Note: This article contains spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale seasons 4 and 5. Read on with care!
Even after five seasons of bodily autonomy drama, The Handmaid’s Tale star Elizabeth Moss still has room for new standout moments—and a recent one came when Moss herself was behind the camera.
The fifth season of the Hulu drama had its two-episode premiere on September 14, and opens with a somewhat somber celebration. The premiere takes place in the 24-hour-period following (extra spoiler warning!) Fred’s (Joseph Fiennes) murder at the hands of his former handmaid June, who he’s routinely assaulted for years, as is Gilead’s custom.
The last time we saw June, she and a group of handmaids were murdering Fred in the woods, invoking bloody justice for his actions and the hierarchy he upheld. When we meet her again, in a season 5 opening scene Moss directed and calls one of her favorites of the series, June and her fellow handmaids are sharing a “bacchanal” style feast in a diner to the tune of Dolly Parton’s “Gettin’ Happy.”
“The guilt that she feels is very palpable and she wants to be punished. She wants someone to tell her what is right and what is wrong,” Moss tells The Hollywood Reporter of that diner sequence, and the self-reflection it spurs for June. “Coming out of Gilead, she has a very skewed idea of what is right and what is wrong, and of violence and when it’s right and when it’s wrong, having not only been the victim of violence but witnessing it so many times. She desperately wants somebody to say, ‘What you did was wrong and you need to be punished for it.’ And, she doesn’t get it. She doesn’t get that release. She doesn’t get that satisfaction. So, she doesn’t know where to put it.”
Although Moss is exceedingly proud of the new season’s opener, she also shared excitement for what’s to come this season. Per Moss, it’s a whole lot.
“We’re working on the finale and it’s really interesting to go back and see where we started, back to episodes one and two, because we really go so far from episode two to the finale. We go a long way. This season is wild; that’s the word I would use.”