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

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


“The Handmaid’s Tale” definitely doesn’t undergo from a scarcity of media publicity or cultural capital, with latest turns within the battle over abortion rights producing common references in progressive circles to the specter of America turning 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 ebook has maybe held on too lengthy, and the truth that extending its run by a sixth and last season was, in hindsight, no less than one too many. Appropriately, the finale wrapped up aboard a prepare, as a result of whereas the present didn’t fairly go off the rails, it at instances appeared to return perilously shut.

Finally, the final episode, “Safe,” reunited the 2 characters whose bond — cast in ache and hatred — utterly outlined Season 5. Particularly, the story saved 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 kids.

Nothing speaks to that greater than June’s interactions with Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford, who has change into a serious asset), a sort-of reformer dangling the promise of reuniting June along with her daughter in an effort to win her over. A grotesque assault on June and botched army operation to get better 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 change 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.

Earlier than 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 meant 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’s going to take extra of these type of moments to information the sequence again to something approaching that degree as the ultimate season chugs towards its vacation spot, which must be fascinating, even when it feels a little bit too late.

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