Sunday, August 18, 2019

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale (Season Finale)

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 3, Episode 13 “Mayday” (B+)

Now this is the kind of finale that serves as a formidable payoff to a season that wasn’t nearly as strong as the first two but still stands as one of the better shows on television. This show features so many crushing defeats and brutal setbacks that its wins are indeed glorious and affirming, representing a glimmer of hope in a bleak world that possesses little of it. Starting with June being bussed around presumably after Gilead took power, crying out for Hannah with no knowledge of where she was going, was a disorienting opener that helped make the climactic final scenes all the more powerful since, after enduring so much, she is now indeed in charge. Demanding a map from Joseph and asserting her authority was refreshing, and, against all odds, her operation worked. Standing up after she and the other Marthas and handmaids threw rocks at the guards to distract them was bold, and she was rewarded by being saved by all the survivors who look to her as a leader. Nothing was more emotional was than the completely full plane being greeted by a group of escaped Americans including Moira, Luke, and Emily, and this exodus is going to be felt in a truly monumental way in season four. I’d love to see Joseph stay in command and find a way to guide the totalitarian regime he helped create away from its current place, but I doubt it will be that simple. I think many were rooting for Serena to suffer rather than get off with a gate badge to go wherever she pleases, but I may be stuck on the sympathy dredged up for her in season two before her hatred towards June returned this season. It has indeed been a moving year, and I’m eager to see what season four will look like. Though it won’t be for this season, Bradley Whitford should nonetheless earn an award for this show when he wins the Emmy for the end of season two, along with a handful of other opportunities this show has to be rewarded for those few hanging episodes.

Season grade: B+
Season MVP: Elisabeth Moss

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