By Ryann Thomson
The third season of the Hulu original show The Handmaid’s Tale has ended leaving Emily and Nichole free, while June continues her struggle in Gilead. The season began right where season 2 left off, on the night when June gave up her daughter, Nichole, and the chance to be free.
Although, I thought the season 2 finally was unbelievably predictable, it was necessary in order to continue June’s series-long mission of saving her daughter from Gilead.
I was happy to see June placed in the house of Commander Lawrence, who, although created all that is bad in Gilead, became one of my favorite characters in the beginning. These two characters worked quite well together through the entire show, which lead to their characters developing in the best way possible. Lawrence was a hard character to understand. He created the Colonies and aided the men in creating this horrible reality, but he also set Emily and June’s baby, Nichole, free. However, his complex character added to the fact that Gilead changes people.
The beginning of the season, however, was a bit slow. I felt they dragged on June’s time in the Lawrence household in order to drag out the season. Even so, I enjoyed seeing what became of Nichole and Emily in Canada. Emily’s story is one of the most horrific in the entire show, from being genitally mutilated, to being sent to the Colonies. Her reunion with her wife and son, Oliver, was on of the most touching moments in the seasons. It encapsulated the difficulties of reintegrating into a normal society, a story I do not think we did not get from Moira. She reintegrated into society fairly easily when compared to Emily’s challenges.
On the other side of Gilead, we see Serena’s sanity unravel as she tried to coup with the fact she willingly let Nichole go. I have a love-hate relationship with this character, and from the trailer of the season I expected her to help June, not make her situation even worse. Her fight for her daughter, in my opinion, was written beautifully, and er and Luke’s interaction shows just how hard the reality for the Commander’s Wives of Gilead. They know their children will never be truly theirs.
The season shifted during episode 6, when the Waterford family, Rita, and June are reunited to start making propaganda videos in hopes of returning Nichole to Gilead. The future we see for the handmaids was terrifying and horrific. Even the ruthless Aunt Lydia was brought to tears when she sees the rings dug into the mouths of the handmaids in Washington D.C.. We also see a Christian capital and corruption at the core of Gilead; here is where the season took a turn.
After June tries to visit Hannah at her school she is of course relocated. However, even though the plot point was obvious, the effects it had on June were not. She becomes numb to her actions, and attacks her walking partner, which was extremely satisfying due to past conflicts. Ofmatthew is then casted out and later held a grocery store hostage. I expected this to be just another attempt to show how harmful Gilead is on women, but the episode that followed, “Heroic”, was completely unexpected. It was stunning in its efforts to show how June’s psyche is deteriorating. Once this happens the set up for June’s plan that creates the season finally.
I once again underestimated the show and thought they would subvert expectations by giving June another chance to escape. However, the season finale was, in my opinion, the best episode in the entire show. June’s determination for this mission was built up since the beginning of the season and seeing her goal play out was spectacular. The final scenes where we see Luke’s hope slowly fades to disappointment from not seeing June nor Nichole get off the plane brought tears to my eyes. So, I give this season on Handmaid’s Tale four out of five stars.