[Warning: The below contains MAJOR spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 5 “Chicago.”]
June (Elisabeth Moss) reaches Chicago in the May 12 episode of The Handmaid’s Tale but is caught in a bombing (the work of Gilead’s Commanders). The aftermath, however, sets the stage for a major reunion we’ve been waiting for.
As June stumbles around after taking a hit during the explosion, she turns and sees none other than her best friend Moira (Samira Wiley), who escaped Gilead and made it to freedom in Canada in Season 1. But a lot has happened to them since they last saw each other.
“Both of them have been going through a journey of recovery or moving on after sexual trauma after a refugee experience when they joined together, that’s where you get to measure them against each other,” showrunner Bruce Miller tells TV Insider. “They were so simpatico beforehand and they were able to talk about anything, [including] ‘I don’t think you should marry this boy.'”
Will that remain the case? We’ll have to wait and see. “That relationship is so strong and so vital and so important to both of them and to see how they’re going to manage that going forward gives you a good idea of how [June’s] relationships with everybody, including [her husband] Luke [O-T Fagbenle], are going to change,” he continued.
Thanks in part to the “astonishing” acting from both Moss and Wiley, they’re able to move June and Moira’s relationship “into some very complicated places,” Miller teased. “It rewards the fact that you love and believe in their relationship, that you really are rooting for it going forward to sustain. It has some knots.”
That bombing in Chicago comes as part of a plan from the Commanders to attack just before a cease-fire. At first, the Commanders are against showing any signs of weakness by holding back, but thanks to some dirt that Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) is able to convince the others to agree to his plan — with that bombing as a condition. It’s a move that blindsides Nick (Max Minghella), considering he and the other Commander had at least been talking and neither wants June dead.
“It’s the first time I’ve seen Nick discombobulated, which is really fun to play” Minghella laughs. “I liked playing him sort of frazzled, and I hope there’ll be more of that. It’s really kind of an interesting dynamic with Lawrence because they really are sort of two sides of the same coin and can probably get to each other in a way that other people can’t because there’s a little bit of a sort of Batman-Joker thing going on with them. Lawrence understands Nick in a way that most people don’t and Nick understands Lawrence in a way that other people don’t.”
That information from Lydia came as part of a deal she struck with Lawrence to get back out with the handmaids instead of essentially being forced into retirement. “That’s where her life has meaning. That’s what she does service to herself and others. She really thinks that she is providing something that no one else can do as well,” Dowd explains. “She feels hugely protective of them.”
This comes after she and another Aunt, Ruth, tells her it’s time for her to rest. “That little smarty pants of a young aunt, I’ll get her, you know,” Dowd insists. “I don’t know if it’s in the writing for next season, but I [will].”
As far as working with Lawrence to get what they both want, Lydia trusts him “as far as she can throw him,” the star who plays her continues. “There’s something about that man that’s really hard to figure for Lydia. The way he’s always treated her like she’s an idiot who’s 96, doesn’t know what she’s doing — it’s so insulting. I’ve always wanted to come up with language that would put him in his place. She takes a big risk here because he is a Commander, but it’s worth it.”
The Handmaid’s Tale, Wednesdays, Hulu