The fourth season of Hulu’s dystopian series ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ ends with June Osborne trying her best to put an end to Commander Fred Waterford’s efforts to become a free man. June makes a deal with Mark Tuello in which she facilitates the freedom of over twenty women from Gilead in return for Fred’s departure to Gilead with the help of Commanders Joseph Lawrence and Nick Blaine. Fred, who has been dreaming of becoming a free man, ends up in the hands of Nick and June. As June exacts her vengeance on her abuser, one must be wondering whether we have seen the last of Joseph Fiennes in the show. Let’s find out!
What Happened to Commander Fred Waterford?
After getting imprisoned by International Criminal Court, Fred lets the ICC know that he can reveal everything the Court needs to know about Gilead, including the crimes that have been happening in the country, the people who have been committing the same, and the operation of the regime, in return for his freedom. ICC strikes a deal with Fred, startling June. She believes that the justice she deserves is being denied when her abuser is going to walk away as a free man. When Mark Tuello tells her that there is nothing she can do about it, she reaches out to Commander Joseph Lawrence.
Lawrence proposes a prisoner exchange to Tuello. He agrees to free twenty-two women from Gilead in return for Fred. Tuello proposes the deal to his superiors, garners permission to move forward with the same, and handover Fred to Lawrence and Nick. Much to Fred’s surprise, Nick takes him to a no man’s land to hand him over to June. She joins Emily and several other former Handmaids to kill Fred. They beat him up to death and hang him. To let Fred’s wife Serena Joy Waterford know that she killed her husband, June even sends her a severed finger of Fred and his wedding ring.
Since Fred is dead and the fifth season premiere episode confirms the same, the admirers of Joseph Fiennes must want to know whether the actor had parted ways with the dystopian show. Well, here’s what we know.
Did Joseph Fiennes Leave The Handmaid’s Tale?
Yes, Joseph Fiennes did leave ‘The Handmaid’s Tale.’ After the fourth season finale, Fiennes confirmed that he exited the show. “I’ve grown to so love and cherish my time and the wonderful relationships I have with cast, crew, actors, directors, producers, everyone. […] I’m sad to leave behind such a great company who have raised my game as an actor,” the actor told Elle.
Fiennes had also expressed how much he would miss being a part of the show. “I will miss everyone that I’ve grown to love—my brothers and sisters on the show. I will miss the extraordinary array of talented people, from the camera department to the actors and directors, the writers—it was a privilege to have been on that journey,” the actor told Vanity Fair. “And I’ll miss the fun we had. Believe it or not, we had a lot of fun,” he added. However, we may have not seen the last of Fiennes in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ yet. Although the actor had departed from the show, it can be temporary.
As far as creator Bruce Miller is concerned, Fred’s death doesn’t mean that Fiennes’ journey in the show had come to an end. “[…] the character [Fred] dying doesn’t mean Joe stops coming and being part of the cast. We do have quite a heavy flashback show,” Miller told THR. “[…] it would be much worse if we thought we were never going to see Joe again on set. There’s two different aspects to it: the heartbreak of the story and the heartbreak of real life. And at least the heartbreak of real life is neutered a little bit by knowing we’re going to be seeing him again,” Miller added.
In addition, Fiennes is also open to Fred’s storyline continuing through flashback scenes. “I would love to see a flashback of the really early years [of Fred]. I’ve always felt, certainly for subsidiary characters, it’s so helpful to have those backstories,” Fiennes told Elle in the same interview. Thus, we can expect to see the actor back in the show as Fred after a break to feature in flashback scenes.