'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 4 Finale: What Happens to Commander Fred Waterford?

Since The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 finale, one question has lingered on fans' minds: What would happen to Commander Fred Waterford? The Season 3 episode ended with Fred being taken into custody by the American government in Canada, leaving his fate hanging in limbo until a conclusive end in The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 finale on Wednesday. Warning: This story contains major spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 4, Episode 10, "The Wilderness."

Following a season largely documenting June's plight to freedom in Canada and her moving testimony amid Fred's trial, "The Wilderness" ended with Fred dying at the hands of none other than June herself. After it was revealed in "Progress" that Fred would likely walk free after striking a deal that would see him betray Gilead by revealing some top-secret information, June struck a deal with Commander Lawrence for the release of 22 women of the resistance in exchange for Fred's return to Gilead, and as Fred left the detainment center for a trip to Geneva for the final step in his deal, he was instead whisked away to a vehicle and taken back across the border.

Under this new deal, Fred was set to be put on trial in Gilead, though June, wanting Fred to feel as afraid as she was, concocted another fate for him with the help of Commander Lawrence and Nick Blaine. After being handed off to Nick, Fred was not taken to a Gilead detainment center, but rather to the middle of the woods, where June emerged, followed by her fellow escaped handmaids, who ultimately beat Fred to death. The final image of Fred was his body hanging from a wall. Fred's ending, actor Joseph Fiennes told The New York Times, was "great for the audience to have that catharsis."

As for what happened to Serena Joy? The last glimpse fans got of her was Serena sitting at her desk, still in the detainment center in Canada, assuming Fred was in Geneva and waiting for him to join a Zoom call. Fred, however, never answered, and a delivery person outside of her room opened a package containing his severed finger and wedding band.


Thankfully, fans are guaranteed answers. Well before the May premiere of The Handmaid's Tale Season 4, Hulu in December renewed the original series for Season 5. Unfortunately, it will likely be many more months before that new batch of episodes drops on the streaming platform. In the meantime, fans can catch up on past episodes of The Handmaid's Tale, including the Season 4 finale, by signing up for a Hulu subscription here.

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