The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 finale explained: what happens in episode, how to watch UK, is there a season 6?

In The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 finale, Safe, June realises that she is anything but

Season five of dystopian thriller The Handmaid’s Tale continues June’s journey as she escapes to Canada and away from the clutches of the totalitarian Gilead. The series, based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, is set in a world where America has become a patriarchal regime which subjugates women (hard to believe isn’t it?)

After outstripping the novel in the second season, the show has continued the story of June Osborne, who was renamed Offred and forced to work as a handmaiden for a powerful Gilead family. This is what happened in the season five finale:

Elisabeth Moss as June in The Handmaid’s TaleElisabeth Moss as June in The Handmaid’s Tale
Elisabeth Moss as June in The Handmaid’s Tale

When is The Handmaid’s season 5 finale on TV?

The final episode of The Handmaid’s Tale season 5, Safe, will air in the UK on Channel 4 on Monday 19 December at 9pm. The episode will be available to watch on All4 shortly after it is first broadcast. All previous episodes from season 1-5 are on All4 now.

What happens in the season 5 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale?

*Spoilers for season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale*

Season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale begins with June living in Canada, where she appears to be safe from the forces of Gilead. However, over the course of the latest series it became clear that Canada wasn’t a safe haven after all.

In the final episode of season five, June catches a train out of Toronto with Nichole - and they are surprised to find that Serena, June’s long-time adversary is on the same train. Their meeting and tentative reconciliation could mean that the pair will join forced against Gilead going forward.

Gilead enlisted a Canadian citizen who did not support the influx of refugees to assassinate June - Luke put the would-be assassin in the hospital and the man later died. To save June and Nichole, Luke handed himself in to the authorities and could face a long prison term for the killing.

O-T Fagbenle as Luke in The Handmaid’s TaleO-T Fagbenle as Luke in The Handmaid’s Tale
O-T Fagbenle as Luke in The Handmaid’s Tale

Nick found himself pulled between Gilead and Canada with both sides offering him the chance to be with June if he helped them - Nck began working for the American government in Canada with the promise that he would secure June’s protection, but when he attacked Commander Lawrence he put himself in jeopardy.

As Nick’s partner Rose has made it clear that she doesn’t want to stay with him, Nick has very little left in Gilead, so he too could make the move across the border to Canada in the next season.

Will there be a season 6 of The Handmaid’s Tale?

Yes, it has been confirmed that The Handmaid’s Tale will return for season six, however, this will be the last season of the show. The last season of The Handmaid’s Tale is likely to air in the US in September 2023, and will come to the UK on Channel 4 one month later.

The final season will provide an endgame between June and her allies and the forces of Gilead. Showrunner Bruce Miller said: "It has been a true honour to tell the story of Margaret Atwood’s groundbreaking novel and the chillingly relevant world, and we are thrilled to bring viewers a sixth and final season of The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Additionally, a new series set in the same world as the Handmaid’s Tale and based on the novel’s 2019 sequel, The Testaments, is expected to arrive on Hulu in the US some time next year. The series is set 15 years after the events of The Handmaid’s Tale and features an entirely different set of characters.

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