Yvonne Strahovski Source

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December 11, 2018

One thing is for sure, Commander Fred has crapped the proverbial marital bed on Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, especially after the profoundly disturbing scene last season that showed him putting his wayward book reading wife Serena Joy in her place…minus a digit.

Yvonne Strahovski’s chilling and conflicted turn as Serena Joy on Handmaid’s Tale has left all of us wondering her next move, as Season 3 will dangle a plethora of possibilities in this televised adaptation of Canadian author Margaret Atwood’s chilling gender dystopian nightmare that parallels a bit of real life, uncomfortably so for some.

In her former pre-Gilead existence, our pious media-savvy public speaker and author Serena was a rock star, a veritable muse, and architect of what Gilead was to be on paper, igniting the passion and desire within graspy little Fred, who wisely latched on to her star.

Cut to today in Gilead, where Fred is elevated in stature and makes sure all under him know that they are supplicants, even his wife, the one who literally shaped the matrix of which he is now part of the ruling class.

Will Serena tire of Fred’s hypocrisy, outright cheating, flirtatious ways, pedantic and paternalistic put-downs and finally join the resistance? That would be the most satisfying and in a sense, utterly predictable turn of events for those invested in this bleak yet addictive series.

More importantly, is she plotting his death after he cut off her pinky finger as punishment for reading in front of the assembled Gilead brass?

Or will her character capitulate and continue in her privileged oppressor role enjoying a protected life cloistered inside the mansion while pining for baby Holly/Nicole currently on the lam (thanks to Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) who I hope we see again in season three) with her mum Offred/June?

Well, there’s lots at stake and we are well past the original source material Ms. Atwood put out in 1984. The original story now has some interesting potential outcomes. Which way, Serena Joy?

One thing is for sure, it seems evil always overplays it’s hand, eventually. Will the resistance organize enough to topple the hierarchy of Gilead and more importantly, will Serena Joy re-establish her sense of self-worth and her voice?

In real life, Strahovski is a new mother to a baby boy born this past October. She also narrowly escaped losing her home during the recent Malibu and California fires. Luckily she weathered the threat and has found time to do some great good with the Sierra Club as a spokesperson to boot.

We spoke with Yvonne about what is to come on the Hulu series and beyond.

Monsters and Critics: Serena Joy, she was the intellectual architect in so many ways for Gilead. And now Gilead has bitten this hand that’s helped build her…

Yvonne Strahovski: It is literal as well. Right? She’s lost a finger for standing up against it. Yeah, that’s really interesting that she does make that move to sort of take a stand against something that she was a part of creating in the first place.

A lot of people ask me, “What did Serena expect would happen in that moment?”

And I do think that perhaps she maybe thought that it wasn’t ever going to pass by the panel of men that were sitting there and listening to her. I’m sure there was hope that they would listen, but I think more than anything it was a moment for her where she was finally doing a good thing in her life, where she doesn’t normally do good things.

We know Serena to be very bitter and miserable and to do horrible things. This is such a moment where she was standing up for her daughter and for all the daughters in Gilead and the future of women in this society.

And I think it just felt good to just do something good, regardless of the outcome. And I think she was always willing to pay the price for it, even though I think she didn’t expect to.

M&C: I can see why. Because your character, Serena, really lashed out at Fred in anger when you guys were on the chase for pregnant Offred when she was hiding in that big, cold mansion. And he seemed chastened and cowered. He took it. That was the first time I think we saw your character really let loose on Fred.

Yvonne: Yeah.

Full interview: monstersandcritics.com