When we last reviewed this series, EPISODES 1-6 (read here), I hoped the writers would challenge me to a surprise ending and they did! The last half of this season of THE HANDMAID’S TALE dials down the action to give us answers, closure, and a sense of satisfaction that maybe June and company are going to be okay.
The tables have turned as we glide through these episodes leading into the final season. No longer are Fred and Serena a power-Gilead couple, but June, Moira, and Emily still struggle with what it means to be truly free. One’s body may be free, but how do one’s mind and heart heal from the trauma of these last several years?
SEASONS 1-3 were about survival at the hands of constant trauma, while SEASON 4 deals with trauma in a much more haunting way. Can we let go of our past without closure? Without justice? We see each of Gilead’s current and former residents deal with moving past the suffering in their own way. Moira stays always the activist. Emily and Rita are the caretakers. Serena and Joseph are true negotiators, playing any side they can for their best interests. Nick remains an enigma, but I’m more confident than ever now that his story will come full circle next season. That leaves June and Fred. They may still be opposites in their beliefs, but they’ve become more alike than ever.
Gilead made June not only a survivor but an activist, caretaker, negotiator, and an enigma. She’s a much harder person than when we first met her in SEASON 1. She’s not just strong, she’s vengeful… much like Fred always has been. Surviving isn’t enough anymore, the enemy must be destroyed.
THE HANDMAID’S TALE SEASON 4’s strengths lie not in the action, but the quiet moments between characters. How both separately and together they deal with moving on with their lives, how they each turn to something specific as therapy. My enjoyment of this season increased as we went along because I as a viewer was finally able to move past the torture and injustice of Gilead and think about who I would become. I bet we’d all like to think of ourselves as the caretaker or the activist, but deep down do we know we’d fall into a pit of vengeance?
I don’t know where the finale season will take us. I’m very curious if we’ll get to see the story of Margaret Atwood’s sequel novel THE TESTAMENTS come to life on the screen. But I’m glad we’re finally in a hopeful spot instead of being terrified at every turn.
EPISODE 1 PIGS 🤩
EPISODE 2 NIGHTSHADE 😊
EPISODE 3 THE CROSSING 🤩
EPISODE 4 MILK 😊
EPISODE 5 CHICAGO 😊
EPISODE 6 VOWS 🤩
EPISODE 7 HOME 🤩
EPISODE 8 TESTIMONY 🤩
EPISODE 9 PROGRESS 😊
EPISODE 10 THE WILDERNESS 🤩
THE HANDMAID’S TALE S4 is streaming in its entirety on Hulu.