The Handmaid’s Story Season four Premiere Evaluation: Unhealthy Day, Unhealthy Week, Unhealthy Yr


Blessed be, or it might have been if the primary three episodes hadn’t been such a letdown.

It has been over a 12 months and a half since new episodes of The Handmaid’s Story aired, and also you’d suppose — or reasonably hope on this occasion — The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 would have been price that wait. Sadly, it wasn’t.

From the repetitive and roundabout storytelling to the unnecessary brutality and the present’s refusal to have June go away Gilead for good, there are barely any praises left to sing.

June and the other handmaids - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 1

One of many present’s weakest plot factors is that it simply would not appear to know what to do with June.

She’s caught in an limitless cycle, oscillating from imprisoned handmaid to a fugitive on the run, by no means fairly incomes her freedom, regardless that she’s had a minimum of two possibilities to flee Gilead.

Esther: I’m not frightened in any respect. You’re right here. June is right here. I need to harm them so badly, Gilead, the lads. What can we do?
June: It’s not secure proper now. They’re searching for us, and we are able to’t be shifting round outdoors the farm.
Esther: Yeah, however you’re Mayday. We do issues.
June: We’ll.
Esther: You’re not in mattress anymore, so…
June: Mrs. Keyes… God, it’s not honest. Somebody your age ought to by no means must be this courageous.
Esther: I’m the mistress of this home.
June: Sure, you’re, ma’am.
Esther: If you happen to weren’t gonna battle, then why did you come right here? You must have simply allow them to catch you.

As a substitute, she chooses to stay on this backwoods patriarchal shit present of society for causes past me.

So June simply aimlessly continues on this path, by no means actually dealing with any actual penalties for her actions.

Injured June - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 1

Whether or not it is serving to her daughter escape or “kidnapping” 86 kids, June at all times manages to get off scot-free, by no means enduring any lasting repercussions for her actions.

And at this level, it is onerous to miss the plain: Primarily based on all of the “crimes” June has dedicated towards Gilead, she needs to be hanging on the wall.

The lives of these in Gilead can be lots less complicated if June have been lifeless, and it is simply getting more durable and more durable for the writers to justify her continued survival.

Her fertility is supposedly her saving grace, however killing one troublesome handmaid now would forestall many complications sooner or later.

June and a handmaid on the farm - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 1

That is not saying I would like June lifeless, but it surely’s simply perplexing that these in energy in Gilead have not accomplished it but.

Had June been killed earlier than The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 1, she would not have been in a position to, from Gilead’s viewpoint, kidnap all these kids and lead different handmaids astray.

Commander Lawrence: June, you need to inform me the place the handmaids are. June, you need to inform me the place they’re. Or they are going to harm Hannah. They may harm her.
June: No, no, Gilead… they’d by no means harm a baby. It’s all they care about.
Commander Lawrence: Gilead doesn’t care about kids. Gilead cares about energy. Faithfulness, old-time values, do-it-yourself bread, that’s the simply means to the tip. It’s a distraction. I believed you’ll have figured that out by now.
June: I believed you have been gonna clear up your mess.
Commander Lawrence: I can’t do it from the tip of the rope. That is the place we’re.
June: Nicely, go fuck your self.
Commander Lawrence: Motherhood’s at all times been an evolutionary puzzle to me.

Then, the nation would not be on this mess, the place they apparently cannot spare even one handmaid, which is why June remains to be alive.

It simply would not make any sense, as does her refusal to go away Gilead.

Mrs. Keyes and Janine - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 1

June may very well be a free lady in Canada proper now, however each time she has the chance to go away, she would not go.

Her reasoning for eager to rescue Hannah has turn into more and more much less convincing, particularly as increasingly more of her family members discover their approach throughout the border.

Luke, Nicole, Moira, Emily, and even Rita are in Canada; solely Hannah and Nick are left in Gilead.

And as for Nick, if June all of the sudden requested him to run away together with her and go away the whole lot behind, one thing tells me Nick would do it in a heartbeat.

Nick and June - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 2

He is head over heels in love with June, and the pull of them being along with their daughter can be too nice.

They may very well be an precise household, not stealing kisses each few months. 

Nick: Hannah’s again residence. She’s secure. I’m sorry. I needed to what I needed to do…
June: Cease. She was afraid of me. She wasn’t afraid of them. She was afraid of me. She was scared. My child was afraid of me. She wasn’t afraid of them.
Nick: Take heed to me.
June: She didn’t know… she didn’t know me.
Nick: She loves you. She loves you. I really like you.

In fact, Luke would possibly complicate the equation, but when that dream have been inside attain, Nick would take it.

Due to this fact, June’s claims about staying Gilead for her eldest daughter do not maintain a lot weight anymore.

A captured June - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 3

She’s both deluding herself into believing she will be able to rescue Hannah, or one thing else is holding her right here, one thing just like the style for blood.

Over the previous season, June has turn into extra bloodthirsty, going from killing solely when essential to get some kind of sick pleasure out of it.

She relishes within the kill, coming alive when she’s plotting somebody’s homicide.

Killing appears to be the one approach June believes she will be able to harm Gilead, to trigger its residents to really feel a sliver of the agony they put her by way of.

Luke struggles - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 3

And if June leaves Gilead, she offers that up. She loses her potential to harm the monsters that made her this fashion.

It is a twisted mind-set, but it surely’s one of many solely explanations that make sense for why June refuses to go away Gilead.

Luke: June’s in jail, and we’re lighting candles.
Moira: We’re doing the whole lot we are able to for her.
Luke: Don’t rub it in. Did she select this?
Moira: Who, June? No, she didn’t select this.
Luke: As a result of she selected to remain in Gilead, and she or he knew she’d in all probability get caught.
Moira: Perhaps. Die attempting to do one thing good.
Luke: It’s simply… it’s simply she knew she’d in all probability by no means see me once more, proper? She knew she’d in all probability by no means see both of us once more. And, um, that’s the selection that she made, and I received to respect it. I received to respect her. I can’t ask God for one thing she didn’t need.
Moira: God’s been searching for her up to now.

As Luke informed Moira on The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 3, June needed to know what would occur to her if she stayed, and but she nonetheless selected to take action, regardless that her husband, daughter, and greatest good friend are in Canada.

It is heartbreaking for Luke that June retains prioritizing others over himself and Nicole, however what else is new?

Moira's WTF Look - Tall - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 1

June does no matter she needs; penalties be damned.

That grew to become alarmingly clear in these first three episodes, as June continued to behave brash and impulsively whereas others paid the value.

Two of Commander Lawrence’s Marthas are lifeless, together with the remainder of the handmaid fugitives sans her and Janine, who have been both shot or brutally run over by an oncoming prepare.

That does not even embody the Jezebels who died after June homicide Commander Winslow or the motive force who was shot when June was captured or the 86 kids who have been ripped from the one properties they may keep in mind. 

Emily appears - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 2

Heck, even Moira and Emily have suffered due to June’s misconstrued selflessness.

June makes these massive strikes in doing what she thinks is true, however she forgets that her actions have penalties more often than not.

Moira: The child’s fucked up. He missed Gilead.
Emily: Such as you mentioned, “Higher right here than there.”
Moira: Ultimately. I imply proper now it sucks for lots of them, those that received ripped from the one households they keep in mind.
Emily: I assume June didn’t suppose that half by way of.
Moira: ‘Trigger that’s what she does. Takes the large swing and fuck the implications. God is aware of I generally is a messy bitch, however that one… I really like her, and I miss her, and I’m frightened about her. And I really like Nicole, however I by no means needed to be a mother.
Emily: Why do you are feeling you need to clear up June’s messes?
Moira: Fuck if I do know. Making up for once I received out, and she or he didn’t, I assume. I’m uninterested in feeling responsible.
Emily: I get it. She gave me her child and stayed behind. Who does that?
Moira: Ugh, are we horrible individuals?
Emily: Perhaps, however I don’t suppose so.

It is considerably comprehensible, as none of what June does negatively impacts her; as a substitute, it impacts these closest to her and ripples out.

Anybody who helps June or is near her finally ends up paying a steep worth, and Janine needs to be cautious because the pair embark on their subsequent nice journey, which, let’s face it, will not quantity to a lot past ending up again within the clutches of Aunt Lydia.

Serena is bound to Fred - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 2

Elsewhere, the Waterfords discovered themselves coping with their felony proceedings and a few stunning and sudden information.

First off, Serena’s being pregnant, whereas presumably offering a bunch of fascinating storylines, feels contrived.

The entire level of the Waterfords having a handmaid is that they have been unable to conceive, and but, now by some means, Serena is magically pregnant.

It is a deus ex machina to save lots of a failing marriage and makes the Waterfords’ therapy of June all of the extra horrific.

Interrogation Time  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 13

That is to not say the best way Fred and Serena handled June was ever OK, as a result of it wasn’t, however figuring out that the marrieds might have a organic youngster of their very own with out the help of a handmaid makes the whole lot they did to June and put her by way of even worse.

There was no want for June to be raped month after month, no want for the abuse on the Waterfords’ palms, no want for the fixed humiliation and brutalization.

Fred: My legal professional informed me what to anticipate on the movement to dismiss listening to.
Serena: It’s only a authorized technique.
Fred: You’re keen to show each element of our lives, our religion to finish strangers.
Serena: No, I don’t need to. It doesn’t must be like this.
Fred: You’ve gotten rusty. You was so good at getting me to do what you need, however my eyes are open now.
Serena: Fred, please, I simply need my daughter again.
Fred: Nicole just isn’t your daughter any greater than she is mine, and when you suppose I’m coming to let you have got her, stroll free, go begin some new life, you’re delusional.
Serena: You realize I believed when you have been out of Gilead, when you have been out of that uniform, you’ll come again to your self.
Fred: I’m as you made me, as you have got made us.
Serena: As I’ve made us? Fred, you by no means as soon as stood up for me, by no means as soon as. Not as soon as you bought a style of energy. I believed it was my fault. I believed I deserved the whole lot you probably did to me.
Fred: I believe I gave you an excessive amount of freedom. So that you’re proper, it doesn’t must be like this.

There was no want for any of it.

Nevertheless, had the Waterfords recognized in hindsight there was an opportunity they may conceive naturally, they would not have accomplished something in a different way as a result of that is the heinous and monstrous kind of individuals they’re.

Time's Up  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 13

Serena’s being pregnant additionally most certainly brings a screeching halt to her character growth.

She was so near accepting that what Fred put her by way of was emotional, verbal, and bodily abuse, going as far as eager to sever their pursuits on the finish of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 Episode 2.

Nevertheless, the information of her being pregnant will undo all of that development and trigger Serena to revert to her worst self.

In any case, Fred’s atrocities would possibly look totally different within the mild of day now that her estranged husband has given her what she’s needed most: the prospect to be a mom.

Fred Waterford  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 10

Serena now has that chance together with her unborn youngster, and any motivation for testifying towards Fred goes out the window.

She solely agreed to show Fred in so she might get Nicole again.

Serena: I have to separate my pursuits from Fred. I’m accomplished with him.
Mark: We will speak about that later.
Serena: No, we are able to speak about that proper now.
Mark: You’re pregnant, Serena. The outcomes out of your blood take a look at got here again. Congratulations.

Now, with the prospect of getting a baby to name hers and the belief that being Nicole’s mom once more is a protracted shot, her motivations have modified.

Sure, this being pregnant will shake issues up for the Waterfords, and I am not wanting ahead to it. Not within the slightest.

Serena Is Not Happy  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 10

Some stray ideas:

  • Can somebody clarify why the sequence feels the fixed have to up the violence and brutality? It is not edgy or daring storytelling. The present now borders on torture porn and people scenes, like June being waterboarded, are terrible to observe. There isn’t any thematic level to their inclusion; they’re simply added in for shock worth.

  • Did anybody else suppose Mark is likely to be mendacity about Serena’s being pregnant? Had it not been for the promos and affirmation from actress Yvonne Strahovski, I might have thought Mark was mendacity in an try to govern Serena into convincing Fred to recant his accusation. 

A Job To Do  - The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 Episode 8

  • Many of the storylines set in Gilead that did not contain June felt pointless. June has been the focus round which a lot of the drama has revolved, so together with her AWOL, it is onerous to care about Commander Lawrence clawing his approach again to energy or Aunt Lydia’s reprimanding.

  • It was unnerving to observe Mckenna Grace painting a raped and sexually abused 14-year-old spouse. Although she really is 14, I nonetheless see her as a little bit lady, what together with her taking part in youthful variations of characters on The Vampire Diaries and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina. That mentioned, she did an distinctive job in her position.

Rita speech - The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Episode 2

  • Did anybody else catch that June’s speech to Esther, proper earlier than she instructed the younger spouse to intestine her abuser, was eerily much like what Aunt Lydia mentioned to the handmaids on The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1 earlier than they stoned a commander to loss of life? June might battle it, however she’s turn into like Aunt Lydia in lots of methods.

  • Now that June and Janine are on the run, how lengthy do you suppose it’s going to be earlier than they find yourself again in Gilead’s clutches? Two episodes, three? I am betting that by the tip of the season, June and Janine will likely be on that breeding colony the place they have been poised to go. Ideas?

So what did you suppose, Handmaid’s Story Fanatics?

Why is not June in Canada?

Has June acquired the style of blood?

What do you make of Serena’s being pregnant?

Do not forget to hit the feedback beneath to let me know your ideas. If you happen to missed the newest episode, keep in mind you possibly can watch The Handmaid’s Tale online at TV Fanatic.

Jessica Lerner is a workers author for TV Fanatic. Observe her on Twitter.

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