‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Recap: The Biggest Takeaways From Season 5, Episode 4 “Dear Offred”


In this week’s episode, June’s anger comes to the forefront as she learns some news about Serena. Serena, however, has begun to embrace her new role in Toronto. Back in Gilead, Janine begins to recover while Aunt Lydia makes a couple of requests.

Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.

Rising Tempers

June and Nichole are at the park when a woman approaches them. June doesn’t know her, but she knows June –- and Nichole. June tries to brush this off and gets Nichole ready to leave, but the woman continues getting closer to June, saying how lucky June is to have been in Gilead. Eventually, the woman is entirely in June’s personal space, and June stops her before she can get any closer to Nichole, including getting a bit physical. Later, June talks about this with Luke and her therapist, and none of them are quite sure how to prevent June from getting physical again.

Elsewhere, Tuello urges Serena one more time to accept the offer for asylum, but Serena doesn’t want to be an American citizen. After saying so, Tuello officially releases her from custody, though she can only stay on Gilead property. So, a driver, Ezra, brings Serena to the Gilead Information Center. Meanwhile, Tuello goes to tell June, Luke, and Moira what happened. He first offers no helpful intel on Hannah before dropping the Serena news. When he leaves, Luke is ready to fight, but June is eerily calm.

That night, June digs up her gun (which, as a reminder, was buried underground, in winter) and heads to the info center. Supporters stand outside, and Serena watches. June parks a little bit away and tries to cock the gun, but it doesn’t work. Instead, she drives closer, gets out of the car, and stares down Serena before leaving. Serena is a bit rattled, but Ezra assures her the building has plenty of security. When June gets home, she tells Luke what happened and how she feels. Luke offers reassurance by way of thinking they can shut down the building for code violations. They need to try, for Hannah.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Handful of Threats

Serena reaches Commander Lawrence and mentions invitations from consulates that were rejected on her behalf, which Lawrence doesn’t really seem to care about. Serena reminds him about the negative perception of Gilead, and he eventually sways a bit more towards her ideas. He then mentions what happened with June, reminding Serena how things tend to go with her.

But Serena decides to antagonize anyway by sending June the official announcement of the info center’s opening. (She even addressed it to “Offred.”) When June receives it, Luke tries to calm her before she gets agitated; she still gets agitated and wakes Nichole. She goes to Nichole, calmer, and Moira finds her. She vents before Moira says that she agrees with Luke. They can’t do anything to ruffle feathers, and going after Serena isn’t worth it if June will lose her family.

Luke decides to take matters into his own hands. He goes to see Serena, tossing the building codes at her. He then mentions how June wants to kill Serena and that Luke will let her. He gives Serena three options: get shut down, get killed, or help with Hannah. Serena has no intention of doing any of those three and makes the Hannah part especially clear. Before leaving, Luke threatens her once more.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Goin’ Through Changes

Back in Gilead, Janine is slowly recovering but is frustrated. She asks Aunt Lydia about Esther, and Aunt Lydia says it serves Esther right that she hasn’t woken up. Despite what she says, Janine comes to Esther’s defense. When Janine is released from the hospital, Aunt Lydia admits that Janine was right about Esther and should’ve listened. She wants Janine’s help with the other handmaids. Janine is reluctant, but Aunt Lydia says that she wants to catch problems early and with more compassion.

Prior to Janine’s release, Aunt Lydia goes to see Lawrence, who wants her to get the handmaid system running smoothly again. Aunt Lydia shares a reform idea she has: the handmaids would stay at the Red Center, and commanders would only go there when it was time for the Ceremony. Lawrence doesn’t think it will work and shuts her down.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Trouble in New Gilead

At the Gilead center, Serena is doing a photoshoot while things outside are getting pretty intense between her supporters and opposers. June pulls up, working gun in hand, and shoots it into the air after a man punches Moira. Luke stops her before she can do real damage and takes her away. Meanwhile, Ezra escorts Serena out. The four run into each other, and June moves for the gun but ultimately doesn’t use it again. When she and Luke get home, Luke gets a call that the center was shut down due to construction violations. Later, June burns the announcement.

Ezra drives Serena to a large house, and a woman, Mrs. Wheeler, ecstatically greets Serena. She prays over Serena’s stomach, and Serena seems rather uncomfortable with the whole thing.

New episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale release every Wednesday. Find our season 5 review here and keep up with the rest of our coverage here.

Julia is a writer/editor/content assistant for Nerds who joined the team in 2019.

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