'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 Episode 8: June turns into monsters that she fought, channels Aunt Lydia
Spoilers for 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 Episode 8 'Testimony'
'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4, Episode 8 marked an important step for June Osborne (Elizabeth Moss) as she stood up to give her testimony against Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and his wife Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski). At the moment, Serena is pregnant and her best option is to stand with her husband instead of against him as, individually, the two of them will stand no chance in front of the International Court of Justice.
While Serena and Fred are regressing to their old selves, June's character progression is the most jarring of all. First, the lack of any emotion while she reads out her testimony and the control that she had while reading out some of the most horrific experiences that she had to go through in Gilead indicates how prepared June is for all of this. The moment she heard that Serena was in Canada, and pregnant at that, things changed. After June met Serena, the anger that she had been feeling comes to the surface and her idea of revenge is to ensure that Serena experiences everything that she did.
This includes losing her baby. If June took even a single misstep, her plan to exact revenge will fail. So she holds her temper off, until the very end of her testimony. However, Fred decides to defy Serena's instructions and rants at the court about how Gilead's ways, which include raping women who are nine months pregnant, is the right way to go forward. He cites the increase in the birth percentage, and how only Gilead has managed to a feat such as this. This puts him exactly where June wanted him to be.
However, people around her including her best friend Moira (Samira Wiley) and her husband Luke (OT Fagbenle) do not understand her deep-rooted hatred. Despite having lived the same life that she did in Gilead, people like Emily (Alexis Bledel) and Moira are looking to move forward and they use group therapy as a way forward. However, are their wounds really healing? It looks like many women from Gilead who have found refuge in Canada are still wounded. The perfect example is Emily who in this episode meets an aunt who had not tortured her physically but had instead outed her relationship with a martha to the Eyes. This had led to the martha's death and this is something Emily has really moved on from.
June uses this opportunity to show the women from Gilead that it is better to face such trials head-on and forces Emily to meet the aunt in a passive-aggressive manner. The only one who finds the entire ordeal toxic is Moira. She does try to stop June from corrupting the women's minds with a vengeance when they should be leading their lives their own way, but she fails. Instead, everyone including Emily finds satisfaction in June's ways and begin to dream about retribution. While this may very well be the beginning of May Day on this side of the border, it's beginning on a dark note.
The more June's character progresses, there are more comparison shots and scenes between her and Aunt Lydia in Gilead. The parallels that are drawn are eerily similar and that is why we believe that there is a tyrant in June too, and if she doesn't curb her anger, or focus it in a different direction, she will become the monsters that she fought.
'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 streams on Hulu on Wednesdays.