The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 5), Episode 5 Recap and Ending, Explained: At the climax of the season, God’s trial takes precedence over any goal or ambition. June Osborne tries to resist in the fight to rescue her teenage daughter from Gilead, while Serena Waterford struggles against the abuses of the authoritarian society that she believed was a role model. In the hands of director Eva Vives, the pace of development slows down, as if the characters have time to calculate their next steps. By the time they walk again, however, there will be no way back for those who still doubt their faith.

The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 5), Episode 5 Recap

The episode begins with June Osborne dreaming about her and Hannah as a child in an aquarium. She wakes up with a call informing her that a Guardian is coming across with information about wives’ school, so in the next shot, the protagonist drives to meet him with Luke Bankole and Moira Strand. In the meantime, Serena Waterford experiences a new routine at the Wheeler’s house. The hostess Alanis Wheeler has a conversation with the widow during breakfast in which she reinforces their support, although she worries about Gilead’s future. Mrs. Waterford, on the contrary, seems willing to resist and cheers her friend up by reassuring her that the Information Center will be on track soon despite the attempt to shut it down.

The Handmaid's Tale (Season 5), Episode 5

Lily, the former Martha part of the resistance, encounters the trio of allies in a meeting spot away from the city. Since the Guardian could not cross the border, Osborne and her husband decide to look for him in no man’s land. The other two provide the couple with supplies before settling into a cabin to wait for them as they start drinking and rambling about the places the Mayday plans to reach next. Meanwhile, in the forest, June begins to have flashbacks of the day her daughter was taken from her. Despite Bankole’s request for a break, she persists on the journey until they bump into a hanged body on a tree along with a sign saying “Rapist.”


A group of wives goes to visit Serena at the Wheeler. Considering that some of them have trouble getting pregnant like her, the upcoming baby brings hope and strength to their lives. The widow then remembers a dialogue with Naomi Putnam at a kind of adoption center. They criticize the resistance in Chicago as they walk down the hall until both stop in front of a vast window that exposes a few children. Mrs. Putnam talks about how they were rescued from their unfit mothers, and Mrs. Waterford adds that they need to be raised by God’s light in new homes. She asks Naomi about the possibility of having a Handmaid, though the woman immediately declines. When she returns the question, Serena happily answers that she and Fred pretend to keep trying, then the flashback ends.

The scene cuts out to a moment where Mrs. Waterford takes a call from Joseph Lawrence and Warren Putnam. The first Commander addresses her in a more friendly tone, whereas the second one calls her out because of the riot at the Information Center. She alleges not having control over the refugee’s opinions about the government, but the man emphasizes that the building is an expensive endeavor. Even so, the widow blames June and Luke, so Lawrence diverts the attention to avoid a further discussion. She takes the opportunity to suggest changing the focus of the Center from Gilead to birth increasing, to which Mrs. Putnam responds it will be taken under consideration before hanging up the phone on her. Changing the subject, he turns to his partner and belittles his plan to reopen the borders. However, Joseph stands on his point, justifying the country’s policy must be on the right track.


The leading couple finally meets the Guardian in the woods. They go to a refuge in an abandoned arcade where the insider updates them about the “Plums.” According to him, teenage girls like Hannah are sent to special schools to learn how to run a household, then not so long after; they are moved to be matched up with future partners. Even though the man does not know the location of the training places, he hands the duo a pen drive with additional details, warning them to wait there until sunset. June and Luke heed the advice and discover that Jaden, as the insider is called, barely remembers the pre-Gilead times. He gets them some bears, and they all pass the time by bowling, singing, and dancing to the sound of a small piano.

In the next shot, a wife arrives with a bouquet at the Wheeler’s gate, but Ezra Shaw does not let her talk to Mrs. Waterford due to security concerns. Feeling trapped, the pregnant one goes for a walk in the garden and recalls the first time she chose a Handmaid. While facing some profile files on the table, she is conducted by Aunt Lydia to pick the best girl among her favorites. Back to the present, Mr. Wheeler enters the widow’s room to give her a response regarding the proposal she made earlier. Although the Commanders decided to go forward with the Fertility Center, they demanded that Serena step away from the initiative to rest at home. As she tries to reason about it, the host replies that the baby’s well-being must come ahead of any ambition. In the end, he gives the woman some vitamin pills and denies her request for a cell phone for the sake of security.


The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 5), Episode 5 Ending Explained

It is already dark when Jaden escorts Osborne and Bankole back to the border. Suddenly, the Guardian came across a minefield, and a bomb exploded, throwing his body into the air. June proceeds to tie a belt around his now-severed leg, but the patrol begins to approach. Despite the young man’s state, Luke takes her wife, and both start running out of the forest. The escape sequence intersperses two other occasions where the protagonist is caught, the first fleeing with Hannah at the story’s beginning and the second as a fugitive Handmaid. This time, Osborne was arrested again, so she must take action. As the vicious circle keeps spinning, it is better to let yourself be swallowed to its center than to become so dizzy that you cannot get up after passing out. 


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