The central tension of the show: June vs. Serena

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The Handmaid's Tale has always been a show about June (Elisabeth Moss) and her fraught relationship with Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski). 

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Even as the series has expanded its scope to include the lives of other handmaids.

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Both within June's immediate circle and beyond, the central tension has remained the same: 

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June wants to escape Gilead, and Serena wants to keep her there.

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The final season of the show has been building to a reckoning between the two women, and it finally came to a head in the penultimate episode.

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After a season of simmering anger and resentment, June finally exploded at Serena, accusing her of being a complicit partner in the atrocities committed by the regime.

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"You helped design this place, Serena," June spat. 

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"You helped make it what it is. You are just as culpable as any of them."

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It was a powerful moment that crystallized the themes of the show: the complicated dynamics of power and control. 

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The ways that women are forced to compete with and against each other in a patriarchal system.

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