‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Spinning Its Wheels

by Frank Martin

The Handmaid’s Tale continues on the same path that it’s laid out since the beginning of the season. June (Elisabeth Moss) is in Canada trying to figure out a way to fight Gilead from outside the country while Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) still tries to fight for her new place as the pregnant widow of a dead commander. While on the surface, these two premises are not the worst ways to start a new season, the way it’s been executed has been extremely uneventful and bizarre. This episode merely continued that trend on the same path and has left viewers wondering where the suspense from the previous seasons has gone.

There were some mind-boggling character decisions in the previous episodes, but all that has been pushed aside for this week’s episode as the show has roughly moved past the details on how it’s set up its current status quo. Still, there are lingering questions as to why characters are doing certain things. Mainly, it’s curious as to why Serena, after so many failures, is still trying to find a place in Gilead. It’s become obvious that she was a devout woman with plans for the future who was in over her head when America fell and Gilead was established. However, she’s had a second chance to form a new life outside of the country with a following in Canada. Instead of grabbing onto that opportunity, she continues to try to insert herself into Gilead’s future even though she is still a second-class citizen and practically a prisoner.

June’s plot for this episode has been a little better than episodes’ past. After a very strange bonding moment between her and Luke (O-T Fagbenle), together they head into Gilead in order to meet a contact. These scenes added several rather touching character building opportunities. They met a young guardian who was innocent and pure despite Gilead’s indoctrination. Also, she and Luke experienced a moment between them while hiding inside Gilead. It was all very touching and great for characterization, but it is still up in the air as to where all of this is headed. The season doesn’t seem directionless, but it appears like it’s a bike just spinning its wheels to nowhere. As the first half of the season is over and it starts gearing towards a finale, hopefully all of this running in place will lead towards a great climax.

The Handmaid’s Tale airs Wednesdays on Hulu.

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