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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4: Serena Joy’s Apology to June Was Just ‘Strategy,’ Yvonne Strahovski Says

'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 reunited June and Serena Joy, and it wasn't a good time for Serena. Actor Yvonne Strahovski says Serena Joy's apology was all about 'strategy,' not about feeling actual guilt about June and Gilead.

Consequences are on the horizon for Serena Joy Waterford in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4. She and Fred are still in prison in Canada when June escapes Gilead. And just like Rita did earlier this season, June paid Serena Joy a visit in her cell. The resulting scene was an explosive performance from Elisabeth Moss. And Yvonne Strahovski showed viewers what a creator of Gilead looks like when they beg for mercy. Strahovski says Serena Joy’s apology to June was far from genuine. Rather, it was all about strategy.

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

Elisabeth Moss as June looking angry and holding Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford's crying face in her hand in 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4. Moss wears a navy blue crew neck and Stahovski wears a cream colored blouse.
Elisabeth Moss as June and Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

June and Serena Joy’s confrontation in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 was ‘pure, absolute venom’

Strahovski gave details about the intense confrontation between June and Serena Joy in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 7, “Home.” The scene is near the end of the episode. In it, June visits Serena Joy in her cell. And Serena Joy has the audacity to ask June for forgiveness.

Serena Joy is pregnant and desperate to get out of prison. She’ll do whatever it takes to keep her baby safe. Only now does she have an inkling of an understanding of the torment she helped Gilead put the Handmaids through. And oh boy, does she hate being in this vulnerable place. June offers her no forgiveness, nor should she.

“Do you know why God made you pregnant?” June says. “So that when he kills that baby inside your womb, you will feel a fraction of the pain that you caused us when you tore our children from our arms. Do you understand me? Do you understand me?!”

Screaming “do you understand me” was a reference to Season 1, when Serena Joy trapped June in her room for two weeks because she got her period.

Serena Joy’s apology was all about saving herself

June’s powerful lines were in response to Serena Joy wanting to make amends. Between Rita betraying Serena Joy after their visit by telling Fred about the baby and June throwing her pleas for forgiveness right back in her face, Serena Joy is realizing she’s up sh*t’s creek without a paddle.

Her apology is a desperate plea, but it’s not coming from a genuine place, according to Strahovski. Serena Joy’s doing what she thinks will make her look better ahead of her legal battle. As Strahovski told The Wrap:

“I love that Serena, this is the first time you’ve really kind of seen her begging for something. But again, the complexity of what’s behind the begging is, what was interesting to me is, I’m not sure that she’s genuinely, truly begging. I think there is definitely an element of that. But I think in true Serena fashion, strategy is always her motivation. And I think strategy has a lot to do with this moment of begging for forgiveness.”

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford looking up at someone in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3 Episode 13
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy Waterford in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3 Episode 13 | Jasper Savage/Hulu

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4: Serena Joy’s Pregnancy Could Be ‘Worst Case Scenario,’ Executive Producer Says

June’s comments to Serena Joy were ‘pure, absolute venom,’ Yvonne Strahovski says

June saw right through Serena Joy’s motives and said the thing that could hurt her the most. And Strahovski thought the scene was effective.

“It’s really moving. There’s so many things going on in the scene,” she said. “I’m not sure that we’ve ever seen pure, absolute venom from June to this level. And I loved in the moment when we were facing each other doing the scene, I thought that was incredibly impactful in the moment.”

The confrontation was the first scene Strahovski and Moss shot together in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 because of the pandemic. Talk about a co-worker reunion.