THE HANDMAID’S TALE Season 4 – Review by Susan Granger
With so many new dramatic series, Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 4 somehow got put on a back-burner, begging to be binge-watched.
That’s perhaps understandable since Bruce Miller’s loose cinematic adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 dystopian novel made its debut in April, 2017 – perfect timing as the misogynistic religiosity of (fictional) Gilead matched the authoritarian conservatism of Donald Trump’s all-too-real assumption of the U.S. Presidency.
Unfortunately, lacking its previous topical urgency but retaining its feminist rage, the fourth season begins where the relentless third left off, as heroically tormented June Osbourne (Elisabeth Moss) dispatches a plane filled with 86 children and numerous women fleeing from the tyranny of Gilead into Toronto, Canada.
That’s where June’s best friend Moira (Samira Wiley) is helping to raise Nichole, the baby June gave birth to in Gilead, fathered by Commander Nick Blaine (Max Minghella).
Hiding from the ever-present Eyes in a friendly farmhouse with other renegade handmaidens and child-wife Marthas, June is plotting her next phase of rebellion, perhaps joining an underground resistance movement known as Mayday, but wary of causing any more destruction and death to her followers.
“You’re so bossy and judgmental,” complains Janine (Madeline Brewer). “You need to stop trying to save me to make yourself feel better.”
Then there’s Rita (Amanda Brugel), the escaped Martha who is adjusting to freedom, as June’s captors Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) and Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) await trial in a Canadian court for their crimes against humanity.
All this arouses even more ire in sadistic, tyrannical Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), who has always sided with the brutal Gilead regime, determined to subjugate child-bearing women, finds a new ally in Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford).
“I’m ready for it all to be over,” June sighs at one point – and I find myself agreeing with her.
On the Granger Gauge, The Handmaid’s Tale continues with a precariously steely 6, awaiting Season 5.