What you need to know before starting the new season of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Elisabeth Moss, winner of the awards for Outstanding Drama Series and Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for 'The Handmaid's Tale" attends Hulu's 2017 Emmy After Party at Otium on September 17, 2017 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Todd Williamson/Getty Images for Hulu) (Todd Williamson, 2017 Todd Williamson)

Under his eye, y’all!

Warning: Only read the rest of this article if you’re all caught up -- meaning you’ve seen seasons one through three. We don’t have any season four spoilers here, but wanted to warn anyone who was just starting out.

After what feels like eternity (well, 20 months, to be exact) the fourth season of the critically acclaimed dystopian TV show “The Handmaid’s Tale” is back. And looking at the new season’s trailer, it seems that it’s going to be just as stressful.

Filming the new season had to be put on pause because of the COVID-19 pandemic, but Elisabeth Moss and the rest of the cast were able to get back to work and finish filming, luckily for fans of the show.

So, if it’s been a while since you saw last took a trip to Gilead, here’s a refresher of where we left off with all of our characters.

The first three episodes of the new season are out on Hulu now, so read this article and then get ready to binge watch some great TV.


Our hero of the story, June, just did the impossible at the end of season three. With some help from other Handmaids and the Marthas, June was able to load 86 children and a handful of Marthas on a plane headed toward Canada.

June and the other Handmaids weren’t able to get on the plane because they had to create a diversion for the children, and the last moment we saw of June involved her getting shot by a guard, who she then killed.

There were a lot of questions about whether June was going to survive the gunshot wound, but she’s the hero of our story -- so there’s no way she’s going out just yet.

And now that we’ve seen the trailer for the new season, we know that June’s work trying to free people from the clutches of Gilead will continue.

The Waterfords

Oh how the tables have turned for the picture-perfect Gilead family.

If you remember, Serena and Fred are under Canadian custody and living in the fanciest prison ever.

Serena basically turned on Fred so that she could live the rest of her life with baby Nichole in Canada while Fred would rot in jail.

At the end of last season, Fred played his last card and told the authorities that Serena is responsible for some war crimes, too. The last thing we see of them is Serena getting arrested and her fate hanging in the balance.

Fred and Serena’s relationship has always been messy, but this takes it to a whole new level. The trailer shows the couple arguing even more, so who knows what will become of them in season four?

Fingers crossed that at least one of them gets a taste of his or her own medicine.

Aunt Lydia

There are a lot of awful characters on “The Handmaid’s Tale,” but none of them can compare to Aunt Lydia, who is played masterfully by the always-great Ann Dowd.

During season three, we finally got a flashback episode featuring Aunt Lydia’s past, and we learned she was a school teacher who wanted the best for her students. The episode didn’t give us a whole lot to better understand all of Aunt Lydia (and why she is the way that she is), but it was still fun to see her, pre-Gilead.

In the new trailer, we see that Aunt Lydia has some scars and bruises on her face, which is surely a punishment for her Handmaids escaping.

Will Aunt Lydia have a change of heart this coming season, or will this make her even more evil?


June’s BFF before Gilead has been in Canada for quite some time now, and at the end of season three, we see her welcoming the plane full of children from Gilead. It would be nice to see more of Moira adjusting to life in Canada, and how she may help in getting June out of this nightmare.


The same can be said for June’s husband, Luke. We’ve learned that it’s very hard for refugees in Canada to do anything about their loved ones who are trapped inside Gilead. Luke was also there the night the plane full of children arrived in Canada, and we watched as he hoped June, and his daughter Hannah, would walk down the steps of the plane.

Will they finally be reunited this season? Based on the trailer, it doesn’t look so good for Luke.


Emily has had one of the most interesting arcs on the show. She escaped Gilead at the end of season two with June’s baby, and during season three, we got to see her reunite with her wife and son -- who barely remembers her.

We also learned that Emily could be in some trouble since she committed crimes in Gilead. This is a cruel show, but it would be really mean if the writers sent Emily back to Gilead.

Let’s hope we get to see her adjust to her new life. That is far more interesting to watch.


Our favorite Handmaid (well, besides June, that is) was a part of June’s rescue mission, but she too didn’t make it on the plane and instead was seen helping June after she was shot.

If there’s anyone on the show you’re rooting for, it’s Jeanine. She’s been through hell and back, so it would be so nice to see her make it to freedom in Canada at some point this season.

If that happens, remains to be answered.

In the trailer, we see June and Jeanine running while a bomb blows up behind them, so something tells us that she’s the furthest from freedom and Canada.


The Waterfords’ Martha, Rita, has been a constant source of relief and advice for June, so it was nice to see that she escaped Gilead and made it to Canada. She even ended up telling Luke and Moira that June was responsible for getting those kids out of Gilead.

We don’t know a whole lot about Rita, but the trailer does show her reuniting with the Waterfords, so that will be a delicious scene to watch.

Hopefully, she has a lot of things to say to them now that they’re both in jail.

Commander Lawrence

Commander Lawrence has been one of the most interesting additions to the cast of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” and that’s partly due to the fact that Bradley Whitford plays him so well.

There’s no way that Gilead won’t figure out that Commander Lawrence helped June in some way in getting the children to Canada, so it will be fascinating to see what the authorities do to him.

Will he be hung on the wall, or can he wiggle his way out of it to survive another day?

Only time will tell. Will you be watching?

About the Author:

Jack is a Digital Content Editor with a degree in creative writing and French from Western Michigan University. He specializes in writing about movies, food and the latest TV shows.