, that’s one of those things that I love about June in the book so much, is she’s not a perfect character and she has her weaknesses and there’s got to be a breaking point for everybody, but what happens after that breaking point is our story.”
Moss and Strahovski were joined at the FYC event, held at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, by co-stars Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Max Minghella, Madeline Brewer and Amanda Brugel. “Handmaid’s Tale” is currently streaming on Hulu, with new episodes released each Wednesday.