June Osborne offers her testimony in opposition to Serena Joy and Fred Waterford in The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 8, however the final result is a bunch of Canadians cheering for the Waterfords and celebrating Gilead. Directed by star Elisabeth Moss, “Testimony” is what June’s transient time in Canada has been constructing to. Going earlier than the International Criminal Court to learn her witness assertion forward of the Waterfords’ trial, June’s testimony serves as a recap of among the worst horrors from The Handmaid’s Tale seasons 1-3. But whereas June recounts the abuse she suffered by the hands of Fred and Serena, her former Commander hits again. He professes that all the pieces he and Gilead have achieved is within the title of God, and that their system is working the place others world wide are failing. June, clearly, does not purchase a phrase of it, however fairly clearly a number of folks do, with a bunch outdoors the courtroom protesting the obvious injustices the couple are dealing with.
To viewers, it is at all times been reasonably clear that Gilead is within the flawed and that Fred and Serena should be punished for his or her crimes, so it is a notably startling second to see them primarily vindicated like this in Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 8, even when simply by a minority. The second makes good sense, nonetheless, as a result of it highlights a key a part of Gilead’s basis. While a lot of the regime’s rise was via worry, intimidation, and brutality, it additionally received folks to its trigger and gave them one thing to consider in. Generally, that is been introduced as being contained to Gilead, which has usually felt considerably remoted in a North Korea-esque method, with different nations doing what they should however little precise assist for it. So with June in Canada, the sensation was that it was utterly protected, however in fact, there could be individuals who sympathize with the Waterfords and assist what Gilead is doing.
The Handmaid’s Tale has at all times been a politically related present, and this very a lot faucets into that facet as soon as once more in Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 8. It combines political leanings, irrespective of how controversial or unsavory, with the cult of movie star. Fred and Serena Joy are influencers in some quarters at the least, and to these folks they’re lauded as figureheads who’re telling it like it’s and who’re ready to do what should be achieved. Again, the view of the world is considerably skewed as a result of Gilead is the place the place all the issues have been, with Canada the haven to flee to, giving the sense that it will be extra superb. But “Testimony” is a reminder of the fertility disaster that all the world is coping with. Gilead’s Handmaid measures are horrific, however it feels real looking that others in different nations, whose governments haven’t turned issues round, would look in that course and assume they’d the correct to it.
There can be a minority feeling of sick will towards Gilead refugees in Canada, which once more each additional reinforces in these folks the idea that Gilead is true, in addition to making extra real-world parallels. As Gilead is weakened and extra folks come into Canada, then once more it suits that these dissenting voices would look to shout louder, and to latch on to the movie star of Fred and Serena Joy as their hope. It’s a marked distinction from Serena’s arrival in Canada in The Handmaid’s Tale season 3, the place she was met by indignant anti-Gilead protestors. It’s unlikely that is consultant of an entire shift, at the least, however extra signifies that these divisions do exist inside Canada, and life outdoors Gilead, whereas higher, has its personal issues — and that even the place individuals are doing evil issues, there are those that will assist it or flip a blind eye if it advantages them, or in the event that they’re dwelling in worry of what the choice may be.
As The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 strikes in direction of its endgame, then the celebration of the Waterfords in Canada feels each bit as pivotal as June’s personal highly effective testimony. It confirms to them the angle they wanted to play on the time — the God-fearing, righteous people who find themselves the one ones succeeding in growing delivery charges, who will argue that the ends justify the means, and they’re doing the Lord’s work, strengthened by Serena’s personal being pregnant. Fred is shrewd sufficient to have seen that as his greatest probability anyway, however the protests and cheers confirmed that taking down the Waterfords wasn’t as easy because it should be.