Canada: the true north strong and free. Nothing could be more accurate following Sunday’s latest episode of The Handmaid’s Tale (Sundays at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo), in which a standalone episode revealed exactly what happened to Luke once he was separated from June and Hannah during that harrowing escape.
We have to admit that we were kind of lukewarm on Luke (pun intended) until this episode, mostly because it’s hard to root for a guy and a love story we know essentially nothing about. Before that point in the story it made way more sense to be invested in Nick, because at least we see him interact with Offred in the Waterford household. Heck, sometimes we can even put the whole “Eye” thing aside and even begin to trust him.
Now though, our minds have been blown. In the book we never found out what happened to Luke, so this episode took a pretty big departure. Not only that, but Luke kind of escaped in the most badass way possible. Sure, he didn’t exactly control the ambulance crashing and killing his guards, but he was able to flee with a bunch of drugs and a bullet wound from which he was bleeding out (see picture above). If that’s not badass we don’t know what is.
Plus, the story flashed back just far enough that we got to see how long Luke, June and Hannah had been on the run, and what kinds of sacrifices that entailed. It was pretty telling of their love story, their family dynamic and of Luke’s willingness to protect his girls no matter what. And that made it all the more heartbreaking when they were separated in the end.
This episode was important in other ways though, and those reasons have little to do with the romance department. Here’s a mini breakdown of all the paths Luke’s new back story may have to offer in the near future and also heading into an already ordered second season.
We now know what the other side looks like
And yeah, it looks a whole lot like Canada. The whole show was shot in Toronto, and ironically that scene with the CN Tower at the refugee camp was the only time the series had to actually CGI the Tower back into a shot; usually they’re taking it out. Anyhow, life for refugees isn’t great, but it certainly seems a heck of a lot better than life under Gilead’s totalitarian regime. There’s no coffee, but there’s no cattle-prods or hangings, either.
Luke’s handmaid friend
We still don’t know the name of the blonde haired girl who escaped with Luke, all we know is that she was in training to be a handmaid. Whatever happened to her was bad (we’d know that in following Offred’s story). And it was bad enough that she can no longer talk about it. That should give Luke some indication of what June may be like should she ever escape her own personal hell.
This is another situation inspired by real-life events
If you haven’t been paying attention to the situation in Syria, and the extreme needs of those former citizens, perhaps this show will inspire you to. The writers and the producers had tons of dialogue with the U.N. in crafting their episodes and took a lot of the feedback they got to heart. For many refugees, a camp in another country with donations and compassion is their only hope after losing everything. This show just hits a little closer to home because it takes place in America. Something tells us there’s a lot more story to be told here, especially about the conditions, the way the camp functions, and some external people’s reactions to it all.
At one point in the episode, as Luke was walking down the hall at the centre and all of those pictures of missing people plastered the walls, our hearts broke. If so many people were missing loved ones, then what made June and her story so special? Well maybe it’s the fact that she herself has a string of hope to hold onto, now that she knows Luke is alive. And now that we know there is indeed another side and that it’s possible to get to it, maybe there could be a happy ending in store for this series after all.
Perhaps that might even be what’s going to keep us strong when we tune back into the world of Gilead once again next week. Because something tells us it’s going to be darker than ever, and hope is something we could all use more of right about now.