‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Joseph Fiennes Teases That Fred Will Apologize to a Major Character

On June 16, the season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale will premiere on Hulu. Anticipation for the episode is rampant, in part because actors from the show have spoken so highly of it. In The Handmaid’s Tale, Joseph Fiennes plays Commander Fred Waterford. During an interview with Pay or Wait, Fiennes revealed that Fred will have the chance to apologize to another main character at the end of the season.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for season 4 episode 9 of The Handmaid’s Tale.]

Fred Waterford sits in a blue chair with a wrapped present in his lap in 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Joseph Fiennes in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Fred Waterford feels ‘sorry’ for his actions in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Fiennes’ character is one of the main antagonists in The Handmaid’s Tale. The fourth season has shown Fred possibly facing trial for crimes he committed in Gilead, but in season 4 episode 9, “Progress,” Fred takes a plea deal in exchange for his freedom.

Recently, Fiennes took part in an interview with Pay or Wait. In the interview, he explained Fred’s motivations and revealed that Fred will have a touching scene where he gets to apologize to another character, saying:

“I think he’s evil, but I don’t think he’s sort of, two-dimensional cardboard cutout evil. I think he’s human evil, which is more terrifying to me. I think he’s complex. Can he redeem himself? He’ll come close. You know, there’s a lovely scene that he’ll have later on with one of our protagonists. And, you know, he will reveal how sorry he is. And I think there’s always been a part where Fred is horrified at his own actions, but yet you give him that mahogany desk and those military boots and the double-breasted suits and the position of power, and he’ll become the predator again.”

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Who will Fred apologize to?

Because Fred is a villain, there are a number of people he has wronged throughout the Hulu series. However, the two main characters who despise Fred the most are his wife, Serena Joy Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski), and his former Handmaid, June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss).

Given that Serena is currently pregnant with Fred’s child and June recently testified against Fred, both characters seem like likely options to receive Fred’s upcoming apology.

“I think certainly for Serena, what the pain that Fred has caused her probably leaves her completely shattered and empty for a long time now,” Fiennes told Pay or Wait.

While it is possible Fred could give a heartfelt apology to Serena, fans have already seen Fred apologize to his wife. In “Progress,” he admitted his mistakes in their marriage and encouraged Serena to write a book.

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June and Fred will have a showdown in the finale of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

“Progress” ended with June angrily reacting to the news that Fred will walk free thanks to his plea agreement. During an interview with TVLine, Fiennes shared that Fred and June will have a confrontation. With only one episode left, that scene will undoubtedly take place in the season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale.

“In terms of Fred and June, we will. One of my favorite scenes will encapsulate exactly that dynamic. This has been the season of [two-person scenes]. Because of COVID restrictions, we’re rendered to just two people in a room — but I have to say, it’s gotten richer because of it,” he told TVLine.

Fiennes continued, “We get to see wonderful moments with actors, and I love O-T [Fagbenle]’s opening up of Luke that we haven’t seen. The fallout you know of that relationship has been wonderful to examine. But we do get to see, in terms of Fred and June, one of my favorite scenes, if not the most favorite scene of the season for me, later on.”

New episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale premiere every Wednesday on Hulu.