Earlier this month, “The Handmaid’s Tale” was renewed for a sixth and final season.
It looks like June’s story is slowly drawing to a close as she struggles in the aftermath of her decision to kill Commander Fred Waterford at the end of last season.
In a recent interview with The Hollywood Reporter, creator and showrunner Bruce Miller opened up on how they approved season 5 and where they wanted June’s story to go.
‘The Handmaid’s Tale Creator Talks The ‘Puzzle’ Of Figuring Out Season 5
After killing Commander Waterford, June’s story could have got any number of ways. Bruce Miller told the outlet that there were “two parts to this puzzle” as they approached the introduction to season 5.
“One is exactly the question you’re asking: Where do I want her to go? And the other question is: What did June expect to happen? Because we’re not talking about someone who lashes out blindly, especially in the stories we’ve seen,” he said. “She’s very careful most of the time. Even when she makes a bad decision, she makes it carefully. And sometimes with just the stuff she has, she’s not making a bad decision.”
“So when you come to the premiere, the biggest thing that’s driving me is: What exactly does June think is going to happen next?” he continued. She’s not someone who doesn’t have a plan. Everybody has a plan. Even if your plan is that you’re so angry you are going to scream at someone, you still eat lunch after. You think past the big thing — everybody does.”
“So the story is about the difference between what she thinks is going to happen, and what happens, and how she feels about that. How much she depends on being punished in order to make the next step occur,” he added. “The next step, she thought, would be a nice, long break, where she didn’t have to think about her husband anymore. She’d be completely safe; three meals a day, for maybe two years, maybe 10. But she didn’t think she was going to get to go home!”
Bruce Miller Says That June Wanted To Go To Jail As A ‘Break’
After coming to terms with what she’s done, June turns herself into Canadian police, only to be released, since the murder took place on disputed territory.
“She thought this was the end of a chapter, and it doesn’t turn out to be, which is much harder for her to deal with personally and on a day-to-day scheduling basis,” Miller explained. “She assumed the next few years were taken care of, like the last few years. She was in prison, and she’s going to be in prison again.”
He also discussed the flickers of PTSD that June experiences throughout the episode, saying, “She’s still adjusting. It’s been a brief time and that’s important to think about.”
Miller revealed that he and the writing team have done their research on trauma and want viewers to keep in mind the difference between “television time and real time.”
“She’s in a very complicated situation, where she’s retraumatized,” he explained. “But it’s something that a lot of people go through in big and small scales every day, and the show is about the cost of that. That’s the thing that June’s story continues to be and will always continue to be even after The Handmaid’s Tale ends: How do you recover from the handmaid time? What do you turn into after the handmaid time?”
“That’s the long-term story, combined with stories of motherhood and what it means to be a refugee or someone without a country,” he added. “All of those stories kind of swirl together and none of them are going to reach an end, but you do research on them and want them all to feel real.”
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5 Will Give Fans A Glimpse Of A ‘Really Scary Serena’
He also discussed June’s new adversary this season: Serena Joy. Miller teased, “I think she has just as much passion for Serena as she did for Fred, but I don’t think she recognizes that Serena is going to try to survive. Serena is not the villain in Serena’s story. She’s the winner in her story.”
“I think that June and the audience assumes it’s going to be June pounding on Serena, but Serena has no intention of that, and she has cards to play. She’s not going to sit back and just wait for June to come to tear her apart,” he continued.
“I think June doesn’t realize all of that. She had the impact on Serena that she wanted to have; she terrified her,” he added. “She just didn’t think about what came next, and what came next is a really scary Serena.”
New episodes of “The Handmaid’s Tale” are released each Wednesday on Hulu.