Fans of The Handmaid’s Tale have come up with a shocking theory about Serena based on the Israeli trailer for the finale. It might just change your attitude on whether or not she deserves a severe punishment right alongside Fred. This article could have major spoilers for Episode 13 if this fan theory is true. And it will have spoilers for the rest of the episodes in Season 3.
(Note: If you’re here as a Season 4 viewer, check out our review of the first three episodes of Season 4 here.)
To understand how this fan theory got started, you first need to watch the Israeli trailer. It’s included below.
In the trailer, we see that Commander Waterford looks like he’s turned completely against Serena, which isn’t a big surprise since he found out in Episode 12 that Serena had plotted against him. He’s taking her advice to only worry about himself seriously. We see him talking to someone, likely Tuello, and saying: “What Mrs. Waterford did is far beyond the laws of Gilead.” Then in another trailer scene, we see Serena with Nichole having another visit. This time she’s outside, but she’s still on the prison grounds. It looks like she’s about to get arrested (though they don’t actually show that part.)
Fans have been wondering just what Fred might have meant when he was talking about something Serena did that was “beyond the laws of Gilead.” Guesses ranged from the rape of June that she arranged to the time she forged documents in his name. But there’s a much more sinister possibility – a secret Fred might have that hasn’t been shared with anyone yet, including the viewers.
The theory is that the Waterfords’ first Handmaid – the first Offred – didn’t actually kill herself. Serena killed the first Offred and Fred helped her make it look like a suicide.
We’ve been told that Rita was the one who discovered the first Offred hanging in her room. Nick cut the rope but couldn’t save her; she was already dead. As Offred’s body is carried away, Serena says to Fred: “What did you think was going to happen?”
This same Offred had written in the wall of her closet, “Nolite te bastardes carborundorum,” aka “Don’t let the bastards get you down.”
We later learned that the dress Fred had June wear to Jezebel’s was the same dress that Fred had the first Offred wear to Jezebel’s. June was told that “men don’t change” in reference to Fred and the first Offred. We’re never told why Offred killed herself, but it appears Fred was obsessed with her like he was with June. The idea is that Fred’s obsession led to Offred’s suicide.
However, the new theory circulating is that Serena was enraged over Fred’s interest in Offred and killed her in a fit of rage. Then Serena and Fred worked together to make it look like a suicide and left her body for Rita to find. Either that, or Serena did it all by herself, but revealed what she did to Fred when she said: “What did you think was going to happen.”
It’s easy to forget given the current storyline just how evil and awful Serena can be, especially to her Handmaids. Remember, we’ve seen her have very violent outbursts. Remember when she bashed June’s head into a wall? Remember when she essentially tortured June? Remember when she had June raped to induce her labor? Serena has a dark and violent side that comes out when she feels jealous or powerless. It’s not outside the realm of possibility that she might have killed the first Handmaid.
There are some points against this theory though. Some fans think it might take away from the First Offred’s story to not have her kill herself. Other fans thought that she hung herself with a white scarf similar to what Fred wears, perhaps as a subtle sign about why she did what she did. There’s a certain poetry to that, but it’s also possible that Serena used Fred’s scarf as her own symbol.
If Serena did kill their first Handmaid and Fred offers that information to Tuello, would that be enough, though? I mean, look at everything Fred has done and all the murders he is accountable for. It stills seems like even with that knowledge, Serena (with less crimes that Fred) would be a better asset than Fred. Some fans think this is a fascinating theory, but it won’t be ultimately what she did that was “beyond the laws of Gilead.”
What do you think about this theory?