the handmaid's tale the last ceremony review

(We’re going to kickstart our weekly The Handmaid’s Tale review by answering one simple question: Who suffered the most?)

The screener for this week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale came with a curious bolded warning: “This episode has content that may be extra sensitive for some viewers.” It’s an alarming piece of cautionary text for a show that has regularly trafficked in misery.

This season of The Handmaid’s Tale has upped the suffering to ludicrous levels, so much so that at times the acclaimed show has felt no better than misery porn. At what point does watching The Handmaid’s Tale just become a sadistic chore for us every week? While early episodes showed promise of an expanded world and affecting character arcs outside of June’s POV, The Handmaid’s Tale was all too eager to snap back to the status quo and to the abject misery that it was so known for in the first Emmy-winning season. But I will say that at least “The Last Ceremony” makes an effort to give us an emotional anchor that makes the episode more impactful than earlier episodes’ barrage of bleak imagery. But is it enough to offset one of the show’s most violently distressing scenes?

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Westworld Vanishing Point review

Welcome to our weekly recaps of HBO’s Westworld. This Westworld review takes a look at the ninth episode of season 2, “Vanishing Point”. Be warned: spoilers follow.

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Luke Cage Season 2 review

Marvel and Netflix’s Luke Cage returns for a complex, emotional season that increases the stakes while also suffering the same pacing problems of every other Marvel/Netflix show. 

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the handmaid's tale smart power review

(We’re going to kickstart our weekly The Handmaid’s Tale review by answering one simple question: Who suffered the most?)

A grenade went off in Gilead, and we waited for something to change. And waited. But The Handmaid’s Tale loves the status quo too much, and everything sprung back into place — except in the smaller, quieter moments of rebellion among the women in crisis. But this week in “Smart Power,” a new grenade was launched, in the form of anonymous letters that first appeared all the way back in Season 1. And this time, something may explode.

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Westworld Kiksuya Review

Welcome to our weekly recaps of HBO’s Westworld. This Westworld review takes a look at the eighth episode of season 2, “Kiksuya”. Be warned: spoilers follow.

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cloak and dagger review

The two-hour premiere of Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger on Freeform, directed by Gina Prince-Bythewood, is an extraordinary lesson in how to make a superhero show have substance beyond its source material. Instead of focusing solely on the strange and mysterious powers Tandy Bowen (Olivia Holt) and Tyrone Johnson (Aubrey Joseph) have, there’s more focus put on who they are as people and how those powers are informed by their life experiences.

Even without the powers, Cloak & Dagger’s first episodes, “First Light” and “Suicide Sprints,” present a gripping, engaging young adult drama thanks to these three storytelling decisions.

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the handmaid's tale women's work

(We’re going to kickstart our weekly The Handmaid’s Tale review by answering one simple question: Who suffered the most?)

Remarkably for a show that is so deeply committed to disturbing its audiences, The Handmaid’s Tale continues its upswing from last week in perhaps the first episode that manages to find the delicate balance between unsettling and uplifting.

“Women’s Work” takes that tenuous alliance that was formed at the end of “After” and shows us progressively emboldened June (yay!) and an increasingly sympathetic Serena Joy (hrmph). But “Women’s Work” gives us fascinating insight into an uncertain unity that can be formed between women in the face of a huge crisis.

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the staircase review

Jean-Xavier de Lestrade‘s fascinating 2004 docu-series gets an update for the Netflix age. But The Staircase is not your typical true crime saga, and anyone searching for answers will only be left with more questions. 

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Westworld Les Ecorches review

Welcome to our weekly recaps of HBO’s Westworld. This Westworld review takes a look at the seventh episode of season 2, “Les Ecorches”. Be warned: spoilers follow.

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(We’re going to kickstart our weekly The Handmaid’s Tale review by answering one simple question: Who suffered the most?)

The Handmaid’s Tale is at a turning point. Not just in its dour mood, but also in the actions and agency of all of its characters — from our intrepid hero June (Elisabeth Moss) to her domineering mistress Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski). As glimmers of hope increasingly threaten to crack through the oppressive atmosphere that dominates The Handmaid’s Tale, we see the scales of power begin to tip. Gilead can’t be overturned in one day, but it takes only a few words to start a rebellion.

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