“In Gilead, self-control was the essential survival skill,” reads Bruce Miller’s script for the Season 4 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale. “June’s an expert,” adds the details, which comes from the episode, which is titled “The Wilderness” and launched on Hulu on June 15.
Culminating in the death of Fred Waterford (Joe Fiennes), the conclusion of this season’s 10-episode run of the series based on Margaret Atwood’s classic novel saw the Elisabeth Moss’ June Osborne finally take her revenge upon the commander for all the sexual assault, torture, pain and patriarchal-fueled misery he and Gilead subjected her and many other women to over the years …and June wasn’t alone.
“It’s a very interesting episode to write because you have to remind the audience how despicable Fred is right before you kill him, but if you have to remind the audience, they haven’t been watching at all,” showrunner Miller told Deadline of the finale. “On the other hand, it’s almost like, June is coming to the realization herself.”
“And, I think we end the episode five minutes before she reckons with what she just did,” Miller adds. ”He is dead, but it isn’t the end of her relationship with Fred Waterford, it isn’t the end of relationship with her anger towards Fred Waterford. It’s all about what happens when you get what you always wanted.”
Filmed in Toronto under strict Covid-19 safety protocols, “The Wilderness” finale tied together a lot of the themes and threads of Handmaid’s Tale’s fourth season. But, like any drama worth its bones should, there was a hard turn near the end.
For most of the Liz Garbus-directed episode, it looked as if Waterford, now ensconced in Canada, and his pregnant wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) would slither free of any reckoning for crimes committed in the now totalitarian theocracy that was once America. As Moss’ now free Osborne desperately tries to construct a new life for herself in the Great North, Fiennes’ bureaucratic and opportunistic character has scored a deal for leniency and a new start in exchange for providing information on how isolated Gilead really works.
Of course, it doesn’t end up as planned, and what the consequences might be will have to wait to be seen in Season 5 of the Emmy-winning show, which is now in pre-production.
Co-starring Samira Wiley, O.T. Fagbenle, Alexis Bledel, Bradley Whitford, Ann Dowd, Max Minghella, Sam Jaeger and Ever Carradine, the fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale debuted on April 27 with three episodes on the Disney-controlled streamer. The Handmaid’s Tale is executive produced by Moss, Miller, Warren Littlefield, Daniel Wilson, Fran Sears, Eric Tuchman, John Weber, Frank Siracusa, Sheila Hockin, Kira Snyder and Yahlin Chang.
Read Miller’s Season 4 finale script here: