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The Handmaid’s Tale Creator Addresses Fans’ Criticism Of June

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O-T Fagbenle and Elisabeth Moss
O-T Fagbenle and Elisabeth Moss [Image @handmaidsonhulu/Instagram]

First of all, spoiler alert for those who have yet to watch the fifth season. As fans who have already watched it know, season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale is pretty bleak. In fact, after doing everything she could to reunite with her husband and daughter, June (Elisabeth Moss), is becoming an even darker version of herself.

Bearing in mind what June has gone through as Offred, surely women, particularly, can relate? However, despite this, criticism of the character has been directed at the show’s creator, Bruce Miller and he has responded.

The Handmaid’s Tale on Hulu

After season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale concluded on Hulu, the show’s creator, Bruce Miller has personally addressed fans’ criticism over its protagonist’s arc.

Elisabeth Moss as June/Offred in The Handmaid's Tale
Elisabeth Moss as June [Image @handmaidsonhulu/Instagram]

The Handmaid’s Tale was inspired by the novel of the same name by author Margaret Atwood. Moreover, the series is set in a bleak near future where birth rates have dropped to almost zero. Due to this “fallen” (make that fertile) women are enslaved and repeatedly raped in an official ceremony to give children to their owners.

Meanwhile, talented actress Elisabeth Moss stars as the show’s protagonist, June Osborne. She plays the handmaid assigned to Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and is named Offred (as in of-Fred).

Before being enslaved, June tried to flee the city with her husband, Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and their daughter Hannah. However, regrettably, June was taken away to become a handmaid, while the couple’s daughter was gifted to one of the commanders and his wife.

Meanwhile, as a handmaid to Commander Waterford, June becomes pregnant with an “Eye” that she has befriended (Nick) and her baby daughter becomes the child of the Waterfords. Naturally, as a strong-minded woman, she hasn’t taken this horror lightly and has been going to great lengths to reunite with Luke and both of her daughters.

The darkness of Season 5

Yvonne Strahovski as Serena in The Handmaid's Tale
Yvonne Strahovski as Serena [Image @handmaidsonhulu/Instagram]

It should be noted that The Handmaid’s Tale has gone way past the story in the original novel, but Margaret Atwood is firmly behind the continuing story.

Now in the fifth season, June is evolving into a darker version of herself, including murdering Commander Waterford in Canada, where she is a refugee from Gilead. However, many fans believe June has become too dark and is now a villain, rather than a heroine.

However, speaking to Digital Spy, The Handmaid’s Tale creator, Bruce Miller, says June isn’t a villain. He said:

I don’t think that way, because I don’t think people get a stamp – in real life, I don’t know who’s a villain and a hero. Who gets a stamp on their head that says ‘villain’ or ‘redeemed’? I don’t believe in any of that stuff.

Miller said that the series’ “good” episodes are ones in which June does things she knows she shouldn’t do. He added:

I look at it very much more in terms of point of view, and what June wants to happen. There’s oftentimes when what June really wants to do is what she knows she shouldn’t do, and those are the good episodes. Because that’s kind of a lot of how we spend our time, wanting to do ‘X’ and trying to convince ourselves not to.

June killing Fred

Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski
Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski [Image @handmaidsonhulu/Instagram]

Referring to a scene in season 5, Miller says:

So that, in the small way of ‘eat this chocolate bar’, translates to the big way of ‘kill Fred’. When June thinks: ‘I’ve got to kill Fred’ – you want it so much. You know it’s not good for you, but you want it. And then when you’re done, for a while you feel great. And then she starts to realize: it’s another chocolate bar.

During the latest season, June’s actions lead to a face-to-face with Waterford’s wife, Serena (Yvonne Strahovski). Miller explained that when you realize it’s another chocolate bar, not only is it dangerous for June, but she is no longer in control of when the fight ends. Looking at both strong characters, Serena and June, he added that “what you’ve got is, all of a sudden, she’s facing an active enemy.”

Responding to fan’s reactions to The Handmaid’s Tale

Speaking of fans’ reactions and criticisms, Miller points out that the show isn’t a moral fable. He says it is the story of a woman who has endured unspeakable things. Miller added that she doesn’t need to be validated, saying:

It’s not a hero’s journey and it’s also not June Osborne’s moral tale. It’s The Handmaid’s Tale.

Miller then strongly reacted to the criticism, saying he follows June and if June does things that people think are bad, but she thinks are good, then “screw you.” He added that it’s June’s show. It isn’t his show and it’s not the fans’ show and she is not asking for their approval.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 is available in full for streaming on Hulu.

Readers, are you a fan of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale? Bearing in mind what the protagonist has gone through, do you think her character is now too dark? Let us know your thoughts by dropping a comment below.

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