Saturday, June 12, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Handmaid’s Tale

The Handmaid’s Tale: Season 4, Episode 9 “Progress” (B+)

It’s startling sometimes how open the lines of communication and the borders are to those with means, which may just mean access to a phone or unrestricted movement within their own countries. June being able to call Lawrence and talk to him on what appeared to be a private line was so blunt and free of pleasantries, and it might have been more impactful had Lawrence expressed any desire to do more good and not merely preserve power. He’s a realist, which is part of why he helped Gilead create a system that could make their beliefs actually work, and now he doesn’t want to make trouble just to get June her daughter back, unless he could offer it as a trade for, say, ten of the kids she took, something June categorically rejected. I was only worried that she was going to meet Nick alone, but fortunately the only thing he wasn’t telling her was that he needed to take his ring off in order to be with her. This was another strong use of the track “On the Nature of Daylight,” and this show excels at those overhead, snow-blanketed shots. It shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Mark’s goal all along was to flip Fred into an informant, and Warren’s unsympathetic attitude towards even trying to negotiate for his release was likely the last straw. The almost threatening way that he assured him that they would be sending “thoughts and prayers” was a clear mockery of the repeated refrain offered up by those unwilling to take productive action to prevent future mass shootings after they inevitably occur again and again. It was disheartening to see that Esther has now become a handmaid, but at least she has Janine by her side to protect her to whatever degree she can, and she herself is already being looked kindly upon by a woman capable of great cruelty with a soft spot for her. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the season finale and how much June’s rage is going to be transformed into action, but it’s very good to know that this show has already been renewed for a fifth season.

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