‘The Handmaid’s Story’ Season 4 has no heroes, solely victims

Within the 5 years since Season 1 of The Handmaid’s Story premiered on Hulu, the query of what justice really seems to be like has grow to be crucial to American tradition. In some instances justice is punitive, requiring conviction in a courtroom of regulation and commensurate punishment. Different conditions name for restorative justice, the place materials and social amends are allotted to make up for previous wrongs. The default state of affairs of most characters on The Handmaid’s Story is unjust, and the present has taken a very long time to think about what kind their justice may take when and in the event that they obtain it. Season 4 solely begins to reply that query. 

Once we final noticed June and her Mayday military of Handmaids and Marthas, they had been smuggling kids out of Gilead at the price of lots of their very own lives (not June’s, in fact; the bullet she took in Season 3’s closing moments was plot-conscious sufficient to keep away from her important organs). Season 4 picks up moments after that and continues June’s trajectory from Handmaid to insurgent chief full with all of the massive problems June’s actions regularly cause. By now it is not shocking to search out out that her stunt with the kids put extra ladies who helped her on the wall, or that members of the Martha community are type of sick of her recklessness — actually, Season 4 digs June deeper right into a probably irredeemable gap by making her quest for justice messier and bloodier than it ever was earlier than.

Season 4 continues The Handmaid’s Story‘s tonal dissonance between wanting to canonize June and calling her out for her more and more ruinous habits. It is the primary season to brazenly acknowledge that June’s abuse has made her abusive, her manipulative surroundings has turned her right into a grasp manipulator, and the overall toxicity of Gilead has remodeled her into an extremely poisonous particular person. On the identical time, at the same time as she burns by way of Season 4’s new environments like a slow-acting poison, the imagery of the present is obsessive about portraying her as an avenging angel full with hovering choir music and, yeah, like 1,000,000 extra completely centered photographs the place she stares into the digital camera/our souls. 

A lot of the different Season 4 plots, together with these with Commander Lawrence, now–Commander Nick, and Moira drive house the miserable concept that the place Gilead is concerned, doing good for one individual all the time means doing evil to a different. There are only a few “wins” in Season 4 that do not include devastating penalties, to the purpose that The Handmaid’s Story‘s previous status for going too laborious on scenes of bodily torture is supplanted with going too laborious on the fixed ethical misery. Followers of the trolley downside will love this season; individuals who take pleasure in sleeping by way of the evening could not. 

Followers of the trolley downside will love this season; individuals who take pleasure in sleeping by way of the evening could not. 

Maybe most fascinating is Season 4’s additional exploration of the better world’s response to Gilead. Up till this season it has been simple for viewers to imagine that everybody exterior of Gilead is horrified at no matter information leaks out of the violent fundamentalist enclave and due to this fact symbolize the “good” individuals on the earth, however Season 4 disposes of that concept in a short time. Gilead does to different nations what it does to its individuals — it corrodes the very notions of proper and flawed and turns everybody it touches into monsters. Seeing how different Individuals, different Christians, and different refugees react to Gilead is without doubt one of the finest parts of Season 4 and builds in direction of a protracted overdue examination of the social forces that also make the specter of Gilead appear doable in the actual world.

The overarching fact behind June’s heel flip and the unattainable selections every character faces in The Handmaid’s Story Season 4 seems to be that pervasive injustice can’t be corrected on a person degree. Abuse is a morally harmful act, and a state based on sanctioned abuse can’t be destroyed by a single sufferer. In Season 4, the issues are larger and the solutions are additional out of attain, which in fact makes compelling tv for straight-up masochists and those that need a sneak peek at subsequent 12 months’s Emmy nominations. 

The primary three episodes of The Handmaid’s Story Season 4 are streaming on Hulu with new episodes coming every Wednesday. 

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