Offred-June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) and Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) will join hands to bring down the men of Gilead who have so far oppressed women. The tell-tale sign of a revolution brewing is something that we saw in the trailer of the critically acclaimed show's third season. This, coupled with Offred readily approaching Serena - another thing we caught in the trailer - for help in dealing with the Commander of Gilead, Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), has us looking back at the unlikely relationship that has developed between the two of them over the last two seasons.
Offred is the fertile woman chosen to serve Commander Waterford after the free country became Gilead in the first season of the show. Serena Joy, wife of Commander Waterford was one of the key persons who helped him build Gilead and later stood by him. Her goal was to have a child of her own. After the world got polluted and the majority of the women ended up becoming infertile, Serena's one route was to assign a handmaid to her husband who would bear a child.
In the first season, she was more a negative character in the background who watched, plotted and helped her husband keep control of the new totalitarian government of Gilead. She helped her husband with 'The Ceremony' in the first episode of the first season when Offred lay down on Serena's lap as Commander Waterford tried to impregnate her. It was also Serena who later suggested to Offred that she sleep with Nick as the Commander is most likely sterile, which was pretty common in Gilead.
Before the Gilead movement attacked the US government, Serena was a conservative cultural activist and she helped her husband create Gilead into what it has become today. However, after the formation of the totalitarian government in the dystopian world, she was pushed out from the main aspect of ruling Gilead and was reduced to a trophy wife. She puts up with all of it in the hopes of becoming a mother, which becomes a reality when Offred tests positive for pregnancy at the end of season 1.
It wasn't until the second season that we saw Serena's character unravel as a result of cumulative decisions made by her husband. She hit all the high notes and the low ones as well. Be it when she was punished by her husband in front of Offred or when she held Offred down as her husband raped the handmaid to ensure a natural delivery or at the end of season 2 when she helped Offred get the newborn baby to safety. The first time that Serena really worked with Offred was following the bomb detonation that took place in season 2 after which Fred was seriously injured. Serena forged documents with the help of Offred to continue running Gilead and managing its day to day affairs in the absence of her husband to ensure political stability and self-preservation.
The camaraderie that began to form subsides right after Fred is nursed back to health and pushes Serena out of making important decisions yet again. In fact, Serena gets whipped in front of Offred for helping the Putnam family's baby girl who fell sick despite being forbidden. Right after this Serena travels to Canada with Fred where she sees the free women raising voice against Gilead after receiving the May Day letters and a change takes root in Serena's character. She begins to understand that women have no place in Gilead.
After Offred gave birth to a baby girl that Serena named Nichole, is when a substantial change occurs in her. She sees Eden and Isaac being executed for their relationship and she comes to terms with Offred as well. There is an acceptance which causes her to allow Offred to breastfeed the baby. Something that she was quite against in the beginning. This leads to Offred trying to convince Serena that Nichole's future in Gilead will be bleak and she will not know God without being allowed to read God's words - the Bible. Serena, once a conservative, agrees and so with other wives tries to propose an amendment to the council that would allow girls to be taught to read the bible. She uses words from the Bible to even prove a point resulting in getting one of her fingers chopped. All of this makes an impression, strong enough, to aid Offred in her escape from Gilead. All of this, to ensure Nichole's well-being. Offred, of course, refuses to escape last minute and lets Emily take the baby with her hoping to leave Gilead with her elder daughter Hannah.
So if Serena and Offred did decide to join forces in the upcoming season, there will be a lot of undercurrents but the much-needed revolution may give a new direction to their relationship. The show will premiere on Hulu on June 5.
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