‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4 Review: A Long Wait Rewarded


Plot holes and redundancies abound, however Bruce Miller’s dystopian drama slowly reveals its footing round midseason.

Via 2021, it feels cliché at the verge of parody to let you know, expensive readers, {that a} status drama ultimately will get excellent round Episode 6. Such a lot of displays, whether or not of their first or fourth season, want a little bit of time to determine their tone (a herbal and appropriate building in tv) or they purposefully prolong arcs with a purpose to stretch luck into as a lot content material as conceivable (a sin that may be unforgivable if the most efficient of those displays stopped appearing flashes of greatness). “The Handmaid’s Story” falls into the latter workforce, having taken the TV international through hurricane in a prescient and paramount first season ahead of lurching, dragging, and sporadically wowing via consecutive follow-u.s.that couldn’t fit the efficiency of its preliminary run.

Some storytelling blunders are the results of adapting an acclaimed novel past its pages. Others really feel guided through forces past ingenious intentions, like, say, a streaming provider with an originals logo without end tied to at least one landmark collection. Both manner, viewing fatigue is actual, and bloat shouldn’t be tolerated, particularly for critical, saddening fare like “The Handmaid’s Story” that’s already stretched itself quite skinny.

And but right here I’m, telling you to be affected person, wade through the primary 5 episodes, and revel within the bounty ready at the different facet. Whilst Season Four doesn’t turn out to be the Hulu drama into very important TV once more, for individuals who’ve caught through it this lengthy, you owe it to your self to savor the payoffs ready across the halfway mark — in addition to a handful of gratifying surprises.

That implies persevering previous the premiere’s preliminary trio of episodes. June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) is knocking on loss of life’s door, having effectively smuggled 80-odd kids of Gilead to the secure harbor of Canada. With a wounds wanting the Rambo treatment, she and her fellow handmaids-in-flight search shelter at a pleasant farmhouse. Owned through an aged puzzled Commander and run through his disturbingly younger spouse, June heals as briefly as she will (and with the naked minimal provides) whilst her pals revel of their restricted new freedom.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Hulu

“The Handmaid’s Story”

Courtesy of Hulu

When June chides one in every of them for taking it simple, the satisfied handmaid says, “Possibly that is as loose as we’re going to get. Possibly we will have to make the most efficient of it.” June, by no means one to settle, doesn’t precisely abide, however the thought nonetheless sparks a newly related theme for Season 4: What do you do when the worst is at the back of you? When do you give your self a damage, if the paintings left to be finished is neverending? And in what model, ferocious or forgiving, do you get again to the duty handy? The post-Trump allegory is sort of too becoming for a display that by chance addressed its onset. Gilead nonetheless exists. June will have escaped its ever-looming partitions, however while you’ve noticed the worst facet of humanity, trusting that the most efficient stands a combating probability is a tall order.

And for June, there’s no going again. No longer truly. Season Three established her id as a fighter, a revolt, an lively change-maker. Merely getting out isn’t excellent sufficient, and Season Four sees her suffering to search out one of the simplest ways to stay combating, with out getting herself (or any person else) killed. In a similar fashion, looking to untangle the mess Trump made — of our judicial device, of our political device, of our fundamental religion in our fellow guy — is a role no longer for one individual, however for generations. It’s tough to easily return to commonplace in the end that, simply because it feels unhealthy to feign normalcy as we close to the top of a brutal, eye-opening pandemic.

Relevancy hasn’t ever been an issue for “The Handmaid’s Story.” Discovering recent perception into stated relevancy, smartly, that’s every other topic. In spite of its glaring broad-stroke thematic ties to present occasions, Season Four feels extra plot-driven than ever. And that may be nice, if most effective Miller was once prepared to surrender the collection’ glacial position so it would change into the tight, demanding mystery buried beneath an avalanche of vanity. The occasions of this season will also be gripping. Extra incessantly they’re repetitive or illogical. Episode 3, directed through Elisabeth Moss, is a vintage “Handmaid’s” horror display constructed on regularly escalating distress, capped off with an finishing that throws all not unusual sense out the window to squeeze in yet one more huge bummer.

Moss’ eye isn’t the issue. The “Invisible Guy” superstar creates haunting pictures that can keep on with audience and contorts confined areas into distinct torture chambers. (How her directorial possible choices intensify her efficiency, giving Moss and June a near-unilateral grip at the episodes, is surprising.) From the cinematography to the set design, “The Handmaid’s Story” stays an completely transportive TV display, the place even though its unrelenting darkness stretches the bounds of explanation why, the care and purpose transparent in each and every scene assists in keeping you hooked into June’s truth.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 4 Hulu

“The Handmaid’s Story”

Courtesy of Hulu

Via the season’s halfway mark, virtually all hope turns out misplaced. Too many arcs are overextended, too many baffling personality possible choices should be lost sight of. After which, Episode 6. I don’t imply to construct it up such as you’re going to look the following “International Assassin” or “Part 8.” The primary 3 episodes of Season 4’s again part aren’t remarkable, although No. eight is beautiful rattling shut. They’re simply excellent — they do what must be finished, they do it smartly, they usually don’t waste any time (smartly, they don’t waste as a lot time). June’s evolution pushes the collection past the annoying horrors of previous seasons and into unsettling antihero territory. In the end, Season Four delivers on behind schedule payoffs and does so with as a lot urgency and, dare I say, joyous gratification as one can be expecting from this display.

May they have got finished it faster? Completely. Will have to they have got finished it faster? Sure! Nevertheless it’s right here now, and you understand whether or not or no longer you want to look it. “The Handmaid’s Story” would possibly by no means be as vital because it as soon as was once, however that doesn’t imply it’s doomed to irrelevance. Season Four feels find it irresistible’s both putting in an endgame or getting ready for 4 extra years. Both may paintings, however what comes subsequent… smartly, Season five is already ordered. Test again after the finale.

Grade: B

“The Handmaid’s Story” Season Four premieres its first 3 episodes on Wednesday, April 28. New episodes can be launched weekly right through the 10-episode season, with the finale scheduled for June 16.

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