Available on OCS, season 4 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” continues to push the limits of violence with a new sequence, present in episode 7, in which the heroine June commits an irreparable act.
A freedom finally found. Episode 7 of the fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale marks a turning point in the series. The character played by Elizabeth Moss, June, finally escapes the Republic of Gilead and finds refuge in Canada. Entitled Reunion – Home in original version – this seventh chapter is marked by the reunion between the heroine and her husband Luke, played by OT Fagbenle, seven years after their forced separation.
Yet one streak in particular tormented viewers of the program. One night, June forces her partner to have sex while he is still asleep. The man wakes up, tries to express his refusal, before being silenced by his wife who puts her hand on his mouth. In a few seconds, the series is overturned. The one who has long been the victim of sexual abuse by the Republic becomes an executioner in her turn. June takes back control of a body she no longer had to reproduce what she endured for almost ten years.
On social networks, the faithful of the series make known their dissatisfaction and their incomprehension in the face of this disturbing scene:
“Are we really going to pretend June hasn’t raped her husband? She holds his hands. Put his hand through his mouth. She refuses to stop when he says “Wait, wait, wait”. She doesn’t get her power back, it’s a sexual assault.“
“I just finished The Handmaid’s Tale and I am more than shocked. I don’t think I’ll see June the same way again. She is no better than Serana in my opinion. Using rape to heal your trauma is not acceptable. Luke should have released her.“
“I love The Handmaid’s Tale, but I really have a mixed opinion after this episode, especially for the intimate scene between Luke and June. My heart is broken because he loves her very much and she is completely destroyed. There should have been a warning for this rape sequence.“
If June’s behavior in this scene does not make everyone agree, it is nevertheless the very expression of years of suffering and a trauma that changes her perception of a consensual relationship. The series is not in its first shock sequence, some even criticize the successful program for complacency in torture and violence.
Contacted by the American site Refinery29, screenwriter Yahlin Chang justifies his choice for this decried moment: “We all want a fairytale ending for June. I really want it. But is it realistic, after everything this character has been through, her years in Gilead and all this violence that has entered her life, that she can fall asleep peacefully and lovingly with Luke?“A question of consistency.