‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Defies Logic In Latest Episode
by Frank Martin
It’s hard to think of a show in recent memory where the writing has fallen in quality from one season to the next more than The Handmaid’s Tale. What’s even more startling: it’s not like the show is on its second season. It has had quality storytelling for a multitude of seasons before its nosedive in the current one. And it’s not surprising either. Much of the status quo has changed now that June (Elisabeth Moss) is in Canada. What’s even stranger, though, is that the show’s tension and suspense remains high. Also, the show’s political elements are still just as interesting as they have been in the past. Where the show falters, however, is in character motivations and a collection of plot developments that seem illogical, confusing, and take the viewer right out of the story.
This week’s episode follows the developments from last week as Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) moves back to Canada and takes up her post as a diplomat of sorts. Her job is to represent Gilead on the world stage so that the country can begin normalizing its practices across the globe. This leads June to worry that what happened in Gilead will happen elsewhere. That fear also starts to take hold in other countries. Also, her husband (O-T Fagbenle) starts to grow the same anger towards Serena that June has, and the two of them bond over this. But Serena quickly learns that her new post doesn’t offer her the freedom she thought it would as Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) continues to keep her on a short leash. Not to mention — in a separate storyline — Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) begins to have a redemption arc (kind of) as she realizes she needs to treat the handmaids with compassion rather than cruelty.
The ultimate problem with this season is Serena. She was in custody as essentially a war criminal. The fact that she not only was able to travel back to Gilead but become a Gilead diplomat and that the United States would release her from their custody is mind-boggling. Everything that happens stems from that plot point. Now while the politics of the situation are very interesting and the plot line of seeing Gilead expand its global reach is a positive direction (storywise), the leaps in logic in order to get there don’t hold up. This doesn’t even take into account the strange turns in character for Aunt Lydia and June’s husband. Hopefully, in the episodes to come the show will remember the quality of writing it had in the past and course correct before the season is over.
The Handmaid’s Tale streams Wednesdays on Hulu.