‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4: June and Moira’s Friendship Has Changed in a ‘Really Painful’ Way, Samira Wiley Says

June and Moira have been separated since the end of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 saw them finally reunite. In a recent interview, Samira Wiley explained why she thinks June and Moira’s friendship has been damaged during their separation. And she said the change is “really painful” for the two women.

[Spoiler alert: This article contains spoilers from The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4.]

Samira Wiley as Moira in a blue vest, orange beanie, and light grey zip-up turtleneck sweater. She holds Elisabeth Moss face in her hands, who plays June. Moss wears a yellow hoodie and has dirt and blood on her face. From season 4 of 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Samira Wiley and Elisabeth Moss | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Do June and Moira reunite?

Season 4 episode 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale, “Chicago,” delivered one of the most exciting plot twists of the series. After Gilead bombed Chicago, June was left likely concussed and searching for Janine in the rubble. As a cover of Coldplay’s “Fix You” plays, someone walks slowly toward June through the dust of the explosion. It looks like it could be Janine, but in the world’s best case of good timing, it’s Moira.

Moira was in Chicago to help her girlfriend, Oona’s, humanitarian group. Moira’s looking for survivors when she sees her best friend for the first time since she escaped Gilead in season 1.

Moira acts fast to get June on her boat to Canada in episode 6. She’s hellbent on saving her friend, but June doesn’t want to leave without Hannah. Moira reminds her of everyone waiting for her in Canada — Luke, Rita, Emily, Nichole. She reluctantly sneaks onto the boat with Moira, who then has to explain what she did to Oona.

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Does June get out of Gilead in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4?

When Moira snuck June onto Oona’s boat, she didn’t know it would stop at a Gilead checkpoint before reaching Canada. The episode was full of tension as everyone debated what to do with June.

With the Gilead checkpoint impending on the horizon, June tries to steal a lifeboat to go back to Chicago. She doesn’t want to put the group at risk, but mostly she can’t stomach leaving Hannah behind. And she doesn’t want to face Luke without their daughter. The resulting confrontation between Moira and June shows Moira how much deeper June’s trauma has gotten during their separation. It makes Moira realize saving her friend won’t be the end of the difficult times, as much as she wishes it would.

Wiley told Elle their friendship will continue to be tested in the season’s remaining episodes. And the realization that their friendship will never be the same is “painful.”

After going through unthinkable trauma in Gilead and experiencing survivor’s guilt for multiple seasons, Wiley and Moss wondered while preparing their reunion scenes, “Who is Moira? Who is June? Who have they become now?” As Wiley explained:

“What we realized in those conversations is that June is a different person, and Moira is a different person. They’re just different people [who’ve gone] in completely different directions. Seeing each other in that moment and realizing throughout that episode, but also in subsequent episodes, that we’re not on the same page anymore is really painful and something we get to see play out throughout the season.”

Samira Wiley as Moira in a blue vest, orange beanie, and light grey zip-up turtleneck sweater. Elisabeth Moss as June lays her head on Wiley's shoulder wearing a yellow hoodie and wrapped in a blue blanket. From season 4 of 'The Handmaid's Tale.'
Samira Wiley and Elisabeth Moss | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

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June is ‘the missing part of the puzzle’ to Moira’s healing

Of course, Moira still has hope they’ll eventually get the peace they all deserve. But her unexpected reunion with June made her confront the hard truth about how much things have changed for the first time. And it ended her relationship with Oona. In an interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Wiley admitted Moira previously had an idealistic vision of their reunion. She said:

“June is the missing part of the puzzle to Moira’s happiness. Moira now has this really easy lifestyle that she’s figured out with Luke and their co-parenting of Nichole; she has a love interest where it just happens to be easy — until June comes and kind of messes that up. Moira is fighting for the ease. But when she finds June, she’s coming up against the realization that it’s not going to be as easy and it’s not going to be as much of a fairytale as she wants it to be. And that’s difficult for her because she has carved out her life away from June and it’s worked out — not perfectly, but pretty well — and so she’s wanting June to fit into that somehow.”

Showrunner Bruce Miller told Variety June’s acclimation to Canada will be traumatizing. Now that she can turn off survival mode, she’ll have to start processing everything Gilead put her through. Her friends and family will have to learn how the new June operates.

As he said, “It’s a long and bumpy a** road from gut-wrenching trauma to any kind of normalcy.”

Season 4 Episode 7 of The Handmaid’s Tale debuts May 26 on Hulu.