‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Actor Amanda Brugel Says Rita Still Has ‘Emotional Connection’ to Serena Joy

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 has fans on edge. While June and Janine managed to escape Gilead yet again, they’re on their own as they attempt to run to safety. As for the Waterfords, Serena Joy just found out she’s pregnant, and she shared the news with her old Martha, Rita Blue.

Amanda Brugel talks about what it’s like playing Rita in season 4, as she turns on the Waterfords and tells Fred Waterford of Serena’s pregnancy. Here’s what she said.

What happened to Rita in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?

Moira taking Rita's hand in 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4
Moira and Rita in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Rita is a beloved member of the Waterford household, and it’s clear Serena Joy and Fred Waterford trust her. She’s known as the Martha in the household, meaning she took care of their household duties while living in Gilead. And she built a relationship with June when June was the handmaid for the Waterfords.

While Serena Joy believes she has a good relationship with Rita, Rita was working against the Waterfords and assisting the handmaids in getting all of the children out of Gilead. With Rita’s assistance, over 80 children were ushered on to a plane to escape the evil regime. Rita also escaped.

In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, we’re seeing the complicated relationship Rita still has with the Waterfords. Episode 4 shows Rita talking to Serena outside of Gilead, and Serena mentions it’s nice to see a friendly and familiar face. Serena also confides in Rita about her pregnancy, as she hadn’t yet told Fred. While Rita acted happy for Serena in the moment, she immediately brought the news to Fred and betrayed her.

Amanda Brugel said Rita still has a connection to Serena Joy Waterford

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4
Serena Joy Waterford in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

RELATED: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Yvonne Strahovski Gave Clues on Serena Joy’s Emotional State in Season 4

The scene in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 4 with Rita and Serena Joy is quite riveting. While Rita made the choice to escape Gilead, it’s clear she still has some connection to Serena. However, in the end, she still chooses to go against the Waterfords and betray Serena.

Brugel talked to Steve Varley about this moment for Rita. “I think that she still has an emotional connection to Serena Joy,” Brugel says. “I don’t know if it’s the healthiest, but Rita was trapped in that house with the Waterfords for so long that there’s still some sort of connection between the two of them. And Rita, as we’ve seen, is very stoic, very calm. And so, I don’t know if she’s necessarily the ‘pop off’ kind of type.”

The actor adds Rita’s response might be informed by Rita’s past. Fans of the show know Rita lost a son in the civil war, and Brugel notes her character would’ve loved to help raise a son. This is also why the conversation with Serena about the pregnancy seems to “gut” her.

Brugel loved how Rita betrayed Serena Joy in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4

Rita alongside many children in Rita in 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 3
Rita in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Jasper Savage/Hulu

While fans may have initially thought Rita would side with Serena Joy in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 4, it’s clear Rita does not want to get trapped by the Waterfords any longer. And Brugel told Varley she was extremely pleased to see Rita put her foot down and sell out Serena Joy to Fred.

“I love what we came up with in the end,” Brugel said. “It was sort of a very slow simmer, just calmly telling [Fred] that she’s clean of him and she doesn’t need him. … She’s releasing him with more grace than how he handled his business, which I think is the ultimate insult. And then also spilling the beans and betraying Serena Joy at the same time.”

We’re excited to see what comes next for Rita in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4.

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