‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Boss on June’s Conflict About That Serena Moment

Elisabeth Moss in 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Spoiler Alert
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[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Episode 7 “No Man’s Land.”]

When it was time for Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) to give birth, it only made sense that it was June (Elisabeth Moss) by her side on The Handmaid’s Tale in the latest episode.

“If you had Yvonne Strahovski and Elizabeth Moss on your cast, you’d be thinking about this all the time, believe me,” showrunner Bruce Miller tells TV Insider of the two sharing that moment, which is a happy one even though nothing between them can be joyous given their history. “But we didn’t want to reach for anything.”

Fortunately, he figured out how it made sense to have them together story-wise. “I was really thinking about Serena, about who’s the only person in Canada she really does trust in a certain way or respects. So I think that maneuvering herself to be with June when she gives birth plays exactly into the way that she feels about June, that June is super competent,” he explains. “And so I think that once they end up being together, Serena gives herself over to that kind of fairly easily. But it does seem to be a natural progression of their relationship in some way because even if they are enemies, they’re intimate.”

Yvonne Strahovski in 'The Handmaid's Tale'

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Serena does at first send June away, though the other woman returns. Then, after giving birth, Serena tries to make June take her son, Noah, and leave her there. But in the end, June does take Serena and Noah to the hospital. Once there, however, unbeknownst to June at first, Luke (O-T Fagbenle) calls the authorities. Serena is detained by Canadian immigration and since she’s an undocumented person, she doesn’t have the immediate right to a lawyer. The detention facility doesn’t have infant care, so Child Protection Unit will oversee Noah’s care. The episode ends with Serena yelling out to June and begging her to not let them take her baby.

But June doesn’t seem as happy about that turn of events as Luke had expected. “I think that June and Serena’s relationship changes and grows through the season, but I think most of the story that I’m trying to tell there is about June versus Offred, not June versus Serena,” Miller says.. “Offred would be cheering. June feels bad. So you see it in her that some part of her is like, oh my God. She had such venom for this woman. She was wishing this could happen to her, this woman who was causing her so much pain.”

But after it did happen, Miller thought of two things. “June is not cruel. She can’t watch that, seeing how upsetting it is. She doesn’t like it when she gets it. You finally get that revenge, you finally say the nasty thing, and it’s not as fun as you think,” he says. “But the other thing is, she also knows Serena saw her like that and was okay with it. June is upset. Serena wasn’t that upset. So it’s also a point where June is going, ‘And look at her so upset. Who the f**k does she think she is? She doesn’t deserve to be this upset.’ That’s kind of another layer in it, just another reason to hate Serena. She didn’t give a s**t when June was going — how could you not care when June is going through this? If you’re a person who has the capacity to feel that way?”

This also plays into something that Miller likes to do on The Handmaid’s Tale: what they say they will. “Then by the time you get to it or when it happens, it doesn’t really feel the way you think it’s gonna feel. And so June says, ‘Can they just take her f**king baby away from her? Take that baby away from her.’ In Episode 2, she says, ‘put her on the wall. They should take the baby, make her a handmaid, and put her on the wall,’ and everybody’s cheering. And then they take the baby and everybody’s horrified. What I’m trying to do is make sure that you feel the conflict that June feels with those moments. And because the level of complication makes it more involving for the audience — trying to figure out exactly what they would do and is she mad or is she furious or is she resentful — it’s all that stuff that makes you lean closer to Lizzie.”

The Handmaid’s Tale, Wednesdays, Hulu