Why dystopian ‘Handmaid’s Story’ nonetheless issues in Season 4

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Season 4 of “The Handmaid’s Story,” the primary three episodes of which at the moment are streaming, is replete with extra ache and distress than anyone girl ought to ever need to endure. The bruised and battered June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss), a.ok.a. Ofjoseph, previously Offred, survives to struggle the patriarchy one other season and this time, the feminist superhero in crimson is taking the battle to an entire new entrance.

However are viewers nonetheless invested within the battle?

Hulu’s hour-long drama, created by Bruce Miller and primarily based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the identical identify, as soon as painted a frighteningly believable image of America after a second civil struggle, when the spiritual proper’s militarized theocracy of Gilead responds to the planet’s plummeting fertility charges by enslaving all fertile girls as breeders and coercing or severely limiting others — intercourse employees often known as Jezebels, domestics often known as Marthas, even elite, educated Wives. Spiritual persecution, a ban on all media and 24-7 surveillance are simply a few of Gilead’s different delights.

The sequence, which deviated from Atwood’s e book after its first season, was all the time only a step forward of at the moment’s headlines: The state’s focusing on of journalists. Youngsters separated from their mother and father by navy forces. A rustic divided by politicians who weaponized faith. It was too grim for some audiences however for the remainder of us, this fantastically shot, written, carried out and directed drama was cathartic.

“The Handmaid’s Story” has constantly projected our worst fears, that are a lot simpler to observe when carried out by Ann Dowd (the terrifying Aunt Lydia) or Bradley Whitford (the enigmatic Commander Lawrence), and when there’s an escape hatch (Canada on the display screen, the pause button on our remotes). It has additionally lengthy promised a grand comeuppance led by Gilead’s enslaved girls, which it delivers in suits and begins. However the requirements of serial TV storytelling imply the yoke is all the time again earlier than too lengthy.

Season 4 begins off as seasons Two and Three did with June in captivity, this time going through hanging at The Wall after narrowly lacking one other probability to flee. She helped practically 100 folks flee Gilead final season, largely youngsters, and was shot within the course of. Now she’s on the run with the opposite girls who joined the resistance. The sequence positions her as a Harriet Tubman determine, serving to others depart by an Underground Railroad manned by Handmaids and Marthas.

A woman prisoner being led by two masked, hooded figures in black.

Elisabeth Moss as June in “The Handmaid’s Story.”


The saga drives the story out of the stifling mansions and cellars of the city and into the countryside. New topical themes embody violent rebellion, felony prosecution of former heads of state and the miserable actuality that even the perceived good guys are keen to promote girls out — or monetize their sexuality — to satisfy their objectives.

Torture, payback, imprisonment, freedom, love and redemption are all right here — and watching June’s former grasp Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and his spouse Serena Pleasure (Yvonne Strahovski) eat one another alive whereas going through expenses for struggle crimes is well worth the worth of admission.

I’ve caught with the present this lengthy as a result of it captures the trauma of a rustic at struggle from the perspective of these we hardly ever see on the information in real-life fight zones: girls. They undergo the worst indignities, typically behind closed doorways, which I do know from my family members who went by a number of international invasions, a brutal dictatorship, spiritual persecution and destabilization in Baghdad, Iraq.

“The Handmaid’s Story” attracts inspiration from heartbreakingly true tales of battle everywhere in the globe , and the unhappy reality is that justice and peace take ages in the event that they arrive in any respect. Males’s wars trigger distress on a loop, from which generations undergo and rebellions spring. Some revolts succeed. Many fail. “The Handmaid’s Story” displays that hard-to-digest actuality. The hangings on Gilead’s notorious Wall seem like the Shah’s Iran. The torture, like Saddam Hussein’s Iraq and the U.S. navy’s Abu Ghraib.

It’s comprehensible why former followers of “The Handmaid’s Story” checked out of the sequence by the tip of Season Three. Our nation was a large number, so why watch it crumble on TV? They might not cease June from heading again into the fray yet another time. In some respects, I share their frustration together with her and with the sequence’ brutality. However as a lot as I needed June to depart Gilead, I additionally am glad she stayed to struggle one other day.

‘The Handmaid’s Story’

The place: Hulu

When: Any time

Ranking: TV-MA (could also be unsuitable for youngsters below the age of 17)

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