Handmaid's Tale Under His Eye Review

On Friday, Hulu announced it had renewed The Handmaid’s Tale for a fourth season during their Television Critics Association session. Later, Handmaid’s Tale producer Warren Littlefield happened to be on a panel for his new Hulu show Reprisal. After the Reprisal panel, Littlefield spoke with reporters further about Fargo and The Handmaid’s Tale.

Now that The Handmaid’s Tale is definitely coming back, Littlefield could speak about where this season would leave characters and what to expect from the now-confirmed fourth season. 

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The Handmaid's Tale season 4

At the Television Critics Association summer press tour, Hulu announced that the streaming service has officially renewed its Emmy-winning drama The Handmaid’s Tale for a fourth season. Read More »

The Handmaid's Tale Witness Review

The Handmaid’s Tale has been teasing revolution. Ever since June had her epiphany that she can save other Gilead children even if she can’t save her own daughters, the narrative has been injected with a dose of intrigue, though not much else happens in “Witness” other than one disconcerting scene of sexual violation (we’ll get to that). 

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The Handmaid's Tale Heroic review

After The Handmaid’s Tale‘s arguably most scattered and exasperating episode in last week’s “Unfit,” “Heroic” is straightforward with tracing its narrative goals while also testing its audience’s patience. “Heroic” opens on boredom and the tune of “Heaven is a Place on Earth.” After the shopping incident, June (Elisabeth Moss) is forced to keep vigil for a comatose Ofmatthew/Natalie (Ashleigh LaThrop) for weeks, maybe a few months on end – “until there’s a baby,” according to Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd).

Lydia has essentially condemned June to a dull clinical whitescaped purgatory to cleanse June of her sin. Time lapses reveal more bodies coming and going to occupy the white space around the stiffly poised June and Natalie’s body, whether it’s the Wives praying over Natalie’s womb or the Handmaids forced to pray for the baby inside it. As Gilead souls pass in or out of the hospital room, June’s mental state deteriorates under the stagnancy of events and the coma patient’s repetitious heart monitor. Read More »

The Handmaid's Tale Unfit Review

June’s (Elisabeth Moss) quote, “It’s an acquired taste seeing others in pain,” sums up frequent reservations about the increasingly tortuous content of The Handmaid’s Tale, particularly in an age where bodily autonomy in the USA is more fraught. “Unfit” examines how pain can drive the heart to commit callousness. However, the episode is marred by the show’s white woman-centricity, with June (and her fellow white-dominated Handmaid sisters aside from Janine) tormenting a black female character of prominence, Ofmatthew/Natalie (Ashleigh LaThrop) in this case. 

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The Handmaid's Tale Under His Eye Review

Little is getting better in Gilead, which is pretty much the norm for The Handmaid’s Tale. But things are getting better for the selected few. Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) is touring a potential new house in D.C. It’s an unrestored house littered with the remnants –smiling photos of a nuclear family, a crib, broken glass – of another family life, evidence of seizures. Despite her discomfort, the debris is only incidental to Serena, who will claim a space of those who were terrorized by Gilead theocracy.

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The Handmaid's Tale Household Review

June (Elisabeth Moss) betrays a smile when she witnesses children dashing into the arms of a doting Commander. But her elation evaporates. Children in a low-birth rate era are sacred to Gilead, and even to Handmaids enslaved by Gilead, but June can also imagine the untold circumstances that brought the children into the arms of an official, one of the many rapists who runs the theocratic Gilead. “Household” offers the first glimpse of a blended Gilead household, with adopted children (stolen from parents deemed sinners) and a birth child (born from the Handmaid the Commander raped).

With a pleasing guest appearance by Christopher Meloni, the high-ranking Commander Winslow seems like a swell father and husband with a fruitful family life revered by Gileadians. Even for a second, the Handmaid June was fooled into believing in this loving familial image. Wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) is relishing the sight of this familial stability. June comprehends the dystopia, but for Serena Joy, Gilead is looking more utopian than before. “Have you seen their Handmaid?” June tells Serena, referring to the Winslow’s Handmaid with her mouth sewed shut.

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The Handmaid's Tale Unknown Caller Review

With pouts flickering behind her self-assured facade, The Handmaid’s Tale‘s Yvonne Strahovski is good at raking pity for an egotistical privileged power-starved Serena Joy. For all her monstrous deeds to her Handmaid June, Serena Joy’s point of sympathy is her maternal love for baby Nichole because it plays to a universal understanding that maternal bonds are sacred and allows her to care for someone outside of her ego.

However, maternal attachment does not exempt Serena Joy from being an architect of the totalitarian Gilead. There are moments the series borders on over-sympathizing with Serena Joy, investing in her emotional turmoil, while not condoning how myopic her maternal reach is. While June (Elisabeth Moss) anticipated that coaxing Serena Joy back into power might help matters, perhaps re-stationing her in rule only made the Wife comfortable once again in Gilead.

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The Handmaid's Tale God Bless the Child Review

After the triple-episode season premiere, The Handmaid’s Tale is marching forward. While lagging, the seasonal start so far feels fresher than it did with season two now that June is situated in a new insular world of Commander Lawrence’s household while still tangled in the Waterfords’ affairs. Nothing feels too new in “God Bless the Child”, as it seems there to occupy time in Gilead proceedings while inching bitty developments.

Last we left off in the triple-episode season starters, Serena and Fred Waterford have split up, June’s baby Nicole/Holly is now safely in Luke’s arms in Canada, and Emily has contacted her long-lost wife for a reunion.

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the handmaid's tale season 3 review

Every revolution begins with a single act of defiance, but in the case of The Handmaid’s Tale season 3, it begins with several small acts of defiance that carry little narrative weight before events finally kick into gear several episodes in. But despite a slow start, The Handmaid’s Tale shows sparks of promise that could light the kindling behind a show that was starting to flame out.

The Handmaid’s Tale is a series that revels in denying its audience catharsis. Through its stunning and suspenseful first season, the Emmy-winning show made a powerful cultural impact with its unflinching depiction of a dystopic future so similar to our own present. But the divisive second season proved that this wasn’t a formula that could be maintained for long stretches of time without wearing away at its devout audience. Relentlessly soul-crushing, The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 was an exercise in wheel-spinning and frustrating half measures. While the third season doesn’t fix all the issues that the sophomore season had, its shift from bleak emotional torture to a brisk political thriller is promising.

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