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'The Handmaid's Tale' boss on how long this 'inevitable' twist has been in the works

[This story contains spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 “Motherland” Episode 8. ]

Yvonne Strahovski described Episode VIII) The Handmaid’s Tale as Serena’s “Ultimate Rock Bottom”, Given the circumstances of the previous episode, this is the end of a dangerous warning.

Serena did find herself at the lowest point of Season 5 when “Motherland” opened, maybe even the whole ) Hulu series. Now, Serena, an immigrant prisoner in a Canadian detention centre, pulled newborn son Noah from her arms at the end of episode seven, forced to pump her breast milk and give it to a woman who is now legal guardian . Her son, Mrs Wheeler (Genevieve Angelson). When Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) visits Serena and offers to help her get her back to the Wheeler family, she can help while the Wheeler family continues to effectively raise his child Taking care of her baby, Serena rages at the thought of it.

“That’s the only way,” he insisted.

“I’m not going to live in the same house as my friends with kidnappers of kids,” said Serena, who seemed in need of a reminder that she helped arrange Gilead’s maid lifestyle.

“Are you sarcastic deficient?” Lawrence asked.

“I don’t care. I’m not a maid,” she replied.

Serena eventually turns to June for advice, mother to mother as they deal with each other’s woes. Serena tells Joan that it is worth considering Lawrence’s proposal for a new Bethlehem as Joan reunites with her oldest daughter Hannah One way. But when Serena asked Joan to be her voice, she was shocked by her refusal. “I can never forgive you,” said Joan, who suggested she go back to the Wheeler home. Then it happened again.

“How?” Serena asked. “How do you go to live in a house with a woman who wants to steal your child?”

Joan tilted her head: “Are you asking me this seriously? Her advice: “You’ll go back there, and you’ll act like a maid. But from start to finish, you’re plotting against them and planning your revenge.”

So , she did. Serena returned to Wheeler’s house, apologized and acknowledged her location. She was allowed to breastfeed her baby, but was forced to admit she was unwell and to give up all other motherhood duties. It remains to be seen if she will be as calm as June in the final two episodes.

Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) with Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) in “Homeland”. by Sophie Provided by Giraud/Hulu 1235245917

Serena is committed not to confronting the harsh truth of her situation, which fascinates writers to explore. Although they didn’t use Serena-June Maid Flip-Flops in their larger series plans from the start, it It’s “cute when it’s planned,” creator and showrunner Bruce Miller .

“The best thing about this story is that Serena isn’t blind to what’s going on, and she still doesn’t want it,” Miller told The The Hollywood Reporter has come to realize throughout season five that Serena has basically become a maid. “It’s ironic for the audience, but not for her, she tells herself, ‘I’m not going to be a maid.'” It’s a combination of the way she sees herself and knowing what it’s like to be a maid because she’s a maid overseer . She doesn’t want to be at the mercy of someone like her, which is a very interesting character exploration. She’s a prison guard who doesn’t want to go to jail. “

Once the writers plotted Serena’s pregnancy in season four, the maid character reversal began to surface. The goal, he explained, was to get things going” It feels inevitable, but it’s never predictable”.

Because she’s so narcissistic — from just caring about herself to caring about this kid. And then you start saying, ‘Okay , what does this mean for Serena? At the end of last season, we took away 1235220623 is her sense of security . Fred, though worthless, put a lot of pressure on her and tried to protect her and make her situation more stable. Now I Thinking the baby, plus instability, makes her seek stability — that’s where you get this story. She’s looking for something she really, really doesn’t want to find. I like the way she’s like, ‘I don’t care. I don’t Will be a maid — no matter how ironic that is.'”

For Miller, witnessing what his heroines did to the script was a highlight. “It’s amazing to see them doing that witchcraft, it’s amazing,” he said, noting the childbirth and postpartum scenes of Serena and Joan in the barn in episode seven (by Rachel Shue) Pert wrote, “Fucking Masterpiece,” he added). But a flashback showing June and Serena at the start of their relationship is also instructive. “They overlap a lot,” he said of the two roles. “They were women who grew up in the same society and made certain choices; they both worked in communications. The things that annoyed each other were things they valued themselves: stubbornness, their moral integrity, their ability to weather any argument The ability to not change your opinion – Serena probably thinks that’s her best personality trait. So it’s great to write about it because of the way the two actors work together, and because of the way the two characters work together.”

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Little Noah and Joan’s Serena (1235245917 Elisabeth Moss) in episode 7 “No Man’s Land”. gourd The Handmaids Tale No Mans Land

Miller added that Joan decided Helping Serena during her labor episode 7 and returning to the detention center in episode 8 to hear her talk about being a traumatized person.

“Mainly June’s core. Who June is; she’s not going away. She can’t,” he said. “She wants to be the kind of person who can walk away and never look back. Hopefully there’s a basic kindness behind any of her traumas urging her to do these things, but I think she’s reacting with what she recognizes The way stems from trauma.”

The broader theme that connects these two women also rings up in a very timely manner, and unfortunately the creator and his writer know this It feels like they’ve been working on their prescient series for five seasons. “The story of being a refugee in the modern world, I don’t think it’s going away, especially in the age of climate change,” he said of Serena and Joan finding their relevance in real life: No Man’s Land: Seri Na is undocumented after violating the terms of stay, and Joan and her family are unwelcome as Gilead refugees. “Everyone who leaves the United States, everyone in The Handmaids Tale , is either a refugee or a former refugee. Once they go out, they are people without a country. America is there, somewhere, but not necessarily where you want to go. Serena can’t go to America. She has to put herself under their control, and I didn’t know they would be so happy to have Serena Joy. Unfortunately, both physical displacement and the feeling that their country isn’t what it was—their sense of America becoming Gilead—are a common, relatable emotion these days.”

Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale was released on Hulu on Wednesday.

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