Roush Review: Handmaids Fight Back in ‘Tale’s Fourth Season
In the Emmy-winning allegory’s grueling and gripping long-delayed fourth season, the fugitive handmaid withstands a gunshot, a bombing-induced concussion and, naturally, torture as she battles back against the diabolical woman-enslaving regime of Gilead. “There’s no meaning in this place except violence,” she snarls at her most fearsome tormenter, the lethally pious Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd).
But one look at Moss’s by-now-familiar maniacal glare, reflecting a deep well of rage and survivor guilt, and you know June still has a lot of fight left in her. Even if her martyr complex means that being around her is akin to a death sentence.
She’s a warrior, but also a mother by nature, and her nurturing of unstable fellow runaway Janine (the terrific Madeline Brewer) brings welcome tenderness to a rough journey, at times reminiscent of World War II accounts of refugees and freedom fighters given secret shelter in occupied Europe. Their harrowing escape through the occupied U.S. includes a detour to war-ravaged Chicago, with echoes of The Walking Dead as they walk among smoking ruins of a great city.
Will June ever make it to Canada, where her husband and other allies await her arrival as a national hero, having helped smuggle 86 children out of Gilead? (It’s also where her nemesis and former mistress Serena Joy, icily played by Yvonne Strahovski, is currently imprisoned for her crimes against human, and female, nature.) After all the trauma, is peace of mind even possible for June?
Don’t count on it. There’s at least one more season to go in this grim and unrelenting story. Re-enter this Tale at your own risk.
The Handmaid’s Tale, Season 4 Premiere, Wednesday, April 28, Hulu