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The Handmaid's Tale: The Wilderness

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Sarie is a writer who enjoys television and movies. She especially loves to binge-watch on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, and Disney+.

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June Osborne has been out of Gilead for a while. The trauma of the place, however, continues to haunt her as she learns her abuser, Fred Waterford, has struck a deal that will ultimately lead to his freedom. “The Wilderness” is all about vengeance and people getting what they deserve. What cost, though, is June willing to pay to ensure that Commander Waterford suffers?

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“You Don’t Have A Side”

The story begins with a flashback of June and Commander Waterford at Jezebel. June and the Commander are dancing in the throwback clip as she reflects on the experience in the present. As it turns out, June is at the ICC office to make a statement about why she believes Fred Waterford should not be given immunity for the crimes against humanity he committed in Gilead. Mark assures June that he is indeed on her side. She, however, disagrees.

It is impossible, according to June, for someone to be on her side while helping secure the release and immunity of her rapist. Mark implies that bigger things are at play as Fred Waterford has already given invaluable insight into the inner workings of Gilead, which may be able to help free others.


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“We’re Going To Geneva”

Waterford is going to Geneva in a week at which point he and Serena will have the ability to start their lives afresh. Moira suggests June go to Geneva as well to interrupt what she believes will be a good time for the Waterfords. June is against the idea. She believes the ICC has made its decision and, thus, sees no point in traveling to Geneva to protest.

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“She Will Refer To Him As Commander”

Meanwhile, Commander Waterford is subject to questions regarding the victims of Gilead. Serena pulls Mark to the side to make her demands. First, she orders Mark to stop allowing Fred to be questioned in such a direct manner. “She will refer to him as ‘Commander’ or this interview is over,” Serena says.

Second, Serena Joy demands excellent housing and security in addition to having their court dates expedited. She is determined to return to Gilead with her son and husband. Mark asks Serena to explain why she is determined to return to Gilead and also remain married to the commander. She cannot give an answer.


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“A Good Mother Would Be Able To Let Go”

June has a heart-to-heart in which she expresses her desire to move past the brutalities she suffered at the hands of Fred and Serena. She desires to focus on Nicole and her new life in Canada. “A good mother would be able to let go,” June says.

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“To Ofred”

Later, June visits Fred in prison. He knows she is not there to merely wish him well. “That doesn’t sound like our June,” the Commanders notes. He begins by saying he holds “no ill will” because of her testimony in court. June asks the security guard to leave the room so they can have a raw conversation.

Fred admits there were “discomforts” in his home in Gilead. He apologizes after saying it would be “unimaginable” to have his son taken from him. June cries after hearing his apology for taking away her daughter. “I didn’t think you’d ever say that,” June tells Fred.

Although he wouldn’t call his sexual relationship with June outside the confines of the ceremony love, he believes it was necessary. In fact, the Commander misses Offred. June also misses Offred and “her strength.” The Commander classifies Offred as “very special” and “inspiring, in a way.” Both the Commander and June give a toast to the character of Offred.

It seems as though June has found closure. She, however, declares that she is “going to put Fred on the wall.” Luke suggests she “let it go” as Fred is set to be released. June, however, refuses to let it go.

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“This Is My Home”

June meets Mark in front of his home the next day. He expresses anger over her invasion of his privacy. June apologizes for crossing the line. “It’s just, I need Fred to get what he deserves,” she tells the agent. She begs him to “just listen” and give her a ride. Mark agrees.

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“June Osborne, As I Live And Breathe”

June meets with Commander Lawrence. He claims Commander Waterford is “having a crisis of faith.” Commander Lawrence wants to exchange Commander Waterford for 22 women in Gilead who worked for the resistance. Mark presumed the women were dead. “You can save them,” June tells Mark. He agrees to take the matter to his boss.

“It won’t be enough, you know,” Commander Lawrence tells June in the end. “Whatever happens to him when we get him, it won’t be enough for you.”


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“I Want Him To Be Afraid”

June shares the news of Waterford possibly being sent back to Gilead. “I want him to be afraid,” she shares. “Because I was afraid.” June reflects on how fearful she was when she and Hannah were trying to get away from the Guardians of the Faith at the beginning of the tale. June then says she wants Waterford to be terrified.

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“A Miracle”

Serena sees Fred off before he heads out to the airport. “It really is a miracle what you’ve done, Fred,” the Commander’s wife says. He discusses the possibility of their lives together. She, however, tells him they will need to “divide and conquer” for a while. Serena wishes him a safe flight to Geneva.

Fred goes downstairs where he is taken into custody by Mark who takes him to the bridge between Gilead and Canada. The exchange takes place and Commander Waterford meets Commander Lawrence.

“Everything I did, I did to protect my family. I won’t apologize,” Waterford declares. Nick comes on the scene where he commands The Eyes to take Commander Waterford into custody. Commander Lawrence tells Commander Waterford to “go in grace” after asking Nick about the possibility of an objection. Nick clarifies The Eyes have full authority at the border so Commander Lawrence’s objection would mean nothing.

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“Are We Even In Gilead Anymore”

Commander Waterford continues to demand answers as to where they are. Nick finally answers the commander by telling him they were in Nomad’s Land. “You did this to yourself,” Nick tells Commander Waterford. June comes onto the scene.

She kisses Nick and thanks him for letting her get the revenge she desperately needs. June tells the commander to choose between a gun and a whistle. “I know you can’t shoot me,” Commander Waterford tells June. She then blows the whistle at which point a group of former Handmaids comes out of the wilderness with flashlights. “I have a son,” Waterford tells June. She ignores his request for mercy.

June tells Fred to run. He takes her advice and is immediately chased by June and the other former Handmaids. Waterford falls in the wilderness, which gives the women time to surround him. They beat him. June bites the commander’s face while hitting him.

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“Just Give Me Five Minutes, Then I’ll Go”

June and the former Handmaids leave the wilderness at daylight. Meanwhile, Serena Joy remains in custody while in Canada.

June asks Luke to give her five minutes with Nicole and then promises to leave. He was not aware of what she did. Commander Waterford is put on the wall for his trespasses.

© 2022 Sarie

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