In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Commander Lawrence remains a conundrum. The influential architect of Gilead always keeps his cards close to his chest. When Aunt Lydia requests punishment for Warren Putnam, Lawrence initially laughs at her. However, Nick and Commander Lawrence later carry out retribution. Here’s why Putnam’s execution was beneficial for Lawrence.
[SPOILER ALERT: Spoilers ahead for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5.]
Bradley Whitford as Commander Lawrence and Max Minghella as Nick in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5 | Sophie Giraud/Hulu
Nick and Commander Lawrence execute Warren Putnam in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5
In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Warren Putnam proves his depraved and disgusting nature. After she wakes up from poisoning herself, Esther tells Aunt Lydia that Putnam raped her, resulting in a pregnancy. Lydia takes action and requests that Commander Lawrence punish Putnam.
Lawrence initially laughs at her request, citing that Esther was about to be posted at the Putnam’s anyway. However, he clearly changes his mind. Guards force Putnam to kneel in front of Nick and Lawrence. Nick tells him he has been found guilty of “apostasy and sins of the flesh.” He then shoots Putnam in the head.
Putnam’s execution benefited Commander Lawerence in more ways than one
Although Gilead is a horrific society with rape written into its laws, Putnam broke even that twisted country’s laws. In punishing Putnam, Lawrence looks like a pious and upstanding commander in Gilead’s eyes, which could only serve him well.
At the same time, getting rid of Putnam helped further Lawrence’s plans for Gilead. In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, Episode 8, Lawrence admits that he regrets helping to create the Republic. He only did so in the hopes of saving humanity from the falling birth rate.
Now Lawrence hopes to move Gilead away from religious extremism. He plans to create a New Bethlehem settlement, free from handmaids and hangings, where refugees can return. Putnam strongly opposes this idea. Now, he isn’t around to voice his opinions.
Killing Putnam also instilled a bit of fear in the other commanders. While showing several of the men around New Bethlehem, one commander expresses his doubts. However, Nick mentions Putnam, and the doubtful commander quickly asks for forgiveness.
Ann Dowd discusses Aunt Lydia and Commander Lawerence’s relationship
Of course, Aunt Lydia initially set Lawrence’s punishment in motion. Actor Ann Dowd believes her character is aware that Lawrence has more than one motivation for killing Putnam. “Lydia also realized that Lawrence did it for a number of reasons,” she told Collider.
“You look like Mr. Righteous, setting the values back into place, protecting them, and getting rid of the man who was opposed a little bit to what your plans were, who could have been a problem in the future,” she continued.
“Now he’s gone. Wow. I think she sees it all. And she has to work with Lawrence because she’s a woman. She gets it, but they need each other. So it’s a very interesting relationship that way.”
Don’t miss new episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Wednesdays on Hulu.
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