Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Handmaid’s Tale season 5!
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 has ended with most of its main characters in a pretty bad place, but the finale actually completely flips season 1’s beginning. Although season 4 finally reunited June and Luke in Canada after years of being separated, this happy ending simply was not meant to be, as much of Canada has become overrun by supporters of Gilead. Now, this public perception of the Gileadean refugees has shifted so much that the Canadians force refugees like June and Luke to flee in The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 finale – but things don’t go as planned.
At the end of The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, the American government decides to send the Gileadean refugees (including June) to Hawaii, putting them on a train headed to western Canada. Although June is able to make it on, Luke is arrested at the train station for killing a Canadian that attempted to murder June, splitting the couple up once again. June escaping while Luke is captured in season 5 flips the beginning of the series, which had Luke escaping Gilead and June being captured.
Why The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Flipped June & Luke’s Fates
For the majority of The Handmaid’s Tale, June’s main goal was escaping Gilead and making it to Canada. June had other motivations, such as saving her daughter Hannah, but the most immediate threat was that June wouldn’t make it out of Gilead alive. June finally made it to Canada in season 4, and while season 5 slowly built up the geopolitical conflicts between Gilead, Little America, and Canada, some viewers thought that this broader conflict sidelined some characters and slowed down the plot. While there were interpersonal conflicts throughout season 5, such as June trying to kill Serena, something bigger was needed to support The Handmaid’s Tale season 6.
While the show couldn’t have kept June in Gilead forever, the show lost much of its tension when she made it to Canada and reunited with Luke. In trying to set up a new interpersonal conflict, The Handmaid’s Tale obviously couldn’t have put June back in Gileadean captivity, as it would make the previous seasons feel pointless. So, the clear option was to flip it. Instead of having a captive June trying to locate a free Luke, The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 ending sets up a freed June trying to locate a captive Luke. This brings back the tension of previous seasons, while simultaneously not retreading old stories.
Will June & Luke Reunite In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6?
There’s a lot that The Handmaid’s Tale season 6 has to wrap up, being the show’s final season, but the most immediate concern of June’s will be finding Luke. This will require June to once again go up against an authoritarian government, as Gilead is getting a firmer grasp on Canada with each passing day. In season 5, June and Luke did talk about how they are always able to find each other, meaning that there is some hope that they reunite. However, the show isn’t known for its happy endings, so it’s possible that June and Luke never see each other again in The Handmaid’s Tale season 6.
Next: Why Nick Didn’t Run Away From Gilead With June In The Handmaid’s Tale