Is this the start of Aunt Lydia’s redemption arc in The Handmaid’s Tale?
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Since there are plans for developing The Testaments, we need a redemption arc for Lydia in The Handmaid’s Tale. Are we getting the start of that?
While The Handmaid’s Tale Season 6 is going to be the last, there are plans to bring us a spin-off based on the novel The Testaments. It’s clear we’re getting the start of that with The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 with more use of Hannah. We also seem to be getting Aunt Lydia’s redemption arc, which leads to her story in the spin-off novel. If you haven’t read the novel yet, we’re not going into too many details in this post, but there may be some spoilers.
Commander Lawrence made it very clear that Aunt Lydia has been used as a pawn in the Gilead regime. She thinks she’s protecting the girls, but really, she’s been part of this fanatical approach to women in Gilead. She’s been the one wearing her “girls” down, and she didn’t like realizing that.
It was even worse when she realized that she is partly to blame for Esther attempting to poison herself and Janine. Lydia needs to do something. It’s time for change.
Lydia helped to take down Commander Putnam in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5
When Lydia learned that Esther was pregnant, she immediately wanted answers. Had Esther allowed Warren Putnam to put his hands on her? When she realized it was rape, she immediately went to Lawrence.
In previous seasons, we’ve seen Lydia and others teach that women were at fault for being raped. Gilead has a victim-blaming culture about it, and Aunt Lydia was a part of that. Wouldn’t she have continued that with Esther, especially since the rape led to a pregnancy?
Well, no. It looks like Lydia is making some changes. Instead of blaming Esther, she goes to Lawrence to see that something is done about Putnam. At first, Lawrence doesn’t seem to be all that bothered by the way a pregnancy has come about, but this is his style. He remains indifferent but does things behind the scenes. It did all lead to Nick executing Putnam in front of everyone.
This could certainly be the start of Lydia’s redemption arc. She’s realizing that she had it all wrong when it came to her girls. She’s been part of the reason they’ve fought back, and maybe she’ll realize that she was part of the reason June fought back and ran. I think had Janine not been the one poisoned none of this would have happened. Lydia has always had a soft spot for Janine, and now Janine is helping Lydia realize that there is a major issue in Gilead.
What can Lydia do to bring the regime down? You’ll want to read The Testaments* to find out, but I’m sure the series is going to go into some of the details.
Something to note is that I don’t believe redemption arcs are possible for everyone. Those who seek redemption need to believe that what they were doing was wrong in the first place. They need to take steps to make life better for the people they’ve hurt. I’m seeing some of that in Lydia’s character right now, so redemption could be possible for her. It will take a lot of work, though.
What do you think of Lydia’s character arc so far? Is this the start of a redemption story? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
The Handmaid’s Tale airs Wednesdays on Hulu the U.S. and Crave in Canada.