The last time we saw Ann Dowd’s Aunt Lydia in the season two finale of The Handmaid’s Tale, she was lying at the bottom of a flight of stairs, literally stabbed in the back, brutally beaten and kicked by Alexis Bledel’s Emily until she can barely move.
“Commander, call an ambulance!” the house’s Martha cries out. Turning to Emily, she adds, “Dear lord, what have you done?”
Aunt Lydia’s fate—along with Dowd’s involvement in season three of the Emmy-winning Hulu series—was left up in the air. But now, during a new interview with The Daily Beast, the actress confirms that she will be back. Asked if Aunt Lydia will survive the attack, Dowd tells me, “I think I’m allowed to say that yes she will. She does survive it.”
“I hope they were telling me the truth,” she adds with a laugh, explaining that showrunner Bruce Miller confirmed as much to her personally. Executive producer Warren Littlefield made a similar admission during a recent interview, explaining that before giving Dowd the finale script, they told her, “You’re not dead, but it’s going to be a pretty brutal scene.”
As for what the future will hold for the character after Emily’s escape from Gilead and the decision by June (Elisabeth Moss) to stay behind to rescue her daughter Hannah, Dowd is just as much in the dark as the rest of us.
“I don’t have any inkling of what will happen,” she says. “If you’re to ask an actor, what would you like to see happen?—you know, we’re full of ideas and thank god it’s not in my hands. Because I’m not qualified. So I don’t know.”
“I love what they’ve done with her, and I trust it. And I look forward to seeing it,” she continues. “As to hopes for her, you always wish she spends more time with different characters and all of that.”
Personally, Dowd, who won the Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Emmy in 2017 and is nominated again this year, thinks that seeing glimpses of Aunt Lydia’s backstory would be “fascinating,” adding, “I’m always interested to find out, how did you come to be the person you are? What contributed to that?”
Stay tuned for our full interview with Dowd coming later this week, including her thoughts on the infamous joke comedian Michelle Wolf made comparing White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders to Aunt Lydia.