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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5: Showrunner Reveals Serena Joy’s Reaction to Fred’s Demise

Serena Joy's reaction to Fred Waterford's death in 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 finale is yet to be seen. But showrunner Bruce Miller promises eager fans will see her reaction in season 5, saying she'll be filled with 'white-hot' rage and seeking revenge. But not for the reason you'd think.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 delivered one of the show’s most shocking and cathartic episodes ever. The ending opened up the plot for season 5, making way for lots of exciting opportunities. But one thing fans wished they could have seen in the finale was Serena Joy’s reaction to Fred’s death. But don’t worry, showrunner Bruce Miller confirmed The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 will be all about her reaction.

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

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

Serena Joy will feel ‘white-hot fever of revenge’ for June, but not for the reason you think

Fred met a grizzly end in the season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale. June and other ex-Handmaids killed him in a Gilead-style “salvaging,” as seen in past seasons. And as June promised herself, she hung Fred’s body “on the f—— wall.” To say it was a long time coming is an understatement. June informed Serena Joy of her husband’s death by mailing his wedding ring and severed finger to her prison cell. But her reaction wasn’t shown. The last viewers saw Serena Joy, she was waiting for Fred to join a Zoom call. (Art imitates life.)

Miller told The Hollywood Reporter The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 won’t delay showing how she feels. However, Serena Joy had no love left for Fred by season 4. She sees his death as more of a strategic blow to her plan than anything else. Miller said:

“She wants the future to be better for her coming son and she absolutely wants to be that child’s mother, and she’s not really in a position to get that yet. Paired with that now is going to be a white-hot fever of revenge. Even though Serena didn’t like Fred and they have a complicated relationship, it’s now a June-Serena thing. She will want to find a way to metaphorically or realistically get June for this. June hit her house and she wants to hit her back. There’s that absolute toe-to-toe, woman-to-woman venom, but also, what is the relationship between two women where one killed the other’s abuser? It’s complicated.”

Basically, Fred’s plea deal was her road out of prison. And June took that away. This means war.

Serena Joy will use Fred’s death to her advantage in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5

In an interview with The Wrap, Miller explained Serena Joy’s state of mind going into season 5. And he said she will use her husband’s violent demise to her advantage.

“Think of how much she managed to get out of Live Fred,” Miller said. “Think of how much she’s going to get out of Dead Fred, who doesn’t even talk back. I think there’s one side of the tragedy, there’s one side of losing someone who was her partner.”

Miller added Serena Joy is mostly angry that June bested her. He said:

“On a certain degree, it is easier now for her to use Fred, because she doesn’t have to deal with Fred. And with the memory of Fred, she can make it whatever she wants. So you’ve got that. But also the thing that I really like is, more than anything, Serena hates to lose. And she lost to June in the biggest way. There’s a basic level of respect between these two women, because they both see each other as very strong and intelligent. When you throw something like this in, I just think Serena is never going to be able to let go of that aspect of it. You know, ‘That b—- beat me.’ Excuse my language.”

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy and Joseph Fiennes as Fred talk together in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 Episode 8, ‘Testimony’
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena Joy and Joseph Fiennes as Fred in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

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

Serena Joy is next on June’s list in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5, Elisabeth Moss says

June and Serena Joy had their own venomous scene in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4. In episode 7, Serena Joy begged June for forgiveness in a strategic move.

“I think she believes that God is going to turn around and kill her baby if she doesn’t beg for forgiveness,” Yvonne Strahovski told Entertainment Weekly. “It’s not because she is really that sorry, I don’t think.”

In a separate interview with The Hollywood Reporter, Elisabeth Moss said June has a short list of priorities in season 5.

“She wants to bring the whole system down,” June said. “And with that would come saving Hannah, saving Janine and the proper revenge on Serena.”

It feels as though the entire series has been building up to a final showdown between June and Serena Joy. With The Handmaid’s Tale possibly ending with season 5 — and with Fred out of the way — that showdown seems closer than ever.