“Fairytale” is another strong installment packed with some truly memorable sequences. It’s great to see O-T Fagbenle receiving more screen time, too, as June’s husband Luke. He steals the show in this episode, providing some much-needed humanity within all this tragedy.
This recap of the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 5, “Fairytale,” contains spoilers.
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 4 ended with Serena being moved to Commander Wheeler’s house for her own safety after the unveiling of her new Gilead Information Center descended into protests and rioting. Serena herself was nearly killed on her escape when Luke and June bumped into the fleeing woman. June showed great restraint and held off on pulling the trigger, but she may come to regret that decision in the end. The Handmaid’s Tale continues to impress in “Fairytale”, as June seeks out further information on her daughter and Serena settles into her new life away from her enemies.
The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, episode 5 recap
Episode five opens with June receiving an important phone call in the night. With Luke and Moira she heads to the border and meets with Lily, on the outskirts of no man’s land. Lily admits that they are too late, their planned rendezvous with a Guardian has been postponed at the last minute. Gilead are stepping up their border patrol. Luke says that he’s going across anyway, possibly spurred on by Serena’s biting remarks in an earlier episode. He wants to find out more about Hannah, and June agrees to go across with him. The couple are supplied with a rucksack of goods and a map. They begin their journey, crossing into no man’s land, hand in hand.
On their journey to a much more dangerous meet-up, Luke and June spy a hanged man in the trees, before finally coming into contact with a gun-toting Guardian. This youthful Guardian asks for the code word and then rushes them to his hideout. They are apprehensive at first, but inevitably follow this stranger to his base, which happens to be a disused bowling alley.
Serena familiarizes herself with her new home, spying security guards at every corner. Mrs Wheeler is a gracious host, plying her guest with food and compliments. Serena meets with other Gilead housewives, who are struggling to conceive. They all adore Serena and queue up to feel her baby kick. This prompts a flashback where Serena recounts discussing handmaid’s with Naomi Putnam for the first time. Serena always struggled with fertility issues herself, but seems to have conceived a miracle baby in the present.
Serena then speaks with Commanders Lawrence and Putnam over the phone. Warren Putnam is angered by Serena’s Information Center catastrophe, calling it an expensive endeavor that only led to further bad press for Gilead. She fights back, proposing a new center focusing on fertility and conception instead. Lawrence is intrigued, but Warren slams the phone down on her. In private, the Commanders discuss Lawrence’s own proposition, he wants to open up their borders and rebuild their dying society. Obviously, Warren completely disagrees with Lawrence’s modern plan.
At the hideout, the Guardian updates Luke and June on the wife schools, which their daughter Hannah will be attending. The students are treated like princesses and are quickly matched up with partners to be married off. Luke is handed a memory stick with further information. The couple are warned not to leave until night fall and decide to socialize in the meantime. Luke and the Guardian play on the bowling alleys and let loose. As with any happy moment, there’s a sense of dread in the air. You get the feeling something bad is about to transpire.
Whilst chatting with Jaeden, the Guardian, the parents realize what they are up against. Gilead is all that Jaeden knows, his memories from before are foggy at best. It really hits home just how manipulated and altered Hannah will probably be after all these years away from her real parents. Luke tries to lighten the mood and plays on a keyboard. He sings Let’s Stay Together and then dances with his wife under the disco ball. It’s a touching moment that is sure to give you goose-bumps. It’s great to see Luke gaining more screen time this season in what is a highlight of the episode.
Serena continues to walk the grounds and tries to communicate with a fan at the gates. The security team advise her not to associate with these strangers and she is told to carry on her walk instead. Serena quickly realizes that she is a prisoner once again. She has just moved from one jail cell to another over the past few years. This launches into another flashback as she chooses her handmaid years earlier. Is she starting to sympathize with June’s situation, now that she is almost walking in her shoes?
Adding to this sense of entrapment, Serena is visited by Commander Wheeler himself. He informs her that they are going ahead with her plans for the fertility center, which he thinks is a stroke of genius. She won’t be running the center though and is practically ordered to rest instead. They want her to concentrate on her pregnancy and she is handed some pills to take, to keep her strong and healthy. He pours her a drink and watches her take the medicine. Serena asks for a mobile phone and is quickly denied, again. Serena is for all intends and purposes, a prisoner in this home.
The episode ends with Luke and June heading back to the border, hand in hand once again. It’s nightfall and they are making suspiciously great time with this short cut, but something is about to ruin their fairy-tale trip.
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