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Handmaid's Tale S5E4 Dear Offred.jpg

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Recap: Junie, Get Your Gun

By Hannah Sole | TV | September 30, 2022 |

By Hannah Sole | TV | September 30, 2022 |

Handmaid's Tale S5E4 Dear Offred.jpg

Previously, on The Handmaid’s Tale: We met the women of Mayday, who get things done, unlike the Dude Spies south of the border, who continue to suck. Serena made a play for power in Gilead, but was sent packing back to Canada to work as a cultural ambassador of sorts. She arrives back in Toronto ready to live in luxury (and perpetual fear of June popping out of the shadows to murder her). “You’re under my eye now, bitch,” says June. Not out loud, technically. Here’s the recap for episode 3 if you missed it!

This week: You know that thing guys do when there’s going to be a fight? When they look like they are having a ‘who’s the tallest’ competition? And they’re all “Come on, then!” And there are people crying out “Don’t do it, it’s not worth it!” That. That’s what this week is all about. And we’re totally egging them on. Stuff’s going down this week! Spoilers are ahead; here’s one for free: in All-Out Action Week, there’s no sign of Nick. COINCIDENCE? I THINK NOT!



We start with a threat. June and Nicole are approached by a creepy weird woman who doesn’t blink, so you know she’s a wrong’un. “You’re so lucky you were in Gilead,” simpers Creepy Lady, eyeing up Nicole like a predator. A beat later and the simpering vanishes, replaced by “You don’t deserve her, slut! Whore!” This is, then, one of Serena’s fans, a Waterford Weirdo and Gilead Groupie, an involuntary childless, who like her incel counterparts, goes from needy to violent so fast you would worry about whiplash if you weren’t so busy running for your life. She does not know who she is messing with though. Sure, she knows June’s name, but the only sense she has of June’s reputation is from reading the Gilead Notes. June will tear you to pieces, Creepy Lady. Run away.

“Infertility takes a tremendous physical and psychological toll, especially in these times.”

Uh, Canadian Shrink, you probably don’t need to explain how people getting upset about the lack of babies leads to terrible things happening to a survivor of Gilead. Duh.

Early in the episode, we may have found Luke’s limits in Being OK About June Getting Murdery, as he looks genuinely concerned that June will go on another spree. Don’t be such a buzzkill, Luke. We’ve waited ages for this. He’ll change his tune soon enough.

Serena is finally (properly) released from custody because the Waterford deal held even though Fred was the one who turned and Serena is entirely unrepentant. There is a little reminder from Tuello the Walking Chin Dimple that she does not have diplomatic status, which I hope means she won’t be able to do (even more) awful things and play the ‘diplomatic immunity’ card later on. Serena is now surrounded by Gileadean Goons, driving her around, waiting on her, treating her like Queen of the Weirdoes. “I have God on my side,” she says. GET HER, JUNE. GET HER NOW. BLESSED BE THE FIST YOU PUNCH HER WITH.

Serena arrives at her new home, all teal paint and big windows, with an office downstairs and her home upstairs. It’s a new prison, but she doesn’t see it yet. She thinks of it as a palace.

Chin Dimple looks sad to see her go. Sigh. After that, he pays a visit to June, Luke and Moira, to admit that he didn’t speak to Hannah at Fred’s funeral, but thought she looked “healthy”, which is not the comforting line he thinks it is. Luke reprimands him for doing nothing, and Moira calls him out for his “bullshit” yammering. Then he makes it worse by telling them Serena is free, that Canada has unfrozen pre-war assets in an effort to make friends with their psychotic neighbours. CANADA! WHAT ARE YOU DOING?

“Get the fuck out of my house.”


But she’s just a harmless woman, stammers Chin Dimple, like a prize numpty. June tells him he’s a “fucking disappointment,” and he gets sassy, telling her her “expectations are unrealistic.” DUDE. She dated Nick! Her expectations can’t be any lower!

Luke hits his OH HELL NO moment and vows to put a stop to Queen Serena’s House of Horrors. June waits until he falls asleep and digs up the gun she buried a couple of episodes ago. There are two types of people in the world: the ones who want to talk to the manager, and the ones who want to shoot the manager in the face. June heads to Serena’s new digs intending to shoot her, but Chekhov’s her gun is filthy and jammed up, so she just glares at her through the window. The Waterford Weirdoes stand around stupidly, holding their stupid candles. Serena is shaken up. Not so smug now, are you?

Luke calms June down, saying she doesn’t have to shoot Serena, because he’s got a plan of his own, which involves building codes and stuff. “It’s gonna work,” he says, grinning. Hmmmm.

Serena’s new job is boring, cold and tense, much like she is. She bristles at Lawrence’s instructions, and has to work her persuasive mojo to get permission to throw an afternoon tea. He warns her about June, telling her to stay away. Don’t poke the bear. Don’t provoke her, or underestimate her. Serena does the old classic “I’ll take that under advisement” trick, then immediately pokes the bear, because she’s an idiot who can, and she thinks she’s got God on her side instead of just a few goons and weirdoes. Serena invites her to the opening of her new Cultural Center, and addresses the invitation to Offred. GET HER. GET HER, JUNE.

I love how none of the arguments against murdering Serena have anything to do with the morality of murder. Just ‘you’ll lose Nicole’, ‘you won’t be able to save Hannah if you’re in prison’, and ‘don’t make the neighbourhood look shady’. Love it.

But let’s give Luke his time to shine. He’s met Serena before, when she came to visit Nicole and he tolerated it for a brief moment. This time he is on her turf armed only with 15 building code violations. After a thorough grope from Goon Number 1, Luke is allowed an audience with Queen Serena. “My wife is going to kill you, and I’m going to let her,” he says. LUKE! “So, you can get kicked out, you can be killed, or just help us get Hannah back.” LUUUUUKE!

This might have worked with some people, but not Queen Serena, who calls him an unfit parent and a coward, and reminds him that June slept with Nick. Another example of Serena going for the petty vicious blow, which leaves Luke ready to kill her himself. At this point, you have to wonder if she has a death wish after all. She’s the sort of person whose last words, muttered smugly into the face of the person stabbing her, would be “I win.” GET HER. GER HER, LUKE.

Serena’s photoshoot is boring, cold and tense, much like she is, but it’s livened up by the arrival of June and her friends, who are there for a dance off with the Waterford Weirdoes. The Weirdoes flee when they see June’s gun, freshly cleaned courtesy of a helpful YouTube video. At the sound of a shot, Serena does the same. Knowing that June is seconds away from shooting Serena, Luke drags June away; unfortunately, they immediately come face to face with Serena and Goon Number 1, who are sneaking out the back. GET HER. GER HER, JUNE!

She doesn’t of course. Not yet. There’s a lingering look at Serena’s bump, and I think it’s fair to say Serena’s days are numbered. June might be ready to kill Serena, but killing a pregnant woman is a step too far. She’ll wait until Serena’s given birth. She might need to get in line, because Luke is 100 per cent on the same page now, and they are closer than ever before. No more fear. No more moral quandaries. And for a while, no more clothes. The couple that slays together, stays together.

Serena is terrified for now. That’s a small win. And for what it’s worth, Luke’s plan did work. The building has been shut down by the fire department, and Serena’s tenure as Queen lasted about a day. Now homeless, she finds herself hustled off to a mysterious safe house. Her host: Mrs Wheeler, who is either a genuine Gileadean in hiding or a Waterford Weirdo in Wife cosplay. Serena lives to be petty another day, but for some reason, I have a slight suspicion that the Wheelers might be bad news. No idea why…


Meanwhile, back in Gilead

Lydia is still trying very hard to be Nice New Lydia, but only to Janine, who is appalled by Lydia’s attitude to Esther. “She’s a child,” says New Janine, who is in too much pain to beat about the bush and behave demurely. New Janine tells New Lydia lots of home truths about her tactics, showing her that her behaviour is coercive, sadistic and violent.

“I see you! I see who you really are. I’ve still got one good eye, remember? Are you going to take that one too?”

Lydia thinks about this, and pays Lawrence a visit to float a new idea. He’s keen for the Handmaid programme to run smoothly now that more international interest is headed their way. Lydia has a plan to reform the system, to prevent ‘incidents’. She floats Handmaids Hotel as an alternative, so that Handmaids can stay in her care rather than be posted in households, and there is either a massive plot hole here or Lydia has been Up To Something for a long time. When she recaptured the escaped Handmaids in season 4, she was taking them to a place I referred to as Rape Camp For Wayward Handmaids, which was pretty much the same thing she just suggested to Lawrence. Team Farm were on their way to it when they beat up Aunt Lydia and ran across the train tracks. So, either Lydia wasn’t in fact taking them to camp because it didn’t really exist, and she had something else in store instead, or her great new idea isn’t really new; maybe she’s asking permission for something she has done already. Maybe she’s just re-branding it for her New, Kinder Red Center. Maybe — and bear with me because this is a leap that flies in the face of all the evidence — maybe the transport they escaped from was Mayday all along, and if they’d stayed in the van, most of Team Farm wouldn’t have been splatted by a train. Or maybe the writers just forgot.

Anyway, it’s all for nowt, as Lawrence says “ew, no, Commanders can’t kid themselves that this is holy if you do that.” Plus, he wants Handmaids in houses being all alluring and EWWWWW. Lydia’s grossed out and angry too. GET HIM, LYDIA.

Janine is released from hospital into Lydia’s care and Lydia has another opportunity to prove that she’s had an epiphany.

“I should have listened to you, about Esther. Janine, I need your help, with the other girls. You know them, and understand them in ways that I do not. Will you watch over them, and tell me when any of them are struggling?”

“Aunt Lydia, if I do, you’ll just do something horrible.”

“No. I want to do things differently. I want to address any problem early, with more compassion. We can shepherd these girls together, and keep them on God’s path.”

With that, Janine returns to the Red Center, to the warm embraces of her fellow Handmaids. It may be that she’s on her way to being an Aunt, but for now, she is one of them and she is loved. GET HER ICE-CREAM AND CUPCAKES, LYDIA. START THERE.

Next time: June and Luke go for a nice walk in the woods, and I’m sure that nothing bad will happen.