'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 5 Hints at 'The Testaments' Storyline

Season 5 of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale is well underway, bringing the tensions between June Osbourne and Gilead to new heights. Marking the penultimate season of the critically acclimated series, it seems The Handmaid's Tale is already looking ahead to the show's conclusion, with Wednesday's newest episode, "Dear Offred," hinting at a storyline from Margaret Atwood's sequel The Testaments. Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 5, Episode 4, "Dear Offred."

Following the near deaths of Janine and Esther in the two-part season premiere, the otherwise stoic Aunt Lydia has been shown struggling to come to terms with her role in the overarching design of Gilead, so much so that in "Dear Offred" she not only expressed remorse, but proposed a complete restructuring to the handmaid program. Following a tense interaction with a now-awake Janine, who told her, "I know what you do. What you do to your girls...I see you. I see who you really are," Aunt Lydia visited Commander Lawrence.

"I have come to believe that the handmaid system must be reformed, a new protocol, to prevent such harmful incidents from happening in the future," she told him. "Handmaids would remain under my care. Commanders and wives would visit each month when it's time to perform the ceremony...I believe God will be better served if handmaids are not posted in households."

Although Lawrence ultimately brushed off the proposal, telling her that "the handmaids system is not changing," Aunt Lydia was unmoved and determined. Towards the end of the episode, she promised to Janine, "I want to do things differently. I want to address any problem early, with more compassion." Her portrayal and the events in "Dear Offred" were reminiscent of the events in The Testaments.

For fans unfamiliar with The Testaments, the novel was released in 2019 as a sequel to The Handmaid's Tale. The book shifts the focus away from June and is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid's Tale and features three different narrators – Agnes, a young woman living in Gilead, Daisy, a young woman living in Canada, and Aunt Lydia, whom fans of the book and series already know. Although Aunt Lydia has largely been portrayed as an antagonist throughout The Handmaid's Tale, it is in The Testaments that it is revealed she has always despised Gilead and has been secretly working to help bring the totalitarian government down once and for all by supplying information to the Mayday resistance organization, a group that has already been introduced to the Hulu original series.


The fact that The Handmaid's Tale may be hinting at The Testaments with just a little more than a season left to go isn't much of a surprise. While The Handmaid's Tale is slated to end after Season 6, Atwood's universe will continue to play out on screen, with Hulu having already ordered a series based on the sequel novel. When it was confirmed that Season 6 would be the last, showrunner and executive producer Bruce Miller confirmed to The Hollywood Reporter that work on The Testaments series is underway, sharing that he is currently "technically checking boxes" and "trying to lay the groundwork" for the show. New episodes of The Handmaid's Tale air Wednesdays on Hulu. Hulu has not announced a tentative premiere year for The Testaments.