The Most Important Things To Remember Going Into Season 5 Of The Handmaid's Tale

We may receive a commission on purchases made from links.

Blessed be the fruit loops, Season 5 of Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" debuts on September 14 with the first two episodes: "Morning" and "Ballet."

The stars of the show converged on Toronto Thursday night (September 8) to celebrate the new season at the Toronto International Film Festival, per Entertainment Weekly. Not only were stars like Elisabeth Moss in attendance, but showrunner, creator, and writer Bruce Miller was also there. Miller shocked fans by announcing that "The Handmaid's Tale" had been renewed for its sixth and final season.

Miller also confirmed that "The Testaments," adapted from Margaret Atwood's literary sequel to "The Handmaid's Tale" by the same name, is in development (via Entertainment Weekly). Atwood fans already know that this adaptation of "The Handmaid's Tale" has already diverged from the book, so we can probably expect the same to happen with The Testaments. In the book, Serena Joy never gets pregnant, and her fight for and focus on Nichole never stopped, to the point where she became more a symbol than a person. Our Serena, however, has given up on Nichole completely in light of her "miraculous" pregnancy — something we still feel suspicious about.

Before we get to Season 6 and the sequel, however, we still need to get through Season 5. In case you don't have time to binge-watch the old episodes before the first episodes drop, we've put together everything you need to know before Season 5 of "The Handmaid's Tale" begins.

Gilead still has June and Luke's daughter, Hannah

There are multiple magnets pulling June back to Gilead, but none are as strong as that of her daughter, Hannah. Actress and director Elisabeth Moss admitted in an interview with Forbes that her character, June, isn't going to be able to find peace "until she gets Hannah out of Gilead and home to her father."

The last time June saw Hannah was in the Red Center during Season 4, Episode 3. At the time, Hannah — aka Agnes MacKenzie — was being used to motivate June to tell Aunt Lydia and the Eyes where she and a group of handmaids had been hiding. The fear Hannah has for June during that interaction scars June; she frequently flashed back to the memory, and it wasn't until Season 4, Episode 8 that she could talk about the encounter with Luke. 

Hannah was again used as leverage against June in Season 4, Episode 9, when Commander Joseph Lawrence was negotiating with June and offered Hannah in exchange for some of the children she helped bring to Canada at the end of Season 3 (via Showbiz CheatSheet). The price was ultimately too high for June to pay for Hannah's freedom, touching on Season 4's recurring theme of exploring what matters more, the one or the many. This is a question we expect June to continue to struggle with in Season 5.

June has more than Commander Waterford's blood on her hands

When June told Aunt Lydia where she and the other handmaids had been hiding in Season 4, Episode 3 of "The Handmaid's Tale," the butterfly effect that followed had deadly consequences. "Everything that has happened to you, to Hannah, to Janine and the others — you're responsible. Your fault," Aunt Lydia tells June.

There are moments when June's animalistic survival mode cracks, revealing the vulnerable, broken woman and mother underneath — which seems to happen more frequently the longer she's outside of Gilead. The number of lives she's responsible for destroying, literally and figuratively, is in the double digits — and it's not just limited to commanders, per Screen Rant. Alma, Briana, Beth, Sienna, Eleanor Lawrence, and Eden Blaine (played by Sydney Sweeney), were all killed as a result of June's actions. Esther Keyes, too, would still be a wife instead of a handmaid if she'd never crossed paths with June. 

The same can even be said about Moira, whose relationship ended because Moira smuggled June into Canada. The last we see Oona is during Season 4, Episode 7, when she tells Moira to call her sometime after Moira admits she can see a future with Oona. As far as we know, Moira and Oona are still broken up.

Again, it begs the question of whether or not June can see — or even cares — about the bigger picture outside of her own goals.

We don't know where Nick Blaine's loyalties lie

There are two things we know for sure about Nick Blaine from "The Handmaid's Tale": he's the father of Nichole and he can't quit June. Everything else about him, from his motivations to join the Eyes in the first place to why he stays in Gilead, is still a mystery.

In the past four seasons, Nick Blaine has held a variety of roles, from lowly driver and Eye to a commander on the front lines of Gilead's war with the United States in Chicago. His devotion to June seems unwavering, but there are moments when it's difficult to tell where his loyalties lie.

In Season 4, Episode 5, Commander Putnam tells Nick to order a bombing of Chicago, despite the fact that there was a ceasefire in place. Nick wants to fight back, but why isn't clear: is it because of the ethical dilemma of attacking someone when they're vulnerable, or is it because that was where June was rumored to be?

Nick continues to help June once she's in Canada — but only to a certain point. He gives June a folder of information about Hannah, including her location, in Season 4, Episode 9, but he makes no moves to help get Hannah out of Gilead, let alone himself. He has had ample opportunities to leave and claim asylum, especially during his visits to Canada — still, he returns to Gilead, where, based on Season 4, Episode 9, he has a new wife.

Serena Waterford is very pregnant

Whether or not it's what they deserve, everyone seemed to have gotten what they wanted in Season 4 of The Handmaid's Tale. In the trailer for Season 5, Commander Lawrence is talking with Nick, stressing that facts aren't important anymore: It's what the still-very-pregnant Serena, played by Yvonne Strahovskibelieves that's important.

Season 4 demonstrated how clearly Serena believes public support will save her. The longer the Waterfords stayed in Canada — and as more public details emerged about life in Gilead — support from the Canadians grew. Protestors were soon replaced by cheering crowds — and for Serena, this was a sign that she needed to stand by Fred. It's these supporters, not other commanders' wives, that Serena feels throw her a "baby shower" because of all of the gifts that have been sent.

The only support Serena did receive from Gilead was a visit from Naomi Putnam, Commander Putnam's wife, in Season 4, Episode 9. She presents Serena with two options: Serena can either let the Putnams adopt her baby and take him back to Gilead or she can return to Gilead with her own child, "like a hero." The trailer hints at Serena's return to Gilead, but it's unclear how long she stays or how welcomed she actually is.

When we left Serena at the end of Season 4, she was waiting for Fred to Zoom call her from Geneva, completely unaware of the gift from June being opened outside her door.

June is responsible for Commander Waterford's downfall

When June brought us into her story in Season 1 of "The Handmaid's Tale," Commander Fred Waterford had all of the power. Fred was a Founding Father while Serena had been just as, if not more, influential in the creation of Gilead. It wasn't until June came to Canada and testified in open court about the abuses she suffered that the playing field was leveled.

"They imprisoned me," June testified to the International Criminal Court in Season 4, Episode 8. "[They ] beat me and raped me." All June asked for in return was justice, something she felt robbed of when Waterford turned against Gilead and became an informant for the United States. June countered the move by proposing a prisoner exchange between Gilead and the United States, which Mark Tuello sold as Gilead's chance to try the fallen commander through the fledgling country's "justice system."

But during a meeting with Commander Lawrence and Tuello in Season 4, Episode 9, Lawrence warns June that "whatever happens to Waterford won't be enough" for her. This comment came after June had already brokered the prisoner exchange of Commander Waterford for 22 "resistance figures" from Gilead, all women. Joseph knew that salvaging Fred wouldn't be enough for June.

It's hard to imagine June needing more justice after what she and her pack of handmaids did to Fred's body — justice from Fred, anyway. He died alone in the woods, a traitor to the country he helped found.

What we know for sure about Season 5 of The Handmaid's Tale

As we get closer to the September 14 premiere of Season 5 of "The Handmaid's Tale," the internet has been shockingly spoiler-free, at least on social media. With the big premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival, reviews have started to trickle in about the first episode and the season as a whole.

Keeping things spoiler-free, what we do know about Season 5 comes from cast confirmations and the trailer that dropped a few weeks ago. According to Entertainment Weekly, Alexis Bledel left "The Handmaid's Tale," saying she felt it was her time to move on. How Emily is written out of the show remains to be seen.

The trailer teases a continuation of June's war against the Waterfords, with her focus now turning to Serena. "I killed Fred," she admits to Luke in one scene. "I loved it so much." Another scene from the trailer teases a concerned Serena with June's voice overlaid: "I want her to know it was me."

But Serena is not without power, especially in Gilead. The trailer shows her walking slowly down the streets of Gilead during Fred's funeral, dressed in all dark teal, wearing a teal veil similar to that worn by Queen Victoria after Prince Albert died. Again, we hear June's voice, warning Tuello that he doesn't know what Serena is capable of. 

We can't wait to see what happens.