‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4: Why All the Deaths Are Completely Necessary

If you’ve become a fan of The Handmaid’s Tale, then you may have noticed that the show doesn’t shy away from…killing. Though the main character, June, still lives, there are a lot of characters who we can’t say the same for. The show has received some criticism that it has been cruel or gory for cruelties sake, but according to the showrunner, all of the Handmaid’s Tale deaths have been absolutely necessary.

Elisabeth Moss in new season 4 episode 3 of 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Elisabeth Moss as June in season 4 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ season 4

*Spoilers for season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale ahead*

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 picked up right where it left off with the Handmaids who survived the season 3 finale as fugitives after helping children flea Gilead. The audience is only given a brief reprieve of June enjoying freedom before the show is back to being an adrenaline pumping rollercoaster ride.

Will any of the dead characters be brought back?

At the end of “The Crossing” two Handmaids, Alma and Briana were killed brutally by being hit by a train. Their deaths came right after two Marthas, Beth and Sienna, were also killed. But the Marthas rejoin the Handmaid’s Tale cast in flashbacks.

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“I would definitely envision that if possible,” showrunner Bruce Miller told The Hollywood Reporter of bringing the Marthas back. “They are still great members of the family and playing those roles is hard. You have to do a lot with your face because you aren’t allowed to say very much. You say, ‘Yes, sir,’ when all you mean is, ‘Fuck you.’

“Those roles are very difficult and they really did a lot of work last year to make that story work,” he continued. “As sad and terrible as that was, I was glad to bring them back so centrally into June’s story because she had such a close connection with them. Because they’re so strong. Look at them — they don’t beg, they don’t break down. They are just tough as f*cking nails. It’s so impressive.”

Were all the ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ deaths necessary?

For some fans, the deaths, especially of the Handmaids hit by the train, seemed unnecessary. But Miller, doesn’t think so.

“I look at it from the flip side,” he told the outlet. “I’m thinking about what would happen. They’re in a terrible place; a place where nobody gets out. Nobody gets out. It’s hard to get out and this is what hard looks like. Hard is hard; it’s terrible. I wanted to make it realistic in terms of, what would the cost be to June?

Overall, the show couldn’t make the Handmaids’ escape or June’s decisions too easy.

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“In the beginning of the season, she talks about how she wants to be a rebel and a hero,” Miller continued. “Those are nice words. But she is dealing with real human beings, making real decisions, and you have to drive that home for her. Sh*t happens to people because she makes these decisions. The reason why this is a season where lots of stuff happens is because she makes active decisions. She makes them happen, but there’s a huge cost.”

New episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 air every Wednesday on Hulu.