When we last saw June (Elisabeth Moss), she was choosing to stay in Gilead rather than escape in the season 2 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale — a move that angered most viewers. Creator Bruce Miller was angry too. “It was an argument we had in the writers’ room for four months — just as passionately, probably more so,” he tells Us Weekly in the new issue, on stands now.
However, that “impossible” decision she made — to remain in the oppressive society to save her daughter, Hannah — sets up season 3, which picks up about “14 seconds” after the last episode ended, Miller explains. The newest installment of the already prescient show continues to reflect current political issues, including family separations at the borders.
“She’s coming back with an active, positive agenda. She wants to do something. You don’t stay back not to do something. I think she’s energized to act, to rise up to become a fighter, to become a resistance,” Miller reveals. “She starts to figure out day to day, moment by moment, what does it mean to rebel? Does it turn you into something that you aren’t now? A murderer? Someone who’s going out of their way to hurt people, to manipulate people?”
June will also have a “very precipitous arc” with Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) this season. “They start out with June trying to keep Serena on the same page about what she did with her daughter [Nicole]. Whether June succeeds or fails in that has great repercussions for the life of her daughter who’s escaped,” he notes.
However, their push and pull relationship will reflect a bigger overall theme of the season: the struggle of a long-distance bond: “How do you have a relationship over long distance? There’s some really interesting, clever ways that we found to have people connect with each other — in characters you didn’t think would be able to connect with each other. The relationship over distance is what Serena is dealing with,” Miller explains.
As for the series overall, he says “yes and no” when asked if he sees an end in sight.
“I’m working from a book and universe that was created by Margaret Atwood. There are some actual endings, things I think work that are good moments,” he notes before adding, “Do I have an end in mind? I always have a few ends in mind — I could also easily see a season 12 at the trials of Serena and Fred.”
The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 premieres on Hulu Wednesday, June 5.