'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 5: Was Emily's return to Gilead inevitable? Showrunner Bruce Miller addresses departure
'The Handmaid's Tale' showrunner revealed how he and other writers wrote off Alexis Bledel's character from the show
The fifth season of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ began with one of the most emotionally charged-up scenes where we saw June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) taking a sigh of relief after killing her abuser, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). She was literally living the moment and didn’t care what anyone thought of her. However, there’s one aspect that changed her completely and made her feel that she has done something wrong.
While going to meet Sylvia, June got to know that Emily is not in Canada and left for GILEAD in order to find Aunt Lydia. June was devastated to know that and promised Sylvia that she will bring her back. Sylvia told her that she knows Emily (Alexis Bledel) is never coming back and she doesn’t want June to do anything about it. She says “goodbye” to June and goes away. Fans had a lot of extreme reactions to it and thought if the makers could have done anything better to write off Bledel’s character.
While talking in an interview, series creator and showrunner Bruce Miller opened up about that scene and how the series bid adieu to one of the most integral characters of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’. He also noted that he and other writers on the show wrote their “own feelings” into Emily’s ending.
Speaking with The Hollywood Reporter, Miller also shared that the ending might not have felt “healthy”, but it felt “correct”. He added, “We had been planning and assuming that character would be there [for season five], so when we lost Alexis, who is such a dear part of our family, you feel the same way. A feeling of, this person has gone on to run away from home, what’s going on? Emotionally, we tracked it for all of us. When I was watching season four — as I obsessively re-watch our show — it felt like such an inevitable ending for her. That if she was going to do something after Fred, she was not going to just sit around and wait for the next person to jump into her trap; she was going to go hunting.”
However, Miller made it clear that if the ‘Gilmore Girls’ star wants to come back, then the doors are always open for her.
In May 2022, Bledel released a statement and revealed that she has decided to step away from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’, but the reason was not known. In her statement, Bledel said, “After much thought, I felt I had to step away from ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ at this time. I am forever grateful to [showrunner] Bruce Miller for writing such truthful and resonant scenes for Emily, and to Hulu, MGM, the cast and crew for their support.”
Bledel's character Emily was instrumental in the death of Fred Waterford. She came to Canada and helped the children who were airlifted from Gilead to Canada. However, she knew that she had to do something about Waterford. So, she met June and planned to take revenge on Gilead by killing the Commander. Her acting garnered a lot of praise over the course of four seasons and went on to win Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Guest Actor in a Drama Series (Female) in 2017. She was nominated in 2018, 2019, and 2020 as well.
Will she be making a return to the show? Well, we would love to see her again, but it's clear that she is not a part of Season 5.
'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 5 returns to Hulu with a new episode every Wednesday.