The Handmaid’s Tale has released the first three episodes of its highly anticipated third season on Hulu, and the best way to describe those episodes would be lit (as in lighting a fuse). The writing on the show is as strong as ever. The ensemble is arguably one of the best on television. However, what stood out to me is how consistent they have been in slowly creating seminal moments for many of their female leads, which assists building tension, which will lead to the ultimate rebellion in Gilead. While the women are still very much oppressed in what was once the United States, seeds of revolt have been planted and are beginning to bear fruit.
It does seem (and again this is based on watching three out of the six episodes Hulu provided critics) that actress Yvonne Strahovski (who plays Serena Waterford) is genuinely going to be one of the centerpieces of the new season. If you remember from last season, Serena allowed June to seek a better life for her “baby,” and they were able to get her out of the house on the way to Canada. Well, that act has indeed fractured what was already an unstable marriage and shows that she’s beginning to realize that she’s stood for is wrong. Could the eventual person who put this revolution over the top be someone who is sleeping with the enemy?
While Elisabeth Moss is dynamite this season, Alexis Bledel has a juicy narrative developing this season. Will she make it across the border with the Waterford’s “child” which is really “June’s”? If she does make it to Canada, how will she adjust to this new life and to the guilt of leaving others behind? Much of what makes this show special is seeing how each person survives or deals with the guilt of survival.
While the pacing of the first three episodes was on-point, what stood out most about those episodes is how effective they were on laying the groundwork for the explosive events to come. The Handmaid’s Tale once again reminds us why it’s one of the best streaming series ever.