TV REVIEW: The Handmaid’s Tale – Season 3

Season three of The Handmaid’s Tale sees June (Elisabeth Moss) handed over to rebellious Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) as a handmaid. Here she bonds with Lawrence’s mentally ill wife, Eleanor (Julie Dretzin) and plots ways to see her stolen daughter. Meanwhile Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) and Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) fight to get Nicole back from Canada where Luke (O-T Fagbenle) and Moira (Samira Wiley) are taking care of her.

After the second season of The Handmaid’s Tale was a bit flat compared to the first one, I was hoping for a return to form for the third. I was sorely disappointed. The whole season feels like a rambling pile of filler.

June supposedly lives under a regime where everything is regulated and watched and even the smallest transgression is punished brutally. Yet somehow she constantly gets away with things or only suffers minor punishments. In season two she was pregnant so you can understand the motivation to spare her but her ability to evade repercussions in this season has gone beyond belief. She either needed to be hung or start a war and neither happened.

As the season goes on her behaviour becomes more and more erratic, which could have worked in a study of how PTSD turns the oppressed into oppressors and strips people of their sanity… if it were done well. It isn’t done well though and everything that was once likeable about June seems to have vanished.

I didn’t give a shit about her beef with OfMatthew (Ashleigh LaThrop) or the weirdnesses of Serena and Fred’s abusive relationship. Emily’s (Alexis Bledel) reunion with her estranged wife (Clea DuVall) might have been really interesting but the surface was only barely scratched.

The only compelling part of the whole drawn out series was finding out a bit more about Aunt Lydia’s (Ann Dowd) past.

I wonder what Margaret Attwood thinks about all this. Not sure I can be fucked to watch season 4.

1.5/5

6 Comments

  1. I felt very differently to you. I have been addicted to this from the start, and enjoyed the recent series immensely. I have read Attwood’s book, ( a LONG time ago) and agree that the TV series is far from being a ‘faithful adaptation’. But the way they kept me hooked was hard to fight.
    I think most of your criticisms are spot-on, but yet I still loved it! πŸ™‚
    Best wishes, Pete.

    1. I didn’t feel hooked this season, which I think was the problem. The previous two seasons I cared deeply about the characters and I actually enjoyed the slow burn of the pace for the most part but with this one I felt like watching it was mostly a chore with not enough payoff.

  2. Well – I waited two seasons for the handmaids to get guns and they finally got them, so I’m pretty happy. Some of the events really are stretching reality (well, their reality) since like you said June does a lot of crazy stuff and doesn’t get her eyes gouged out or anything. The plane scene was good to see, although the chances that all of the people working at the airport “cargo” area were the same people who escaped seems really far fetched. I guess you could think it was part of the underground or something – but still.

    1. I did not even think about that coincidence of them all being there are the airport. That is pretty far fetched.

  3. I have rather ambiguous feelings about this season. There were some bits that were quite intense and well made but I couldn’t really be bothered to care about either June or Serena. So many things felt slightly off! I am still curious, though, to see what they’ll do with season 4.

    1. I think that was similar to how I felt. I stopped caring about the main characters completely. There were interesting themes… like Serena using her sexuality to try and charm the guy handling her case, but it was all so undercooked.

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