Handmaid’s Tale Season 3 Rotten

The flavor 2 finale ended with June deciding to stay in Gilead — but in season 3, the testify seems to have run out of new things to say about her life at that place

The 2d flavor of Hulu’south

The Handmaid’due south Tale

ended on a familiar epitome: June’s face, in farthermost closeup, her eyes burning with anger, pain, and trigger-happy determination as they diameter into the photographic camera. Five hours into season 3, another episode echoes that ending. The camera swoops in from above and pulls tight on June (Elisabeth Moss) — still in Gilead, still at war with Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) — as she seethes with rage and vows, one time over again, not to let the bastards grind her down.

If the flavour 2 finale left you screaming at your screen —
For God’s sake, June, why aren’t yous getting on the damn truck outta Gilead with Emily (Alexis Bledel) and baby Nichole?
— season three (premiering June v on Hulu) won’t do much to restore your confidence in that decision. Based on the kickoff vi episodes, June and the show she anchors are stuck in a grim cycle of combative misery, working ever harder for a future that gets further and farther out of reach.

After staying in Gilead — with the goal of somehow reuniting with her daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) — June is installed as a handmaid in the house of the weird and reclusive Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford). Every bit for her wartime lover, Nick (Max Minghella), he’s rising through the ranks and — like some viewers — more than a little frustrated that his baby’south mama is still hanging around. “At that place won’t be another chance, you know that?” he barks. “You’re never getting out — you’re going to f—ing die hither.”

In the wake of Nichole’due south “kidnapping,” meanwhile, things are tense between Commander Waterford and Serena Joy. June sees this as an opportunity: With Serena down ane finger and more than a piffling organized religion in her married man, might she be ripe for recruitment into Gilead’south nascent, female-led resistance? “We tin assistance each other,” whispers June, urgent and persuasive. “Y’all’re scared? Use it.”


Serena Joy, villain or savior? It’s a trip the light fantastic toe that’due south been going on for two full seasons, and by the midpoint of season iii, I was angry with myself for daring to imagine that the writers were any closer to offer us a resolution. I’m starting to get the same wishy-washy vibe from Whitford’s Lawrence, who the prove presents alternately as a sinister genius with benevolent undertones and a sinister genius with even more sinister undertones.

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Having wearied Margaret Atwood’s source material by its 10th episode,
The Handmaid’s Tale
went off book with confidence in season 2, broadening its depiction of Gilead’due south toxic empire and deepening its written report of civic responsibility in the midst of a revolution. If it weren’t for June’s disappointing decision in the finale… well, it’s pointless to indulge in what-ifs. The writers chose to continue June in her prison, and now they seem to have run out of new things to say nearly her life at that place. Flavor 3 hits a series of familiar notes: In add-on to the Serena Question, we’re treated to variations on the deplorable saga of Janine the unstable handmaid (poignantly played by Madeline Brewer); the duality of Aunt Lydia, mother figure and truncheon-wielding monster (what will information technology take for the writers to give the vivid Ann Dowd a backstory episode already?); and the near-fetishization of Gilead’s barbarous efforts to silence women, literally and figuratively.

When season 3 does venture into unfamiliar areas, it retreats quickly. Without spoiling what happens to Emily (Alexis Bledel) after she and Nichole lath the escape van, I’ll say her struggle opens upwardly some fascinating new story line possibilities — but our time with her is discouragingly brief. In episode ii, June gains the trust of a group of Marthas who bring her deeper into the resistance’due south secret network, a plot that soon gets back-burnered for more Waterford-related drama. Even the show’southward visual and narrative flourishes are starting to feel like stylistic tics: The extreme close-ups, June’south profane voice-over prayers (“This is the valley of death, and at that place’s a f—ton of evil to fear”), the employ of slow-movement to indicate that what nosotros’re seeing is an Important Moment.

“If I’m going to survive this, I’ll need allies,” June informs us. “Allies with power.” Oh girl, are you just realizing this
now? In 1 of the season’south many incongruous music cues (another
special), U2’s “Sunday Bloody Sun” thunders in the background as the frame fills with June’s confront, ferocious and fraught.
How long, how long must nosotros sing this song? How long? How loooooong?
At this point, Bono, I’m afraid to ask.

The Handmaid’southward Tale flavor iii premieres Wednesday, June five on Hulu.

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