‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: O-T Fagbenle Explains Why Luke Never Moved on After June Was Captured
In The Handmaid’s Tale, June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) was separated from her husband Luke Bankole (O-T Fagbenle) for several years. While June was in Gilead as a Handmaid, she fell in love with another man, Nick Blaine (Max Minghella), and the two had a daughter named Nichole.
Luke began raising Nichole along with June’s best friend Moira in the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale. Despite June telling Luke she would understand if he needed to move on, he chose to wait for her instead. June and Luke finally reunite in season 4 episode 6 of The Handmaid’s Tale, “Vows.” In an interview with ELLE, Fagbenle gave insight into why Luke waited so long for June.
[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for season 4 episode 8 of The Handmaid’s Tale.]
June told Luke to move on in season 3 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
After her daughter Nichole makes it to Canada safely, June manages to get a recorded message to Luke. In the tape recording, June tells Luke that Nichole was not a product of rape and is not Commander Fred Waterford’s (Joseph Fiennes) child.
June also tells Luke that she fell in love with Nick, and she encourages Luke to move on if that is what he needs, saying:
“It’s not easy to tell you this… ’cause I am ashamed. I had to build a life here. Of a sort. And you should, too. You deserve a life, a full life, Luke. You deserve love. And you’ll always have… You’ll always have mine but… I understand if you maybe need more than that. I need you to know that Nichole… She was born out of love. Her real name’s Holly. And her… Her father is a driver named Nick. You met him. He helped me to survive. I need to believe that you can forgive me. I’m not the woman you remember. She’s part of me. But I’m doing what I need to, to survive. You should, too.”
O-T Fagbenle explains why Luke never gave up on June
Despite June trying to convince Luke to move on, he never does. Instead, Luke continues to raise Nichole with the hope that one day June will escape with their daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake). Speaking with ELLE, Fagbenle says Luke never gave up on June because of “his optimism.”
“Well, I think one of the core attributes of Luke as a character is his optimism in the face of quite overwhelming evidence that he shouldn’t be optimistic. I mean, at the end of the day, he hasn’t started another relationship. He hasn’t gone ‘Oh well, you know what, my wife’s been captured by one of the most brutal regimes of all time, which doesn’t look like it’s on the edge of falling, and so I should just move on with my life,'” the actor told ELLE.
Fagbenle continued, “He hasn’t moved on. And that’s because he has indefatigable hope and resilience. That doesn’t mean it’s not hard for him, it doesn’t mean that it may not break him, ultimately. But it does mean that he’s going to do everything he can to rescue his wife and daughter to the best of his own incompetent abilities.”
Luke hopes his marriage with June will work out in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
In season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale, June and Luke have quite a bit of rebuilding to do. While Luke clearly wants to focus on reconnecting, June’s focus is on enacting revenge against Gilead. These differences demonstrate how much June and Luke have changed in their time apart. Still, Fagbenle told ELLE that he thinks Luke wants his family back together.
“I think for him, what he wants is to start his life with June, and to get his daughter back, and to build from there and to help them recover and potentially help others in the community recover from that trauma,” he said.
New episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale premiere every Wednesday on Hulu.