‘The Handmaid’s Tale': Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski on June and Serena’s Impending Season 5 Showdown

·3 min read

Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski are going head-to-head in Season 5 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The inevitable showdown has been brewing for four seasons, and both actresses agree that it was only a matter of time before the two women reached their breaking points.

“Lizzie and I joke that it’s the Juliet and Juliet love affair that we have,” Strahovski told TheWrap of their characters’ relationship. “We call it the romance, because it feels like that. It feels like a completely dysfunctional, toxic romance that they just keep going back to.”

At the end of Season 4, Moss’ June Osborne led a legion of Handmaid regufees to kill Commander Fred Waterford, leaving Strahovski’s Serena Joy a widow. In doing so, June believed that she was making both of them pay, and taking only a fraction of what’s been taken from her during her forced servitude in Gilead.

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“I want her to know it was me,” June says in the trailer for the upcoming season, no doubt referring to Serena who is pregnant and publicly mourning the death of her husband. The clip also makes it clear that Serena is preparing to exact revenge upon June, who is ready for the fight.

Of the impending face off, Moss told TheWrap that the past four seasons of character development brought the two actresses to a place where they finally felt ready to take on such explosive scenes together.

“The number one thing I love about doing TV, it’s where my heart lies because of the time you get to spend with the characters,” Moss said. “There are scenes that Yvonne and I did this year that we could not do in Season 1. We would not have been the actors we are now. We wouldn’t have been the friends we are now. We wouldn’t have been the partners we are.”

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Throughout the series, June and Serena have had a somewhat complicated relationship. While it’s always been fraught, there have been times where it seemed like they might finally see eye-to-eye (like at the end of Season 2 when Serena agrees to let June take Nichole out of Gilead). But each truce has ultimately been short lived, once the women realize that their core values will simply never align.

All of those moments have led to now, where all of their wounds will be on display as they take shots at one another until someone finally breaks. Had these intense moments that are filled with a complexity of emotion come at any other time, the actresses likely would not have been prepared to bring them to life, Moss said.

“There is a relationship there that I have with Yvonne that has deepened and grown over the years. I love her. I adore her. I have so much respect for her, and admiration,” Moss continued. “You don’t get that if you don’t have that history. So you don’t have to build the tension. You don’t have to build the depth or the complexity. You have five seasons of complexity to draw on.”

Season 5 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” debuted with two episodes on Sept. 14. One additional episode will premiere weekly.

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