‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Yvonne Strahovski Said It ‘Feels Good’ for Her Character, Serena Waterford, to Turn on Fred

Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale is quickly approaching its end, and fans can’t wait to see what occurs with all of the major players. We’ve been following June Osborne since the beginning, as she was initially abducted by Gilead to become a handmaid for the Waterfords. Now, June’s planning to take her daughter, Hannah, out of Gilead along with over 50 other kids who are trapped in the totalitarian state.

Fans have been rooting for June since the beginning, but we can’t forget about the saga of Serena Joy Waterford. She and husband Fred Waterford helped make Gilead into the oppressive, horrific place it is — but it seems Serena’s ready to turn things around. Here’s what Yvonne Strahovski, the actress who plays Serena, is saying about Serena’s latest betrayal of Fred. [Spoiler Alert: This article contains plot points from Episodes 11 and 12 of Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale.]

Serena Waterford just betrayed husband Fred Waterford for visits with Nichole

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Serena Waterford is a complex, smart, and selfishly-motivated character — and every once in awhile, fans get a glimpse of who she truly is under her green overcoat. Due to flashbacks in the show, we know she used to be a writer before being known as the commander’s wife in Gilead. And while she misses the luxuries she once had as a free woman, nothing trumps her desire to have a child of her own.

After June gave birth to her daughter, Nichole, while under the Waterford’s watchful eye, Serena mothered Nichole as if the baby was hers. At the end of Season 2, we see Serena allowing June to take Nichole out of Gilead — but it seems Serena has since changed her mind. Now, she desires time with Nichole in whatever way she can get it. And most recently, we saw she arranged Fred’s arrest as they drove into Canada. In exchange for Fred, it appears she struck a deal where she’s now an asylum seeker turning in a war criminal — and she also gets to see Nichole.

Yvonna Strahovski said it ‘feels good’ for Serena to turn on Fred

Yvonne Strahovski and Joseph Fiennes
Yvonne Strahovski and Joseph Fiennes | Erik Voake/Getty Images for Hulu

There was a point when Serena really did love Fred. But her desire for motherhood (and perhaps a bit of justice for the way Fred treated her) was enough for her to get her husband arrested. And Strahovski has also spoken out about Serena’s behavior in Season 3 of the show.

As Strahovski told Harper’s Bazaar, “Yeah, it feels good to have done it finally, both for me as the actress and for Serena! …  She was never really trusting of Fred, coming out of Season 2, so it’s been very much a 12-episode arc with this one.”

We can’t forget that in Season 2, Serena had her finger amputated after reading a Bible quote in front of Gilead’s male leaders. And while Serena kept her distance from Fred after the incident, Strahovski told the publication that she was nervous Serena would give in to Fred’s affection and remorse. While we know Mrs. Waterford offers up her husband, it definitely wasn’t an easy decision to make. “I do think that there’s a huge mourning component to what she’s doing,” Strahovski said, adding that it’s “bittersweet.” “There’s so much satisfaction, but also so much loss and devastation.”

Strahovski thinks Serena still cares for her husband, however

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You’re not her mom.

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While Serena may have made the decision to turn Fred in, there’s still a ton of complex feelings there. Strahovski told Variety, “I don’t think it was easy for her to walk away from Fred. … I think it’s really difficult because I think she still cares for him — I think she really wanted it to work. So it’s saying goodbye to something that she is going to mourn, and she does feel guilty about the decision she made.” Even so, Serena knows exactly what she had to do to get closer to the child she believes is rightfully hers. And it had to result in Fred’s arrest.

Serena may be settled in Canada, but her struggle is far from over. Even during her supervised visitation with Nichole, June’s friend, Moira, reminds Serena that June is Nichole’s real mother. “That’s so hard for her. That’s the only reason she went there, and it’s so slow and she doesn’t have the time with the baby that she imagined. It’s so anticlimactic for her,” Strahovski said.

What will become Fred as a result of Serena’s actions, and what will occur with baby Nichole now that Serene is in such close proximity? We’ll have to wait and see.

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