O-T Fagbenle returns to his role as June’s husband, Luke, in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5. In the previous season, June finally escaped Gilead and was reunited with her husband in Canada. However, Luke struggled to connect with her after the trauma she endured. In season 5, however, the pair appear to be getting back on track and uniting over a common goal.
[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Episode 5.]
Luke struggles to understand the trauma June has endured
When Luke and June reunite in Canada, their relationship is forever changed. Luke escaped Gilead years before June, and he struggles to help her recover from trauma he can never understand.
“Most significant others and family members who weren’t part of the trauma experience will have a difficult time understanding exactly what happened and its impact — and often they can become overwhelmed and frustrated with the sheer uphill battle of recovery,” wrote Jamie Cannon, MS, LPC in a Psychology Today article examining trauma in The Handmaid’s Tale.
“The Handmaid’s Tale does a fantastic job of illustrating the war that rages for victims and their loved ones without shying away from brutal changes that happen in relationships,” she continued.
Luke begins to understand June’s anger in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5
Luke struggled to understand June’s need for revenge against the people who hurt her. However, in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, June goes to therapy for her PTSD, and Luke begins to understand a touch of the anger she feels. In episode 4, he confronts Serena Joy with building codes. But when Serena asks why Luke never tried to cross into Gilead to save June and Hannah, Luke threatens to kill her himself.
“What Serena says after that really flips things for Luke,” O-T Fagbenle said while speaking to Entertainment Tonight. “And that’s coming to terms with these questions, which I think all of the audience members have asked about.” He added, “hearing it out like that, from [Serena] no less, is really kind of a pillar point for him.”
In a later scene, after June passes by Serena while holding a gun, she tells Luke that though she didn’t kill her this time, she won’t promise that she won’t do it next time. “I can’t promise I won’t either,” Luke says to June’s surprise.
This moment is followed by a sex scene between Luke and June in which the pair are intimate in a much different way than their season 4 interaction. “Their relationship does evolve a lot, and it’s lovely to see them connecting again and find their chemistry again, emotionally, spiritually, and sexually,” Fagbenle stated.
O-T Fagbenle says Luke and June are ‘on the same page’ in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5
In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, June and Luke are focused on a common goal — rescuing Hannah from Gilead. As Fagbenle put it to Entertainment Tonight, they are “on the same page about what they’re trying to achieve.”
Moreover, Luke isn’t just playing by the book anymore. Serena’s presence, seeing Hannah on TV, and understanding June’s rage contribute to Luke taking more decisive action. In episode 5, he crosses into No Man’s Land with June to try to get information about Hannah. Unfortunately, the pair are apprehended before they can return to Canada.
Don’t miss new episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Wednesdays on Hulu.