Warning: This article contains spoilers for season 5 episode 2 of 'The Handmaid's Tale' and The Testaments.
Blessed be the Fruitloops!
The season 5 Handmaid's Tale premiere rocked the fandom, displaying a profound portrait of two women processing the events of the season 4 finale. On the one hand, there was June, who was reeling from her night in the woods after tearing Fred Waterford apart with her bare hands. Then there was Serena, who was ripped out of her cell and given the news of his death while en route to an ICC safehouse.
Serena's reaction to Fred's death was one for the history books, really.
She demanded to see Fred's body and as soon as she did, she transformed into a howling beast, tearing the sheet off the gurney for Tuello to see what June was capable of. She was bawling, shrieking, and whimpering, a sight to be seen. If words could kill, Tuello would've been worse off than the eviscerated remains of her husband, and Fred looked like he had been eaten by piranhas.
Tuello deserves an honorable mention. He was not fazed one bit during the entire episode, and he really took a lashing. The man is made of stone. Somehow he was at fault, of course. When he first visited Serena, she accused him of shipping her husband off to his death and receiving 30 pieces of silver for it just like Judas. In the morgue, she went wild because he couldn't protect her from June, which was true.
June could get to her once she was released, and June was definitely going to hunt her down, which made it all the more fun. But Serena is not meek or mild. We all knew that whatever she was planning to do to June would make a salvaging look like a spa day.
If anyone can think of a fate worse than being torn apart by a pack of former handmaids, it's Serena.
She demands to bury Fred in the country that he founded, declaring that any decent nation would allow it. Tuello is resistant at first, but he goes along when she plays the grieving widow card.
When she arrives in Gilead, she blackmails Nick and Lawrence into defending her against the council. She plans on turning her husband's funeral into an international event, so the world can see that Gilead has a human side.
This gets good.
Many fans will remember at the end of season one when Serena realizes that June is pregnant. She forces June to sit in a car outside Hannah's school so that June could see Serena visiting with her daughter. June was almost as upset as Serena was in the morgue. Serena was making a point: as long as her baby was safe, so was June's.
At the end of the funeral procession, we see Hannah walk up and hand Serena a bouquet. Serena graciously takes it, bends down, and kisses Hannah on the forehead, before smiling into the camera. That smile will be burned into the minds of every member of the fandom for the rest of eternity. Fans will get goosebumps from it years later. She was directly taunting June.
June watched the entire thing from half a dozen billboards in Toronto's version of Times Square. She was just about to move on with her life. She had her first normal moment since the murder, and all of a sudden Hannah and Serena were everywhere she looked.
Serena was making herself very clear. Hannah was no longer safe.
We Know What Purple Means
In the sneak peek for episode 3, we're given a quick glimpse of June talking on the phone to Nick. She wants to know why Hannah is wearing purple.
The color signifies a new stage in Hannah's life.
Hannah is getting older. Some estimates put her at 13. On average, girls can start having children around twelve years old, so according to Gilead, she's either fertile or about to be fertile, which means it's almost time for marriage. Thanks to The Testaments, Margaret Atwood's sequel to the original novel, we know a little bit about how this works.
At Hannah's age, daughters graduate domestic arts school and enter into a school specifically for wives, where they will learn how to be dutiful mistresses for their husbands. It's advanced homemaking with a heavy dose of propaganda, and it's terrifying for the girls.
We don't know where Hannah is specifically in her development or her education. She could be graduating into wive's school, in which case it'll be a little early for marriage. But she could actively be attending wive's school, which would mean that the aunts are getting closer to finding her a suitor.
What Can We Expect As Hannah Matures?
In The Testaments, wive's school is a very strange time for girls. There's a lot of trauma and anxiety attacks, especially surrounding the act of intimacy. It's so bad that some of them have serious phobias and even biological reactions to the idea of marriage.
The girls have all grown up surrounded by men with guns who are constantly barking orders at them. The last thing they want is to be alone with one of those animals, and they don't get to pick who they marry. Aunts choose suitors, and mothers have the final say.
Atrocities are par for the course. They can expect beatings and everything else under the sun. It's no better than becoming a handmaid, and it could be worse depending upon who they're saddled down with. At least handmaids have a chance to move away from abusive homes. Wives are stuck for life.
The girls are as naive as small children, but they're smart enough to be scared. Some are smart enough to realize that if they keep attempting suicide they can become aunts instead. But they would have to get permission from their mothers after the suicide attempt. If they didn't, the aunts would slip them a sedative on the night of the marriage and advise keeping them from sharp objects.
Hannah will become an aunt in training, but we don't know how she's going to get there. The Testaments is a long way off. Her journey wasn't well documented, and there's already so many contradictions between the show and the book that it's impossible to know what will happen.
How Will Hannah Be Affected By Serena's Vengeful Streak?
Serena is going to go for the jugular. She already has access to Hannah and the Mackenzies, and her stay in Gilead is believed to be temporary, so it won't take long to figure out what she plans on doing. In the season's second trailer, we see Hannah walking in a line with a group of girls who are all wearing white. They're in a room that looks like it's part of the red center, but the beds have white lace tents attached to them.
Gilead's color system might be confusing at first, but we know what white means. Eden was wearing white when she married Nick.
Hannah could be getting married. She could also be facing a suitor or a suicide attempt. Those three fit best in the context.
Serena could try to arrange a match with Commander Judd, who compulsively kills the young girls he takes on as wives. He has an entire menu of poisons he chooses based on his whims.
In the Testaments, Hannah's stepmother tries to force her to marry Commander Judd and Lydia intervenes, blackmailing Mrs. Mackenzie into allowing Hannah to become an aunt.
This feels like the most likely scenario. Lydia is going through changes in her beliefs. In the episode 3 summary, it says that she will start to question her harsh treatment of the girls. June is going back into Gilead. Maybe the two make a deal and Lydia agrees to help Hannah. Perhaps Serena is the one to arrange the match, and June finds out and approaches Lydia.
It's hard to say, and there are a lot of options. Those are just the ones that stand out given what we know of The Testaments. The only certainty is that Serena is gunning for Hannah, and whatever happens is going to set the stage for the upcoming spin-off.