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One Quote That Goes Against Each Main Character Personality

As June clashes with Serena in The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, viewers understand how and why June became the ruthless and brave rebel she is today. She endured so much trauma in Gilead, and survival meant acting like a different person – an obedient handmaid – before seeking asylum in Canada. This is most evident through some of the words she uttered, which some people knew were uncharacteristic of June.


But June wasn’t the only character to express their opinions that were not within their nature. Some Gilead supporters, like Serena and Aunt Lydia, have stated things against the government’s ideology. On the other hand, survivors, like Moira, set their optimism aside to discern the harsh reality of the world.

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“I’ve Learned That He Likes It When I Flirt…”

June Osborne, “Faithful” (S1.E5)

The quotes continue: “…And I like it when he lets me win. We’re a match made in heaven.” Spoken in the first season, the line initially portrayed June as a submissive handmaid who was simply doing what she had been told, falling under the spell of Gilead’s doctrine. But it’s revealed as she continues cozying up to Commander Waterford that she was cleverly trying to figure out a way to curry favor with him in hopes of getting freed.

She said these words in voiceover as she also talked about their secret rendezvous playing Scrabble and chatting in his office. It’s a complete departure from the angry June fans know in later seasons. June grew to develop an intense hatred for Fred, which led to her being one of many characters on The Handmaid’s Tale who almost died but didn’t.

“Thank You. I Won’t Forget Your Help.”

Serena Joy Waterford, “Women’s Work” (S2.E8)

Serena Joy Waterford from The Handmaid's Tale dressed in black with a black veil, looking down.

It’s not like Serena to speak kind words to anyone below her in the ranks, much less a woman. But she was actually, on a few occasions, nice to June. And it wasn’t always only when June was pregnant with “her” child.

In this instance, when realizing that some changes needed to be made in Gilead, Serena took it upon herself to write a proposal to present to the commanders. But doing so in secret meant she didn’t have any help. She leveraged June’s prior position as an editor for help and showed genuine gratitude after the fact.

“I Wish I Could Give You A World Without Violence, Without Pain.”

Aunt Lydia Clements, “After” (S2.E7)

Aunt Lydia from The Handmaid's Tale, looking sternly at handmaids.

Aunt Lydia Clements wasn’t inherently a cruel person, as evidenced from the flashback episode about her life prior to Gilead. But she was also fiercely devoted to the community and believed that even cruelty to others was a justifiable means to an end. She was fully behind all the most terrifying laws in The Handmaid’s Tale.

But, when Aunt Lydia spoke these words, they sounded just and compassionate. But they also came after she witnessed several handmaids being killed for their “sins,” which she believed to be a suitable punishment. Knowing this, the statement doesn’t sound quite so honest and compassionate.

“No Woman Was Ever Rich Enough, Young Enough, Pretty Enough, Good Enough.”

Fred Waterford, “Faithful” (S1.E5)

Fred Waterford from The Handmaid's Tale wearing a suit and looking angry.

Initially, this statement sounds as though Commander Waterford was speaking ill of men who were never satisfied with one woman and were always looking for more. But in reality, anything Commander Waterford says that has any inclination of being honest and moral went against his personality. The irony in this statement, for example, is that Fred did indeed mean it about the “old world” and how men were never satisfied and dealt with “made up problems.”

Yet, he also had a doting wife but chose to visit Jezebel’s, the underground venue in Gilead where high-ranking commanders and other officials went to indulge their carnal needs and engage with women being forced to work as prostitutes. The quote makes it sound as though Fred believed the society he created rid the world of problems, like men never being content with one woman. But, it seems those issues still very much exist in Gilead. Interestingly, Fred’s death was one plot twist from The Handmaid’s Tale that fans didn’t see coming, surprisingly given how many female enemies he made along the way.

“You Have A Beautiful Daughter, Mrs. Putnam.”

Janine Lindo, “Ballet” (S5.E2)

Janine from The Handmaid's Tale looking a someone

Janine was never one to hold back her words or thoughts, which is what got her eye damaged when she first entered Gilead. From there, Janine spiraled into a deeply troubled mental state, having a hard time dealing with the situation. It got even worse when she was forced to become pregnant and then give her daughter up to the Putnams to raise as their own.

She said these words to Commander Putnam’s wife Naomi about her own biological daughter Angela when she saw the young toddler for the first time in ages. The words were completely against Janine’s typical personality, especially considering that she went through with the conception “ceremony” and birth. Janine would give anything to have Angela back, but she managed to hold her emotions in and bite her tongue to get the words out.

“We’re Being Stupid.”

Nick Blaine, “Jezebels” (S1.E8)

Nick – one of the best supporting characters on The Handmaid’s Tale – was always level-headed and loyal to Gilead, even if he didn’t always believe in their methods. He continued this line: “You know we’re being stupid. It’s too dangerous.” He rarely shied away from danger and was always willing to do what needed to be done.

Thus, this line was unlike him, but it also showed how much Nick truly cared for June and wanted to be with her. He wasn’t willing to give up what he had to do it or put himself in danger. But simply recognizing that he was doing something that was not a smart decision went against his typical confident personality.

“Everybody’s Talking About Happily Ever After, But There’s Just After.”

Moira Strand, “Unknown Caller” (S3.E5)

Moira was one of the lucky ones who was able to escape from Gilead to safety in Canada. There, she dedicated her time to saving others who managed to escape, reuniting them with their families, setting them up with support, and trying to help her friends like June get to safety.

Moira was usually blunt and honest, but also hopeful. So, when she said these words, it went against her usual optimistic, albeit angered, mindset. She realized at that moment that even when women and children escaped, they would still be dealing with the trauma of what happened to them for the rest of their lives. What’s more, some might never recover.

“We Don’t Have The Proper Infrastructure For Unusual Women To Live Within Our Borders.”

Commander Lawrence, “Border” (S5.E3)

During a meeting with the commanders and Serena Joy, Commander Lawrence spoke in a way that fans might not expect. While some believed that marrying Serena could be a win-win for both, as Serena had implied, he completely tossed out that idea with this statement. While Commander Lawrence was cunning and clever and could have found a way to help Serena, he chose not to.

Instead, he along with the others decided to banish her to Toronto hoping she might be able to spread the word of Gilead there. Given how Commander Lawrence implied time and time again to June that he was not happy with the direction Gilead had gone, it was completely against his typical personality to give Serena the freedom to expand its reach without first fixing the issues that existed.

“Trusting Anyone’s Dangerous. Especially A Carpet-Munching Gender Traitor.”

Emily, “Birth Day” (S1.E2)

While the words were spoken to describe the state of the world in Gilead, it was unlike Emily to be so forthcoming about the situation. As a lesbian woman, she had to hide her sexuality and was forced to perform the “ceremony” with her commanders. When it was discovered that she was in a secret relationship with another one, her partner was sentenced to death, and she was brutally mutilated.

Emily suffered greatly in Gilead, as others did. While she managed to get out, she was never the same. In the latest season, it’s said that Emily returned to Gilead to try and fight because she simply could not readjust to life back at home. This comment, spoken out of anger and disgust at the fact that she was considered a “gender traitor,” was something no one would have expected her to say given her usual soft-spoken albeit fiercely determined and highly intellectual nature.

“That’s Not Your Child.”

Mark Tuello, “Smart Power” (S2.E9)

A representative of the U.S. government, Mark Tuello was always kind and helpful to Serena, even when he was capturing and imprisoning her. He appeared to have a soft spot for her, though he did not agree with the nation of Gilead and everything it stood for. So, when he spoke these words to Serena in response when she mentioned she had a baby, it came out of left field.

It was Mark speaking on a personal level, clearly, but he often held back his true opinions for the sake of the job. In this instance, however, he insulted Serena and Gilead, which was unlike him. He followed up stating that he “meant no offense,” but it was clearly that in some way, he did.

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