‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ season 5 assessment: June and Serena take middle stage because the Hulu present’s finish comes into view


“The Handmaid’s Tale” would seem like returning at an auspicious time, because the overturning of Roe v. Wade has thrust Margaret Atwood’s dystopian imaginative and prescient into the highlight. But the arc of this fifth season is ill-suited to the second, extra narrowly centered on the bond of hatred between June and Serena, on the expense of virtually the whole lot else.

The brutal, cathartic destiny of Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), as orchestrated by June (Elisabeth Moss) on the shut of the fourth season, left its mark on Serena (Yvonne Strahovski), his widow and associate within the crimes of Gilead.

Yet even in a patriarchal society, Serena shouldn’t be with out the political expertise of a survivor. And whereas she escaped Gilead, June stays unable to let go of her simmering anger (no one does stares of intense rage like Moss), drawing her again repeatedly.

While shedding previous grievances would absolutely be the sensible transfer, that’s merely not in her, a lot to the chagrin of her husband, Luke (O-T Fagbenle). The season thus turns into a type of extended battle of titans, even with the characters separated, providing splendid showcases for Moss and Strahovski in addition to an prolonged rumination on the sacrifices related to motherhood.

Elisabeth Moss in season 5 of 'The Handmaid's Tale.'

With Moss once more sporting a number of hats as star, producer and occasional director, “Handmaid’s Tale” seldom fails to ship stark or surprising moments. At the identical time, the most recent season (based mostly on watching eight of its 10 episodes) feels much more responsible of indulging in chapters that play like filler and at greatest inch the story ahead.

Having introduced that the sixth season would be the final, the sequence ought to profit from the chance to construct towards an finish recreation, one that just about no one may accuse of being untimely.

The macro story does discover the connection of Gilead to the bigger world, and uncomfortable questions on what its neighbors will tolerate within the pragmatic pursuit of political lodging. There are additionally different less-developed subplots, amongst them Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), and what the burdens of a conscience would possibly seem like; Nick (Max Minghella), nonetheless pining for June as he seeks to chart his personal path; and Bradley Whitford’s Commander Lawrence, whose perception within the aim of quietly reforming Gilead from inside has turn out to be a central rigidity on that bigger degree.

Fundamentally, although, “The Handmaid’s Tale” has labored to match the searing urgency and placing imagery (all these crimson cloaks, which even confirmed up at a Supreme Court protest) that made its Emmy-winning first season memorable in a method that virtually leapt off the display.

The Hulu sequence clearly hasn’t misplaced any of its relevance, and certainly, a few of its themes resonate in a extra pointed method. Yet whereas this season continues the grinding march towards the top of June’s story, it reinforces a way that regardless of the promise of a conclusion that lies forward, the present’s greatest days are behind it.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” begins its fifth season September 14 on Hulu.

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