Warning: Article contains spoilers from Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale.
The second season of Hulu’s Golden Globe-winning series, The Handmaid’s Tale, offered up exciting twists and turns that all came to a boil in the Season 2 finale, which came out on Wednesday. Yvonne Strahovski is the actress who plays the woman we sometimes can’t help but hate, Serena Waterford. She recently sat down with TV Line to talk about the finale episode as well as what the future holds for her character.
Season 2 definitely saw Serena show more of her humanity towards June/Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss. The two even shared bonding moments throughout the season where it looked like Serena was finally beginning to understand her handmaid’s pain with the life that was forced upon her.
The true beauty of their relationship was shown in the finale when Offred comforts Serena after her husband, Commander Fred Waterford, played by Joseph Fiennes, barbarically gave the Gilead council his blessing to chop off his wife’s finger as punishment for reading the Bible out loud.
“I wasn’t expecting the finger thing,” Strahovski said. “That was surprising to me, a very pleasant surprise. I mean, in terms of the material I get to work with. Not, obviously the act of losing a finger,” she adds.
However, the biggest moment for Serena in the finale by far was when she sacrificed her own happiness by giving up her daughter, Nichole, to Offred so they could escape Gilead for good.
Getting Offred out of Gilead seemed to be the mission of Season 2 all along. With a plan hatched by Nick, her secret lover and Nichole’s biological father, and the Marthas, Offred is presented with the real chance to finally escape with her daughter.
As she makes a run for it, she is stopped by Serena, who at first is unwilling to let her take Nichole with her. However, at the end, Serena knows that Gilead won’t offer her daughter the chance of a good and happy life, which Offred points out when she tells her that Serena herself knows that the baby girl can’t grow up there.
Strahovski recounts the pivotal moment when her character began to lose faith in the community she so proudly defended at first.
“From Episode 8 really, from the beating scene, I think that’s the beginning of the end of a bunch of realizations and confrontations that really break her down to be able to do something like handing the baby over in the end.”
Fans will remember that in the eighth episode, Serena’s husband beats her with a belt for handling his work affairs without his permission while he was recovering in the hospital from injuries caused by the bombing attack.
Now that Serena let Offred take their baby girl, the question now becomes, will she regret her decision come Season 3?
TV Line hints that producer Bruce Miller foresees Serena quite possibly showing some “remorse” over her decision.
“I don’t know really, if she’s going to turn back and want the baby back again,” she says. “I could see that happening in an emotionally distraught kind of way, kind of like, “What did I do? This was my one chance.” In that nonsensical way,” she adds.
Strahovski’s character’s desire for a child was imminent since the first season. In Episode 11, Serena and Fred get into an altercation in which she blatantly tells him that all she ever wanted was a baby.
Strahovski also recounts on how her character decided to rally the wives of Gilead behind her to take the stand and proclaim that the children of Gilead should grow up being allowed to read, presenting her case in front of a panel of men, which leads to disastrous consequences.
“I do think it’s a moment of her relishing this moment of taking a stance that is really, truly for the greater good and knowing in that moment that perhaps, even though none of them are going to listen to her, she will make a bold move and read from The Bible to prove a point. And that’s something that she can live with. That’s something that she did do to try to do something for her daughter.”
You can watch Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale in its entirety on Hulu while Season 3 is expected to premiere sometime in 2019.