‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: The Most Underrated Characters on the Series

The Handmaid’s Tale is full of characters who are way more underrated than they should be. Obviously, June (Elisabeth Moss) is the main character, but there are a number of others who steal the show when they get screen time. There are spoilers ahead for The Handmaid’s Tale.

Janine

Janine (Madeline Brewer), who is also known as Ofwarren, Ofdaniel, and Ofhoward, first met June at the Red Center. She has a rebellious streak in her and even loses an eye at one point for her efforts in Gilead. She suffers a mental breakdown when she is taken away from her child and reassigned. She abducts her child and stands on a bridge with the baby in a crazy set of circumstances. June is able get the child out of Janine’s arms before she jumps into the water, only to survive the whole thing. Janine even has to go to the Colonies at one point, but makes her way back to Gilead to once again join her fellow handmaids in sexual slavery.

Rita

Amanda Brugel
Amanda Brugel | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Rita (Amanda Brugel) is a Martha in the Waterford’s household. She becomes very close with June over time and eventually finds her freedom in Canada against all odds. She helps with Mayday and gets numerous children out of Gilead and to the safety of Canada. She is a unique character that never seems to show her feelings for long. She has a gift for playing it cool even in the most stressful situations. Hopefully, season 4 will show Rita’s new life in Canada.

Emily

Emily is so much more than a minor character in the series. Dr. Emily Malek, or Ofglen (Alexis Bledel) as she is known in slavery in Gilead, escapes her chains and finds freedom in the end. After facing absolute torture and being forced to endure the harshest conditions in Gilead and in the Colonies, she has to return to sexual slavery, but not for long. She escapes with the help of June and Commander Lawrence with June’s baby, Nichole. She finds safety and comfort in Canada as she tries to rebuild her life.

Moira

Moira (Samira Wiley) is a brazen young woman who calls June her best friend. They are initially separated but then find each other again on a few occasions in captivity in Gilead. Moira escapes from the Red Center to wind up being forced to work at Jezebel’s. Eventually, she finds a way to escape to Canada and reunites with Luke, June’s husband. Together, they help raise baby Nichole and teach her to remember her mother.

Luke

Luke (O-T Fagbenle) is June’s husband who escapes to the freedom of Canada. Eventually, he is reunited with Moira and he is also able to raise June’s daughter Nichole as his own. He hasn’t stopped fighting to get his daughter Hannah and his wife back, and he attends protests to make the point known. He even confronts Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) at a protest with absolute fury.

Commander Lawrence

Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) is an underground member of the resistance in Gilead. He helps orchestrate getting June, Emily, and Nichole out of Gilead, but June ends up staying behind to try and find her daughter and ends up in Lawrence’s household before long. He can be extremely cruel but he also helps June get the children out of Gilead. In the end, Lawrence is a heavily conflicted character who knows he can’t leave or he’ll be tried for war crimes.

The Handmaid’s Tale is full of underrated characters that arguably should have more screen time. Hopefully, season 4 will give these characters a bright future.