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

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This week on The Handmaid’s Tale, Luke and June brave No Man’s Land in order to gain some more intel. Serena begins to settle into life at the Wheelers’, but things don’t quite go as she was expecting.

Warning: Spoilers beyond this point.

Into New Territory

June, Luke, and Moira head to the Mayday outpost after June received a call that a Guardian has more information about the wife school. However, they get re-routed when they hit a group of Canadians protesting immigration. When they get to the outpost, Lily tells them the Guardian can’t get through. With no other options for now, Luke wants to go, and June is going with him.

As they walk, June has flashbacks to when Hannah was first taken from her, but she insists she doesn’t need a break. Later, they spot a man hanging from a tree, and it’s Luke’s turn to feel a little uneasy. They reach the spot where the Guardian is waiting. He wants to take them somewhere else, but June and Luke are reluctant to follow. Begrudgingly, they go anyway.

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Good and Bad Ideas

At the Wheelers’, Serena asks Ezra about Mr. Wheeler, but he is “very busy” and not around. Mrs. Wheeler, however, is, and is still excited that Serena is there, though she seems to be making Serena a bit uncomfortable. She later introduces Serena to a group of other women who fawn over Serena and view her as a beacon of hope and faith. We then see a flashback of the early days of Gilead, as taken children were waiting to be placed in new homes. Serena and Mrs. Putnam walk through some sort of facility as Mrs. Putnam expresses her disgust for people wanting to go back to the time pre-Gilead, and for the children, as she’s wary about their backgrounds. Serena seems to have a bit more sympathy for the children. She asks if Mrs. Putnam is planning to get a handmaid, but she’s even more abhorred by that than bringing home one of the children. Serena also says that she and Fred are going to keep trying on their own.

In the present, Serena takes a call from Commander Lawrence and, to both of their chagrins, Commander Putnam. Putnam isn’t happy with Serena’s lack of progress. She attributes it to June and Luke and that someone needs to deal with them. Lawrence brings the conversation back on topic. Serena proposes they turn the center into one focused on fertility; people care about children. Lawrence seems intrigued but Putnam immediately disregards her and ends the call. Afterwards, he begins to mock Lawrence about an idea he had: New Bethlehem. It essentially welcomes Gilead dissenters back into the country, but little else is revealed about it. Putnam hates the idea because he doesn’t want the world poking around. Lawrence argues that if they keep Gilead secluded, the country will die. Putnam doesn’t really care and says the other commanders won’t agree either.

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Serena walks the grounds and reaches the main gate where one of her supporters has brought flowers. Serena wants to talk with the woman, but Ezra says Mr. Wheeler doesn’t want the gate open. Serena walks elsewhere, and we see a flashback of when she met with Aunt Lydia to choose a handmaid (and that Mrs. Putnam also caved).

The mysterious Mr. Wheeler finally makes an appearance when he finds Serena and shares that he and Gilead’s commanders are moving forward with her idea. Only Serena won’t be involved, you know, for the sake of the baby. Speaking of, he gives Serena some prenatal pills and doesn’t budge until she takes one (creepy much?). Before he leaves, Serena asks if she could have a cell phone for business reasons. Mr. Wheeler says no, due to “security concerns.” Serena understands but seems confused and unsettled.

Bowling for Info

The Guardian brings June and Luke to a bowling alley he’s set up shop at. He explains that Hannah is at a wife school that tries to get the girls married off as soon as possible. But as long as Hannah is still there, she’s not married. He doesn’t have much more info but gives June and Luke a thumb drive with everything he does know. June and Luke are ready to leave, but the Guardian says it’s not safe until nighttime, and Luke gets June to stay.

Luke and the Guardian, who shares his name is Jaden, bowl for a little bit. They and June begin to talk, and Jaden reveals that he doesn’t remember much about before; Gilead is essentially all he knows. Luke lightens the mood and plays the electric piano before pulling June to dance, and they enjoy their time before they have to leave.

The trio heads back but Jaden steps on a mine. It explodes. He’s alive, but severely injured, and the sound signalled a group of other Guardians. June and Luke want to stay and help, but Jaden begs them to run. So, they do. But just before they cross back into Canada, they are captured and separated.

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.

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