The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 finale saw June Osborne kill Fred Waterford, and in doing so she effectively chose Nick Blaine over Luke Bankole.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for The Handmaid’s Tale season 4, episode 10, “The Wilderness.”
June Osborne made some big decisions in The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 finale, and one of them was effectively choosing Nick Blaine over Luke Bankole. The two love interests in June’s life long represented the split in her story: Nick represented her present in Gilead when she was forced into being Offred, with Luke representing her life before she was captured, but also, seemingly, her future. It was expected that June escaping Gilead to Canada would be bad news for anyone wanting her to end up with Nick, but that’s not quite how things have played out across The Handmaid’s Tale’s Nick and June season 4 arc.
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A happy ending for June and Nick remains incredibly unlikely, even with The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 kicking off September 14, 2022. Nick remains entrapped within Gilead, and it’s hard to see any chance of him getting out alive. At the same time, though, June and Luke have struggled to make things work since she arrived in Canada, and the events of the season 4 finale, “The Wilderness,” which saw June and other Handmaids kill Fred Waterford, only served to exacerbate things in that regard.
Related: The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Ending Explained (& What Happens Next?)
June killing Fred was one of The Handmaid’s Tale’s biggest moments so far, but it’s not where that storyline ends. In the closing moments of season 4, June says goodbye to Nichole and tells Luke she’ll be leaving. For his part, Luke looks completely broken by what June has done, and she herself is leaving because they need distance from each other and have different paths to walk right now, rather than being in any legal trouble for Fred’s death (at least as it stands, though that could change). June killed Fred out of her own thirst for revenge, and while it was also a decision made with Nichole in mind because it’s about ridding the world of dangerous men like Fred and the systems that uphold them, it also put Nick before Luke, giving him a key role in Fred Waterford’s death in The Handmaid’s Tale and showing what he gives June that Luke doesn’t. The Handmaid’s Tale’s Nick and June season 4 ending, therefore, makes perfect sense.
June Left Luke Because He Doesn’t Know Her Anymore
Luke loves June and wants to understand and help her, but there’s a large part of her that he doesn’t know. It’s that part of June that drives her to kill Fred, and it’s that which Nick truly understands and appreciates better than anyone. For as long as June is on a quest to bring down Gilead, save her daughter, Hannah, and overcome her trauma, then it will always be difficult for her to be with Luke, while she will always be drawn to Nick. He is the one who can deliver what she wants in the season 4 finale, and also the person she would trust to do so.
It had previously felt as though June and Nick’s romance ended with their meeting at the Maria Magdalena Academy in season 4, episode 9, “Progress,” which felt like a goodbye, but it seems more clear their fates will remain entwined for a while longer. The pair share a kiss before Fred is chased to his death, which further highlights just how much they understand one another: it’s an otherwise dark moment and signifies how Nick understands this side of June because of his own experiences in Gilead and his empathy with June’s position.
Why June Had To Pick Nick In Handmaid’s Tale Season 4
Actress Elisabeth Moss has also supported the idea that Nick and June’s season 4 storyline is inevitable, telling Elle: “She wants to be with Nick. She’s in love with Nick.” This underlines June’s thinking in The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 finale: while Luke can offer her so many great things like a safe, happy family life, Moss herself admits that June belongs with Nick. She has been changed too much by Gilead, and she and Nick share something different. Nick’s ultimate goal remains deliberately obscured by the show’s storytelling since he has to continue serving as a Commander in Gilead and hasn’t always done everything to help June, but it seems that he is shifting more fully to her side. Nick is the one with whom June feels genuine electricity, even though she cares for and loves Luke, and the Gilead commander is also the one who can give her what she wants. Killing Fred is a choice that June makes despite knowing it’ll have major consequences for her relationship with Luke, and it’s also one that brings her closer to Nick once again – however fleetingly – further cementing them as the show’s primary romantic pairing.
Related: Handmaid’s Tale Season 5’s Gilead Change Can Explain 1 Character Absence
Ultimately, The Handmaid’s Tale’s Nick and June season 4 storyline illustrates that while June technically had a choice in who to be with, Nick was always destined to win out. Luke and June shared a genuine connection once. However, based on the path of revenge that June is currently on and the ways her trauma has changed her, Nick is the option that makes the most sense for her character. Being with Nick allows June to continue on her current trajectory, whereas choosing Luke would have meant moving past Gilead and trying to find a semblance of the peace she knew before. The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 and beyond could allow June this development eventually. However, for now, she’s still deeply embroiled in the fight against Gilead and has a continuing entanglement with Nick.
Next: What To Expect From The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5
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James is Screen Rant’s Movies Lead Editor, having started out as a writer for the site back in 2019. A Sports Journalism graduate, James quickly realized that supporting Sunderland AFC was painful enough without writing about it, and so decided to talk a load of rubbish about movies and TV instead. Formerly the TV editor at WhatCulture, he has a particular love of Star Wars (The Last Jedi was great), Game of Thrones (season 8 was good), and Harry Potter (J.K. Rowling…never mind) – y’know, all that really niche, nerdy stuff. Spending most of his days editing articles about or writing on movies and shows, James likes to really get away from work and unwind by, er, watching movies and shows. He’s fuelled by pint-sized cups of tea, peanut butter, more tea, and a quiet, constant anger (like the Hulk, only not green, or strong, or big).
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