Warning: This article contains spoilers for season 5 of 'The Handmaid's Tale.'
'The Handmaid's Tale' franchise is not known for its happy endings. Atwood transports us to hell, shows us the true meaning of suffering, and then maybe in a century or so, she'll give us a hint. She's completely unapologetic about it. There were fans that had been waiting more than 20 years to see what happened to June after season one. It was suggested that she might've gotten out, but nobody was sure if she made it across the border.
In true Handmaid's Tale fashion, the series made sure that she didn't. Instead, she was herded onto a gallows, muzzled, cuffed, and forced to endure a mock hanging. It was the most powerful, awe-inspiring scene I have ever witnessed, and that was just the second season.
They knew they had to deliver, and they did. They're going to do the same with the sixth and final installment. But this time we have some demands. Some characters are sacred and untouchable. Certain conditions must be met. June needs to find peace and safety, and it has to be moving and thought-provoking.
Not One Hair on Janine's Head is to Be Harmed
One day, when the series has ended and The Testaments spin-off has run its course, fans will begin to realize Janine's significance. It will be like Van Gogh's meaningless swirls transforming themselves into prized paintings post-humously. Never doubt her inner strength. Know that her faith has power, and remember her ability to inspire others.
Also, know that she isn't insane, or even necessarily mentally ill. This was explained in a roundabout way in season one when June confessed to Serena that Janine was losing touch. Serena replied that it could happen sometimes to the 'weaker ones.' Some people experience psychosis when they are brainwashed and traumatized. It's a common occurrence in cults. There's always a few members that have to be escorted out quietly. It's not schizophrenia. It might not even be a lifetime disorder. If Janine left Gilead--and we should all pray that she does--she could probably spend the rest of her life without ever hearing a single voice.
It's been hell watching her crack, degrade, and suffer. She's been through so much, and she's so pure and beautiful. It would be impossible to endure seeing her executed or maimed. Fortunately, Lydia is out for blood, and she might have it if she releases her evidence against Lawrence. He knows that. He wouldn't do anything to hurt Janine--at least he'd better not.
We Need to Love Lydia
As many are already aware, the spin-off will center around Aunt Lydia. For some, that's a terrible prospect. When we first met her, she was a viper, aching to strike at any second. She took hands, tongues, and eyes. She seemed to enjoy handcuffing Alma to a lit stove; she even mocked the poor girl, feigning pity. It's been said that she's a sadist, and it's hard to deny that accusation. Atwood herself pointed it out 15 years after Lydia's redemption arc.
The showrunner Bruce Miller referred to her as the undying spirit of Gilead, so how do we love her? How do we see the world through the eyes of someone whose hobbies include amputation and whippings? That's the problem, and it's going to have to be solved convincingly because she is pivotal.
This was already tried with Serena, and many people believe that the series failed. Sure, we felt bad. We didn't necessarily want her to be a slave, but even when she was dressed in normal clothes her cold, vindictive attitude still came out. Maybe that was the effect the show wanted to have on us. There was nothing kind or good beneath the surface, just a wardrobe from the Gap and a blank smile. We weren't supposed to love her. We were supposed to hate the way wives in Gilead were treated. With Lydia, it's different. There is goodness there. She's brainwashed. But she actually does care about doing what's right, and when her moral compass is pointing north, watch out. She's a powerful woman and a fierce ally.
Rita and Moira Need to Be Safe
In the first epilogue, we learn that Canada began purging refugees from its borders, and they eventually signed an extradition treaty to have those who broke the law in Gilead sent back. This treaty was teased when Emily was interviewed by the Swiss in season three.
Rita and Moira are in a difficult position. They didn't leave on the train with the other refugees, and they're both considered criminals in Gilead--Rita for Angel's Flight, and Moira for murdering a commander. They could easily be sent back, but they're both very perceptive. They know the system, and they know when to run. There's a chance that they'll manage to find Mayday and get to safety, or maybe Tuello will help them go underground. They may even be allowed to go to another country, perhaps England.
Either way, both of them have gone through so much. They are more than just minor characters. They're good, and fans love them. We want them to find safety.
Nick Needs to Find Peace
No character has received more unnecessary bad press than Nick Blaine. The rumors and assumptions about him are wild. When asked to comment, fans will invent scenes that didn't happen. They'll insist that he was responsible for June's torture. They'll write entire essays, giving him a nonexistent backstory. They'll swear up and down that he was radicalized and turned into a misogynist--any number of things that never actually occurred on screen.
We don't fully understand him or know him, and it doesn't seem like we ever will. But he loves June. He would fight for her, and Nichole deserves to meet her father at some point in her life. If nothing else, he should at least find a moment of peace. That might not be possible. He seems to have revealed to the world that he's in love with June, after punching Lawrence in the face for having her run over. Now his wife, Rose, hates him, and he's sitting in a cell, all because he defended the woman he loved.
It's not likely that he'll stay there. In the spin-off, it's believed that he survived. But he seems to be adrift between two worlds, two ways of life, and two women. There's angst, anger, and a sense of confinement--and not just in jail. He needs to leave, go to Canada or England--take a step back and feel what it means to be normal. He might never have had that experience. He went from extreme poverty and a bad home life to working for the Sons of Jacob. That's unjust. No modern adult should ever have to live without knowing what it's like to be free.
Serena Needs to Give Up Her Beliefs
It's safe to say that Serena came out of the womb holding a cross. Nobody could possibly be as stubborn as she is without having been indoctrinated at birth.
She consciously acknowledged that her rights--and the rights of millions of other women--had been taken away. She'd sulk around the house and lash out over being shunned from Fred's business dealings. They took away her ability to read and write. Her husband beat her in front of their slave. She had bruises all up and down her back, and then they amputated her pinky.
This woman has suffered. She has stared into the sun and seen the truth, and she is consciously choosing to lie to herself because it feels good. She went back to Fred. She returned to Gilead after his funeral. She refused American citizenship, claiming to be Gileadean. She even promoted Gilead when she was being held prisoner by the Wheelers, and she seemed passionate about the cause. It has to stop. We have been toiling over this for five years. If she doesn't give up her beliefs, it will make our entire struggle with her seem like pointless suffering.
June Needs to Play a Pivotal Part in the Fall of Gilead
We have spent the past five years watching a slave undergo every human rights atrocity imaginable. When she trembled, we trembled. When she cried, we cried. When she couldn't take it, neither could we. That is real pain, real turmoil, and real suffering. It's not just onscreen. The viewers themselves have been through a lot, and they deserve more than just treason and coconuts in Hawaii with Serena. We need a battle.
All of the right factors are there. June has contact with the Americans and Mayday. People know her. They see her as a symbol. She has done great things, and so far she has refused to stand up. That had better be over. You don't dangle a Mayday carrot over our heads for half a decade, show us their hut, then forget that they exist. It's the same with the American Airforce hangar. Not going to happen.
June's time has come. By her hand, we had better see some bloodshed, and it needs to be historic. This is June. They can't waste her, send her through a failed battle, then have her hide Nichole and go on the run. She deserves the right to deal Gilead one more serious blow, and it needs to count. At least make her a piece of the puzzle--if not for her, then for us, because we have been through too much to get a mediocre ending. Let us see June's potential.