Review: Hulu’s ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

With Season 3 around the corner, is it worth it to binge-watch this thrilling ‘tale?’

About three weeks ago, I became obsessed with the show “The Handmaid’s Tale.” The obsession began a little after seeing my roommates binge-watching the latest season together, and hearing about it off-and-on the phone with my mom those few days. So, with a whole day to myself during one lonely spring break day, I decided to watch it. 

The series takes place in a modernized, totalitarian society called Gilead in an area that used to be part of the United States. Take-overs like these are not impossible; the show is currently in a Tinder/Uber modern world and seems kind of realistic with those implications. Using trending aspects of our life to captivate an audience into a “what-if” scenario for our present day turned this show into a hit.

It’s especially alluring to think that social media can bring together a group of individuals for a “greater cause” and change an entire developed society.

In the world of Gilead, a group of like-minded people decided that because of the environmental disasters and plummeting birth rate due to infertility, society should go back to the “good ‘ole days.” Women who would “disrespect” their fertility and virginity were claimed as handmaids –  a collection of fertile women designated to a certain wealthy, powerful family who weren’t capable of having children. 

They are forced to be birthing machines. In other words, they are raped and assaulted in order to have kids for people of higher status whom will never let the real mother see again.

This series is so unique for two important reasons – it’s based on the book, so fans of the series can now see it visually come to life, and it’s based on the “what if” idea that the modern society we live in now can be terrorized into becoming the exact opposite it is. All of our rights and morals our ancestors fought for—gone. 

I watched most of the series (two seasons) sitting down and never had a single thought of leaving my chair— unless I needed more popcorn. The cinematography and mise-en-scène matched the theme of the show very well. I saw the aerial camera shots as a visual metaphor, suggesting that someone is always looking into their very different, dystopian society and watching their handmaids. The mise-en-scène incorporated a muted grey color palette for the dreary show. 

Each character wears a specific color that represents their status in society. The handmaids wear red, as symbols of new beginning for loving babies, but also for the pain and suffering the women endure for their strenuous job. Women of wealthy status wear blue, all of whom are wives of powerful men of the terrorist group. Gilead’s middle class families, that abided by normal family values before the terrorist organization took over,  are in grey. Grey symbolizes their conformity and their relatively insignificant role within the new society.

Now, I won’t spill the tea of what has already happened to those who haven’t seen the show, but I’ll say some general things. For the last episode of season two, main character and handmaid June ignores the chance to escape the disgusting life Gilead holds in order to find her daughter, whom was kidnapped from her. Season three continues this character’s chapter with hopes of finally reuniting her whole family. 

From what I have analyzed, the first season is about survival, the second season is about love, and the third season is about hope.

I have heard that June may team-up with Commander Lawrence or Serena within the show to stop this society from continuing. This alliance will be essential to free the handmaid’s from their sentence and bring together families once again. 

I am excited to see how this third season unravels, because the first two seasons have already made me obsessed with the storyline. Each episode is perfect and brings something new to the table. I believe it will be another hit, and not just another season to add on due to the fandom. In other words, I’m enthusiastic for what else the creators will do to maintain the excitement and intertwined curiosity of the story. 

Season three is available June 5th in the U.S. on Hulu.

~Ashley McMillan, Staff Writer~


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