Episode 10 of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 begins this finale with confirmation that Fred Waterford is getting out. In fact, he’s proving to be a valuable asset for Canada. June is understandably bitter and she’s overcome with rage at the news of his release.
Luke does his best to try and explain out the positives but it’s no good. Moira soon learns that Fred is going to be at Geneva for his immunity hearing. June is apathetic to all this, knowing that he’s going to be released regardless of what she tries to do.
Moira isn’t done fighting though, and decides to drum up funds to send June there to fight in person until the very last moment. June eventually opens up to Emily later on though, struggling to hold back her grief as she tells her she’s unable to let go. “A good Mother would be able to,” She says, holding back tears.
That evening, June heads up to visit Fred in custody. He continues to pedal the same ridiculous narrative, framing himself as the victim. He does apologize for what happened to Hannah though, but his sorry falls on deaf ears. Sure, June keeps up the pretense of being understanding but she most certainly is not. This continues when June toasts to her past.
After their meeting, June meets Lawrence as they make a deal over Fred. Lawrence has the names of 22 women who were working with the resistance. In exchange for Fred’s life, Mark Tuello is given the opportunity to save all 22. June convinces him to take the deal, but instead decides to take it to his boss.
Well, en-route to Geneva he’s suddenly stopped and Guello takes Waterford into his jurisdiction. “I have rights,” The Commander ironically says, as June prepares for what’s to come next.
Symbolically she takes one last look at the house, where Moira and Luke are with Nichole in the kitchen, before walking away.
Fred is taken out to the familiar bridge, where all these Marthas pass by as he’s taken to Gilead to face judgment. Lawrence is there to greet him, as Nick is the one to take him into custody. He’s chained up, as Nick takes him out to No Man’s Land. June happens to be there. Oh no…
She kisses Nick passionately in front of Fred, whispering thanks as June is left alone with Fred. She makes him choose between a gun or a whistle but when he chooses neither, she blows the whistle and forces him to run. As he does, all these victims of Fred and the other Commanders come racing out the woods and chase him through the forest.
When they do eventually catch up, the women all beat him down. Blood spatters everywhere as the women let out all their pent up frustrations on this man.
As night turns to day, all these women walk away from Fred Waterford, who’s strung up and left headless on the wall.
June and the others leave, while being sure to send Serena a package. That package holds the severed finger of the commander and his ring. The mail is intercepted by the courier before it can reach her. It’s a shame actually as it would have been good to see Serena’s reaction to this.
June heads home and cradles Nichole; a final 5 minutes before leaving. Luke knows what she’s done, figuring it out by the blood stains across her face, and backs up against the wardrobe. With wide-eyed shock, he slumps to the floor.
The Episode Review
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 bows out with revenge served swiftly and Fred Waterford meeting a grizzly end. It’s befitting for his character that he’s destroyed by the very women that he was instrumental in destroying. It also raises big questions around the justice system and justice itself.
Is it really just to allow Fred Waterford to go free in exchange for information? Is that really more important than the lives and livelihood off these victims? It’s an interesting question and one that sees the show lean into the revenge June has been concocting all this time.
With all the pieces in place, she uses her connections and newfound power to bring Fred out to No Man’s Land. It’s a really well worked sequence too, and it also shows how far June will go to exact her revenge.
Life with Luke is another life away now, and not one she can return to any time soon. Besides, her real feelings lie with Nick. Nick is the one that’s been with her through these trying times and he’s the one who understands the horrors of Gilead inside and out. That’s something Luke will never understand.
The ending leaves everything wide open for season 5 too, with an ominous sign of things to come. June will probably have to face the music over what she’s done and one can’t help but feel Waterford’s death will be a martyr of sorts for these Gilead fanatics.
Could we see a similar situation arise in Canada? We’ll have to wait to find out but for now, season 4 bows out with a strong finale and an enticing sign of things to com in the future.