'The Handmaid's Tale' Stars Amanda Brugel and Sam Jaeger Talk New Relationship Dynamics and 'No Mans Land' in Season 5 (Exclusive)

The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 has revealed some intriguing new relationship dynamics in its first few episodes, with June (Elizabeth Moss) finding herself aligned and divided in some surprising ways. Ahead of the new episodes, PopCulture.com had a chance to speak with some of the cast, including Amanda Brugel, who plays Rita, and Sam Jaeger, portraying U.S. government official Mark Tuello. During the conversation, we inquired about how the two characters navigate the show's ever-evolve social terrain, specifically, how Rita and June's relationship is progressing, and if Jaeger sees Mark as the series' most "gray area" character.

Even since they escaped Gilead, Rita and June's connection has not been without its challenges, and there is certainly a question as to how the pair moved forward as friends with Rita simply wanting to move forward while June is not able to do the same. Ultimately, Brugel says she's unsure if the two can remain close without June pulling Rita down. "I don't think that if June continues, without spoilers, continues down the path that she's been on for five seasons, I think as Rita tries to become the healthiest version of herself as possible," the actress offered, "she really starts to create boundaries with June and realizes some of the more toxic relationships."

Brugel continued, "We saw last season her completely shut off Fred [Waterford, played by Joseph Fiennes]. This season, there are moments where she is sort of resistant to Serena Joy [Yvonne Strahovski], and, not Elisabeth, June is her best friend, is the only sort of thing that she has from Gilead that she's able to hold onto and loves. But at the same time, it's not the healthiest relationship when she's with June, who keeps wanting to go backward."

While speaking to Jaeger, we posed the idea that Mark is maybe the Handmaid's Tale character with the least black-and-white nature, to which he replied, "That makes sense. I think Mark lives in what we call no man's land between Gilead and Canada. He's trying to do what's best for what's left of his country and I think democracy, but he's a political animal, so he's going to do whatever he can to try and make sure that his country regains power and strength. And unfortunately, he burns some bridges along the way."


The new season also finds Mark interacting with Gilead and some of its figures more, which makes for some interesting developments. "It's fun to see Mark... it's such a fun show to see Gilead and outside Gilead, and to have those merge, where we get to see Mark meet quite a few of the Gilead characters that he's heard about for so many years on our show," Jaeger said. "It's kind of a nice way back into just what a strange world Gilead is to an outsider. So we get to be Mark's, see the world through Mark's eyes for a little bit. It's really fun." The fourth episode of The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 premiered on Wednesday, only on Hulu.