One of the most polarizing figures on Season 2 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale is without question Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski), the matriarch of the Waterford household for which the show’s protagonist June is carrying a child. While the show’s second season contextualized Serena as largely complicit in the Republic’s rise, it also raised questions about whether she herself fully understood the ramifications of the authoritarian regime she was instrumental in helping build.
The season’s finale, aptly titled “The Word,” further expands on Serena’s increasingly strained duality. And specifically as it pertains to one of her final scenes of the second season, Serena is without question more vulnerable now than at any other point on The Handmaid’s Tale. Speaking to her story arc during a media Q&A on Monday, showrunner Bruce Miller hinted that big things are in store for Serena in Season 3 of the dystopian drama.
Spoilers for Episode 13 of The Handmaid’s Tale follow below.
Viewers of the finale will know that Serena’s decision to let June escape with the child at the end of “The Word” will also know that it puts her in an extremely vulnerable position. Miller implied that it also raises questions about whether she’ll renege on that decision when considering that she regards the child (named Holly by June and Nicole by Serena) as her own.
“That she genuinely loves the child, it can’t grow up in Gilead, she has a choice to make. Is she gonna find something else to focus on? Is she going to stay bereft, and empty, and live in Gilead? Or is she gonna find a way to get her daughter back? Is she gonna change her mind about her daughter and try to get her hands on that child again? All those things are possible. So I think that going forward with Serena you want to follow that incredibly intelligent [character], a woman with a force of personality, and tunnel vision that is unrivaled.”
Miller went on to add that Serena may not be “so quick to let go of the idea of a child just because she made a decision in a moment.” As for what the baby represents to Serena, Miller pointed to motherhood as arguably the last remaining part of Serena’s life that justifies her allegiance to the Republic of Gilead, noting that “she’s been kind of left with this one thing that she’s allowed to want, which is a child.”
Whether she’ll try to get the child back — and indeed, whether the baby will be safely transported outside of Gilead — could be one of Season 3’s most compelling twists.