Truthfully, I had to find my way back to The Handmaid’s Tale.
The first season of the acclaimed Hulu series aired in 2017, following Trump’s inauguration. The show highlighted the fears and cultural unsteadiness that his presence brought to the social atmosphere of the country. Our anxiety was perpetuated by June Osborne’s (Elizabeth Moss) journey through this ultra-religious world, where others owned her body and extremists took control. It was art imitating life at its rawest and most confronting.
With season two, there seemed to be a cyclical distinctness to the series that kept June from reaching the circumference of hope. Each step forward was a jog backward. The performances were consistently outstanding, but the world’s immensity layered on an increasingly divided country made viewing difficult.
I skipped season three.
However, recently, I was fortunate to receive an interview with one of the series stars, which brought me into season 4. After a brief recap of the third season, I understood where each character had been and where they were going. The fourth season is triumphant in moral complexity and takes unexpected turns in all the right places.
Of course, there are confronting, brutal scenes that situate our protagonist in awful positions. But her redemption lies in the growth of the series, moving from Gilead into a more firmly adjusted Canada. It’s this transition into a world of progression and revolt that sees The Handmaid’s Tale evolve into the show audiences were missing in the past couple of seasons. It teaches us that there is complacency in safety, and vengeance is the response that defies rationality. It propels us to do things we never thought possible, and there can be closure.
Brutality experienced mutates into a rage, and by the end of season four, it’s all-consuming.