TV Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Defies All Logic

by Frank Martin

Often times, the writing process will work backwards. Writers know certain things they want to have happen in a particular story, but they may not know how to get to that point. In which case, they will have to work backwards in order to deconstruct the plot and get to the sequence of events and outcomes they are striving for. That seems to be the case with this season’s second episode of The Handmaid’s Tale. There needs to be a way to lure June (Elisabeth Moss) back to Gilead. But it can’t happen on its own or easily. There needs to be motivation for her return. And creating that motivation seems to be the main purpose of the episode — however, what transpired did not feel logical or natural for the story.

The themes introduced in last episode continued into this one as June tries to reconcile with her new life in Canada. However, her recovery is thrown for a loop as Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) played politics by bringing her husband back to Gilead and orchestrating a televised state funeral. In the world of The Handmaid’s Tale, this is actually a pretty big deal. In the episode’s closing moments, as the funeral was broadcasted for all to see, it gave off vibes of peering behind a veil of tyrannical fascism similar to something in North Korea. It was made even worse as June’s daughter made an appearance as well.

But this monumental scene was undermined because of its logic gaps. There appeared to be no reason for Canada and the US to allow the body to be returned to Gilead for a funeral; it seems the Canadians got nothing in return for this political deal. It also made no sense for June’s daughter to appear at the funeral. Serena struggled to get Gilead to agree to the funeral in the first place. How this random girl could appear to take a pivotal place in the ceremony defied all reason. The episode wasn’t without its highlights, though, as Esther (Mckenna Grace) made a dramatic suicide attempt to avoid life as a handmaid. But so far, the first two episodes have given little indication that this season will be as engaging or entertaining as seasons past.

The Handmaid’s Tale streams Wednesdays on Hulu.

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