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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 5 finale recap: ‘Safe’ indicators it is time to start chugging towards the present’s finish

Editor’s Note: The following accommodates spoilers about “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 5 finale, “Safe.”


“The Handmaid’s Tale” actually doesn’t undergo from an absence of media publicity or cultural capital, with current turns within the battle over abortion rights producing common references in progressive circles to the specter of America changing into Gilead, the repressive patriarchal society featured in Margaret Atwood’s novel.

The fifth season that concluded on Tuesday, nevertheless, merely strengthened that the sequence spun out of the guide has maybe held on too lengthy, and the truth that extending its run by way of a sixth and last season was, in hindsight, at the very least one too many. Appropriately, the finale wrapped up aboard a practice, as a result of whereas the present didn’t fairly go off the rails, it at occasions appeared to come back perilously shut.

Ultimately, the final episode, “Safe,” reunited the 2 characters whose bond — solid in ache and hatred — fully outlined Season 5. Specifically, the story stored returning to June (Elisabeth Moss) and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) within the context of what they’ll do, how far they’ll go and the way a lot torment they’ll endure for the sake of their youngsters.

Nothing speaks to that greater than June’s interactions with Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford, who has turn into a significant asset), a sort-of reformer dangling the promise of reuniting June together with her daughter in an effort to win her over. A ugly assault on June and botched navy operation to get well the misplaced ladies, underscored that that is certainly a warfare, with casualties because the inevitable byproduct.

The finale additionally highlighted the cruel realities of life in Gilead by way of Janine (Madeline Brewer) and her ill-advised second of bracing honesty with Naomi (Ever Carradine), additional pointed proof to her and even Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), if any was wanted, of the delicate nature of a Handmaid’s existence.

The story has turn into more and more muddled, nevertheless, with the three-way political dynamic among the many US, Canada and Gilead, which turned June and Serena into refugees, and June’s husband Luke (O-T Fagbenle) right into a prisoner of the Canadian authorities.

Before that occurred, it fell to June to warn him of the hazard they confronted, in a line about how democracies can crumble that, as icily delivered by Moss, carried a weight clearly supposed to resonate past this fictional world.

“America wasn’t Gilead until it was,” she stated. “And then it was too f**kin’ late.”

In that second, anyway, “The Handmaid’s Tale” provided a riveting reminder of what made the sequence such an Emmy-winning sensation when it started. It will take extra of these sort of moments to information the sequence again to something approaching that stage as the ultimate season chugs towards its vacation spot, which ought to be attention-grabbing, even when it feels a bit too late.

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