THE HANDMAID'S TALE:
JUNE'S JOURNEY FROM SURVIVOR TO REBEL
By Louisa Mellor
As season four arrives, we trace how Gilead transformed June Osborne from ordinary citizen to rebel commander. Spoilers ahead!
In the early days of Gilead, when June was first captured, separated from her daughter and locked in a cage, we saw her plead with a Guardian for help.
Pre-Gilead, the white, middle-class publishing exec trusted that authority figures were there to help her. Fall at their mercy, and they would be merciful.
Post-Gilead, June knew different. When she was found by a Guardian mid-escape plan in the season three finale, she didn’t plead for help…
… she held him at gunpoint, forced him to lie for her, and callously shot him dead.
The brutality of life in Gilead’s dystopian regime had taught June that there was no mercy for her, and that she couldn’t afford to show it to others.
When June was Fred and Serena Waterford’s Handmaid in season one, she used to imagine herself outside of her body to survive the monthly ‘Ceremony’.
But when Commander Winslow attempted to rape her in season three, she didn’t submit. She fought back and bloodily murdered him.
The regime’s violence radicalised June and turned her into a killer. As revenge for years of inhumane cruelty, she vowed to make Gilead pay
She hatched a plan to hit Gilead where it hurt by taking away its major economic asset: the stolen children.
A newly hardened June couldn’t let anything get in the way of her scheme to smuggle the children out of Gilead and into the safety of Canada.
So when she found the mentally unstable Eleanor Lawrence dying of an overdose, June chose to watch her die rather than let her endanger the plan.
June’s epiphany was realising that instead of waiting to be rescued by resistance fighters Mayday, she needed to become Mayday.
The new season finds her with the new title of Red Leader, and a widespread reputation as a resistance hero. War is coming, and June is leading the revolution.
In season four, Rita says that “Gilead has a way of bringing out the worst in people, but in June it brought out the best.” Maybe not the best, but certainly the most badass.