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The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 sets up quite an intense battle between June and Serena. Though June managed to kill Fred, Serena isn’t giving up any power she has left. Impressively, she manages to negotiate an elaborate funeral for Fred, with a shocking surprise at the end.

[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Episode 2.] 

Nick Blaine, Serena Joy Waterford, and Joseph Lawrence walk in a funeral processional in 'The Handmaid's Tale'
(L-R) Max Minghella, Yvonne Strahovski, and Bradley Whitford in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Sophie Giraud/Hulu)

Serena hosts an elaborate funeral for Fred in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5

In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Serena is determined to hold an elaborate funeral for her deceased husband, Fred. She travels to Gilead and is displeased with the arrangements. “I think we need to make Fred’s funeral an international event, broadcast across the globe,” Serena declares.

She manages to persuade Commander Lawrence to get the other commanders to boost the visibility and grandeur of Fred’s funeral. “She convinces Lawrence that it will raise the stature and the legitimacy of Gilead,” said Bradley Whitford in a featurette. When June and Luke catch sight of the broadcast, they witness a shocking surprise.

Here’s why Serena wanted Hannah to be visible at Fred’s funeral

Fred’s funeral in Gilead is truly elaborate, and Serena is at the very center. “The funeral is all about Serena,” said executive producer Bruce Miller in a featurette. “She choreographs it so that it makes her look powerful.”

A group of purple-clad young girls are also present at the event. One steps forward to present Serena with a bouquet of flowers, and Serena touches her cheek and kisses her forehead. From the television screens in Canada, Luke and June realize this girl is their daughter Hannah.

Executive producer Yahlin Chang explained why Serena included June’s daughter in the footage. “She has Hannah enter the frame with her, and it’s a way of her saying to June, I have control over your daughter,” Chang said.

Hannah gives Serena a bouquet of flowers in The Handmaid's Tale Season 5.
Jordana Blake as Hannah and Yvonne Strahovski as Serena in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5: 4 Things to Remember Before the Premiere

This isn’t the first time Serena has used Hannah as a pawn. Early in the series, when June was pregnant with Nichole, Serena took June to Hannah’s new home. Serena talked with Hannah but refused to let June out of the car to see her daughter. “As long as my baby is safe, so is yours,” Serena told June.

The war is on between June and Serena

At the end of the funeral scene in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Serena also gives an almost imperceptible smile. “Yes, she wants to honor Fred, but this is Serena Joy’s stepping in and getting on the throne, and she’s masterful,” executive producer Warren Littlefield told TVLine. “She’s powerful. She’s a great chess player.”

Bruce Miller adds that at the same time, June and Luke are in Toronto thinking, “‘She’s got her hand on my kid!'” From June’s face, it’s clear that this means war.

“Season 5 is all about that gamesmanship,” Littlefield said. “These are two people who hate each other, want at times to kill each other, have the ability to, and then there’s also this fascinating respect that comes into play.”

Don’t miss new episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Wednesdays on Hulu.