The Handmaid's Tale: Season (open spoilers)

Hulu dropped the first 3 episodes of season 4 last Wednesday. It’s been a long wait (20 months since season 3). A lot went down in those 3 episodes. We’re seeing some unexpected, but pretty realistic side effects of the June smuggling a cargo plane full of children out of Gilead. The Waterfords’ reactions were underwhelming, but wait until Serena Joy finds out Rita escaped.

Anyone else like to imagine at Aunt Lydia’s “interrogation” took place at the same black site as June’s? :wink: She still pulled a karma Houdini given Gilead’s predilection for collective punishment, albeit not as egregious as Cmdr. Lawrence. I was kinda expecting the High Commanders in DC to liquidate the enter District Council after this fiasco. Still I’m looking forward to seeing new aspects of Gilead being explored. If the June & Janine on the run plot plays out like I think it will we’ll see even more of life for the Econopeople.

I am pleased the Handmaids are getting out more, if only because I have had enough of [authetically?] dim-lit interiors and, while a lot of effort went into universe building in previous seasons, we didn’t actually see all that much of it.

And without spoilering I’ll just note that all the old faves are still there - Commander Waterford still mumbles atrociously, love-interest Nick still under-emotes to the edge of woodenness and Commander Lawrence continues his low-rent Colonel Kurtz schtick. And of course it still looks spectacular.

Thanks, Alphaboi, for the heads-up. We don’t get Hulu here in Canada, but we do have another legal source for the “Handmaid’s Tale,” and thankfully, I subscribe. Your post made me check it, and sure enough, it is there. I just finished streaming the first episode of season 4.

Holy hannah! It pulled no punches. I’m pretty sure that these Handmaids will be a force to be reckoned with in subsequent episodes.

Thanks again for the heads-up, that the show is again being broadcast.

The whole “June getting caught/June getting free/June getting caught/June getting free” thing is starting to get a leeeeeeetle bit played out at this point, no? And the pacing is still reallllly slow. Similarly to Hannibal, another show I watched recently, Handmaid has really poor economy of storytelling.

I’ve always had these criticisms of the show, but the acting performances keep me watching.

That’s why I stopped watching Outlander, FWIW.

Watching the “previously on…” clip I realized Wow, it’s been a long time, and I’ve forgotten everything. But it’s starting to come back.

Where is Hannah? Have I forgotten? Have we ever met Mrs Sykes before? She certainly seemed to know who June was…

When June stopped the handmaids from beating Guardian Pogue to death, I figured she had some plan. Guess the plan was just to let the girl do it.

I’m all caught up on available episodes. I was a latecomer to the show having binged all the first three seasons a year or less ago. I still had forgotten some stuff already and it took me a little while to get back up to speed. The end of E3 was kind of a shocker! Wish they dropped the whole thing at once. Did they say what happened to the Jezebels at the country place? Hard to believe the Gilead crew wouldn’t be able to figure out what really happened. I liked the blond Jezebel lady, if they weren’t all killed I hope she comes back into the story.
That interrogator Lieutenant was right up there in Ramsay Bolton territory.

Agreed, but as it has been renewed for Season 5, they will milk this cow dry. I have the same issue with most shows made today (Lost started this trend). I think once a show passes its first season, it should have a defined limit. That way the author can figure out an ending and how to pace the show.

What we have now (not just Handmaid’s Tale) in most shows:

  1. Great Season 1–packs a punch, people want more.

  2. The next season not quite as good, but people are still watching. More characters! More sideplots!

  3. Still watching but there can’t be a real resolution or advancement…we are making bank. More characters! More sideplots!

  4. Keep on keeping on. Viewers get annoyed. Next season will be the last.

  5. Authors struggle to close 58 subplots and come up with a decent ending. Most fail.

Handmaids Tale is about at a 3 1/2 right now.

In both Game of Thrones and Handmaid, part of the issue is that they started off being based on books, and then deviated from them, and the people writing the show simply weren’t as good as the people who wrote the books. I never read the Thrones books, but I could tell the first few seasons were based on literary material, from the tight storytelling. I did read Handmaid’s Tale and it’s a gripping story that’s told economically and effectively. The first season did a good job of it, but after that, they really started writing themselves down the garden path.

The last episode I watched (the one where June is tortured by her captors and then escapes at the end, for the 183rd time), I had a hard time taking it seriously. A really hard time. It was more like a direct-to-Youtube Saw XVIII movie than something I’d expect from an original series starring Elizabeth Moss. The melodramatic interrogation sequences with the GI Joe Cobra Commando looking goons in black, the “people talking in hushed tones on a rooftop while a helicopter hovers next to them”, and the continuous slow-motion sequence at the end that felt like it was 10 minutes long…let’s be honest here, this was schlock.

I agree with this and the rest of your post. I am also sneering at The Man in the High Castle. However, that the fact that they were based on good books makes Season 1 a good season that suckers viewers like us in…and then they torture us with the rest of the series…like suckers…

You know I’m getting really tired of the grimdark stuff. Basically they give us glimpses of optimism surrounded by a whole lot of torture and terror. I was hoping this season we’d see the beginnings of an uprising, especially after all the kids were airlifted to Canada, and the first couple episodes seemed to allude to that… but then June gets captured and tortured (again) and then a bunch of her friends die.

My patience is running a bit thin at this point.

As I recall, between season 1 and season 2 the writers changed their mind as to who the MitHC actually was. And I said “I’m outta here…”

I agree that it’s a slow burn. But shocking stuff keeps happening. They know exactly where to put it. I get bored and start scrolling on my phone then I realize something happened and have to rewind a little bit to get context.

And then in the last 2 minutes they do something REALLY shocking so you gotta tune in for the next episode.

I liked the women all living on a farm and then figuring out what they wanted to do from there, and men getting killed (sorry, that sounds bad but…) and now it’s all over. So what now for the next 17 episodes?

You can say that again. Not only was there the obvious shocker (I won’t say what it was, as we seem to get this week’s episode a few days after it airs on Hulu in the US, and other viewers elsewhere may have longer delays), but I recognized immediately the prison where June was kept.

It’s really no secret that pretty much all filming locations are in southern Ontario. I’m originally from Toronto, and have recognized more than a few locations. But June’s prison–I recognized the interiors immediately, because I went to school there! It’s the University of Toronto Scarborough Campus, and its brutalist architecture and bare cast concrete is recognizable to anybody who has been in that building. See here, about halfway down the page:

The scene in the big empty area with the wide staircase in the background and the plexiglass cube in the middle is known as the Meeting Place, as it’s basically the crossroads of the campus. I’d go through there a few times a day. The interrogation room looks like it may be either the boardroom (I had a class in there) or the Faculty Lounge with the fireplace CGI’d out.

Turns out that I’ve also been to Jezebel’s (season 1). In other words, I’ve had more than a few drinks at the Library Bar of the Royal York Hotel. My experience there was not quite like June’s though.