"Black van, feet first. I know the way out."
          - Moira about the odds to escape [1]

Moira Strand is a main character in the Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid's Tale. She is June Osborne's best friend since adolescence, who became something of a legend amongst the other Handmaids for successfully escaping the Red Center. She is portrayed by Samira Wiley in the television series.

Story[edit | edit source]

Differences to the novel[edit | edit source]

Moira's character remains mostly unchanged. The most notable alteration is that when June arrives at the Red Center, Moira has already been there for some time and shows her how things work in the Center, whereas in the book, their roles were reversed. In addition, in the novel, Moira is depicted as being Caucasian, whilst in the TV series, she is depicted as African American. This is due to a change from the novel, where African Americans, or the 'Children of Ham', as Gilead calls them, were discriminated against and extradited from the nation, a theme the writers and producers dropped for the series.

Before Gilead[edit | edit source]

Moira Strand is present when June and Luke meet the first time[2].

June is progressing through labor with Luke and Moira. She asks Moira if her mom has called and Moira says she'll text her again[3].

Hannah’s christening ceremony is attended by Luke, godmother Moira and grandmother Holly, who warns June against using religion to make decisions[4].

Moira tells June that she is going to get $250,000 for being a surrogate mother for a couple in England. June wonders if she won't get attached to the baby instead. Moira and June go to an ultrasound. Moira refuses the photo, though June pushes her to.

Moira goes to a birthing class with June. She looks around at the happy couples and becomes insulted when June tells her that Luke used to rub her feet every night when she was pregnant. Moira becomes insulted that she "throws Luke in [her] face". June answers that their marriage is not perfect and jokes about Luke's inability to load the dishwasher[5].

Moira has given birth and gives her baby, Gavin, to a doctor. He begins crying after leaving her arms. She watches as he is given to a new couple. June says that she forgot how small they are, to what Moira answers that she "[is] still sitting on ice". She continues to watch the baby with his new parents[5].

The parents send Moira a card on Gavin's six-month birthday. Later, Moira runs into Odette, the doctor who helped with her pregnancy. Odette helps her pick out wine and tells Moira to call her by her first name since she is not her patient anymore[5].

After the takeover[edit | edit source]

June and Moira learn that the government has frozen all women's bank accounts and they cannot use any of their credit cards. They take part in a protest against the new laws, only for the police to turn violent, who open fire on the crowds with machine guns. The protesters flee, with June holding Moira's hand and narrowly escaping by hiding in a shop[6].

At the Red Center[edit | edit source]

June and various other women are brought in the Red Center, where June and Moira meet again[7]. June later attempts to escape with Moira; they take Aunt Elizabeth captive and Moira takes her clothes and pass to disguise herself as an Aunt. They make it to the train station, but June draws the attention of a Guardian who becomes suspicious. Seeing Moira has a chance to escape on the train that has just arrived, June silently gives her her blessing and Moira is able to board a train, whilst June is taken back to the Red Center. [8].

Moira successfully makes it to a safe house owned by a Quaker family. They put her on the Femaleroad, but her courier is stopped and shot outside the city. Moira is later taken to a brothel known as "Jezebel's"[1].

Present, season one[edit | edit source]

Reunion with Moira (Relationships/June and Moira)

Commander Fred, Offred and Nick visit Jezebel's, a secret brothel/sex club which well-to-do men frequent. Visibly shaken, Offred sees Moira across the bar. Having to hide the shock, Offred excuses herself to the women's restroom and finds Moira. The two have an emotional reunion, but Moira is shooed out by a superior. Moira tells Offred to find her later. Fred and Offred go to stay in a hotel room. Later while Fred is sleeping, Offred sneaks down to see Moira. Moira tells her about her escape, the last time they saw each other, and how she found her post at Jezebel's. After insisting that they can't escape, Moira shuts Offred down and sends her away[1].

Don't let them grind you down

When Fred and Offred go to Jezebel's again, they go straight to the hotel room. Fred ordered Offred a "surprise" - a girl, Ruby, aka Moira. He noticed that they looked friendly the last time they were at the club so he thought it would be a nice surprise. Moira is furious that Offred is back at the club and a part of the rebellion movement. She refuses to get "Rachel's Package" for Offred, claiming not to know a "Rachel". Offred isn't able to retrieve the package when she's at the club, they return home. Moira is seen killing one of her customers in the club, putting on a uniform, and driving off in one of the black cars owned by the government.[9].

Offred is later seen going to the supermarket where she orders some meat. The butcher slyly gives her the secret package that she was supposed to retrieve at Jezebel's, with a note from Moira attached[9].

Moira manages to escape to Ontario, Canada, after she murders a client at Jezebel's and steals an SUV. She ends up in a refugee camp where she is given clothes, a phone, money, and food. Luke comes and finds her there and she bursts into tears when they are reunited.[10]. She then moves into an apartment with Luke and Erin [11].

Present, season two[edit | edit source]

Moira is at a club drinking. She spots a girl and they have sex in the bathroom. Moira then introduces to her as "Ruby", her former alias in "Jezebel's". When she returns home early in the morning, she mobs (a still silent) Erin who is having cereal for breakfast. To her surprise, Erin replies "Blessed be the 'froot loops'", spoofing a Gileadean salutation towards Handmaids. They laugh [11].

Moira is sitting looking though photos of people who died trying to escape, to see what happen to her old girlfriend Odette. After the night of looking through pictures she finds her[5].

The Commander and Serena land in Canada. Moira recognizes Fred and she points him out to Luke and Erin as they watch television. Moira and Luke go to the U.S. embassy and ask Rachel to arrest Fred but she tells them that it isn't possible. She encourages Moira and Luke to attend a planned protest[12].

Luke, Moira, and Erin go through the stack of letters that Luke got from Nick. Moira is upset that it isn't something they can use against Gilead but Erin says that this is something that they can use against them. The next day, Commander Fred and Serena are told to go directly to the airport because the letters were uploaded to the Internet and the public outrage was overwhelming. At the airport, they can barely pull their car onto the tarmac. Moira is there protesting with a sign that shows Fred that her name is actually Moira, not Ruby[12].

Later, Moira and Luke are celebrating their departure with a large group of people. They begin to sing "America the Beautiful"[12].

Present, season three[edit | edit source]

Night (Season 3)[edit | edit source]

In Little America, Luke rushes to the post office with Moira hot on her heels. He receives an envelope, inside is a picture of Hannah. Luke is relieved that she is safe. Emily appears behind them with Nichole, telling Luke that his wife saved her life.

Mary and Martha[edit | edit source]

In Canada, we see Luke digging through some paperwork. Baby Nichole is now living with Luke, Moira and Erin. Emily comes over for dinner and a visibly primed Luke asks her why she hasn’t yet contacted her wife Sylvia or their son Oliver. As it gets awkward, Luke storms out, to which Moira explains “He looks at you, he sees June”, adding he’d want Hannah and Nichole’s mom to call if she made it to safety. Emily says June would call, because “she’s a lot stronger than me.” Moira says she understands Emily’s fear, because a lot of the reunions aren’t the storybook endings that people imagine.

God Bless the Child[edit | edit source]

Luke and Moira make arrangements to have Nichole baptized because "this little one should be absolved of their sins", as Luke points out.

Under His Eye[edit | edit source]

Moira tells Emily that Canada needs to stand up to the tyrannical and child-greedy Gilead. She says that Nichole is a refugee just like them. Emily agrees and asks Moira if she misses her old job. Moira says sometimes and that she misses the people. When Moira asks Emily about her career before the rise of Gilead, Emily tells Moira that she was a professor who used to work at a biolab. She tells Emily that she studied at Harvard University, lived in Minnesota, and that she once dated a firefighter from Charlestown. However, the firefighter had a boyfriend. While conversing, Moira receives a text message and says that she has to leave for a protest. Emily asks if she can come along.

Later, at the protest, Moira confronts the Canadian Immigration Minister, demanding to know why the Canadian Government has not designated Gilead refugees safe from deportation. The Canadian minister tries to reassure them that Canada protects refugees. Moira demands to know why Canada is negotiating with Gilead. The Immigration Minister responds that it is in the interests of all Canadians and all Canadian refugees to keep the peace with all its neighbors. One of the protesters responds that there is actually no peace with Gilead.

As the Immigration Minister tries to enter his car, Moira slams the door and demands to know why he won't refuse Gilead custody of Baby Nichole. The Minister responds that the birth mother relinquished her rights. Emily, who is trailing them, responds that Nichole's birth mother gave her baby to her so that she could escape that hellhole. Moira and Nichole fight with the security detail.

Moira finds herself in a police holding cell with Emily. The two of them have been arrested by Canadian police for accosting the Immigration Minister. Emily tells Moira that Sylvia is giving her some space. She also reveals to Moira that she killed a Wife in the Colonies by poisoning her. She tells Moira she is not sorry. Moira in return tells her that she killed a Commander. She says look at what they have turned us into. Moira still believes they are good. The two wait in their cells, separated by metal bars.

Sacrifice[edit | edit source]

Moira arrives with Luke and Nichole to the prison where Serena and Fred are being detained for an arranged visitation. After going through security, she is brought to Serena's cell where she is introduced to Serena by Mark Tuello. Moira identifies herself as June's friend, and when Serena thanks her for bringing Nichole, Moira emphasizes that she's June's daughter. Mark then says Moira will go to the waiting room while the visit is taking place. She then lets the social worker know where supplies are for the baby, and Serena adds that Nichole will be fine with her.

Disgusted, Moira asks Serena who does she think she is, adding that new clothes doesn't make her any different, and is still the woman who held June down while Fred raped her. She also reveals that Fred raped her too while she was working at Jezebel's. Before Mark takes her out of the room, Moira concludes by saying she's sinned a lot, but Serena is the gender traitor.

Mayday[edit | edit source]

After the plane carrying the escaped children arrives in Canada, Moira is the first to greet them, volunteering as an aid worker for the Refugee Aid Foundation of Canada (Luke and Emily are also among the volunteers). She introduces herself and says she's there to help them. A Daughter (Rebecca) asks her if Canada is the place where she could wear what she wants, to which Moira replies that it is. She helps guide the new refugees off the plane and wraps the girl in a blanket, asking her what her name is. She then hears a voice, which belongs to a fellow volunteer which is revealed to be Rebecca's real father and watches as the two are reunited.

Photo Gallery[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Episode 1.8, "Jezebels"
  2. Episode 1.5, "Faithful"
  3. Episode 2.11, "Holly (Episode)"
  4. Episode 3.4, "God Bless the Child"
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 Episode 2.7, "After"
  6. Episode 1.3, "Late"
  7. Episode 1, "Offred"
  8. Episode 1.4, "Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum"
  9. 9.0 9.1 Episode 1.9, "The Bridge"
  10. Episode 1.10, "Night"
  11. 11.0 11.1 Episode 2.3, "Baggage"
  12. 12.0 12.1 12.2 Episode 2.9, "Smart Power"

References[edit source]

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