Our Handmaid’s Tale heroine is “beyond redemption” – and there’s no going back now.
For a very long time – a whopping three seasons, in fact – fans of The Handmaid’s Tale have watched June (Elisabeth Moss) sit in her claustrophobic bedroom and dream about all the things she’d like to do if she could just break free.
Twice, she’s come within a hair’s breadth of crossing the border into Canada. Twice, she’s turned her back on a life devoid of red habits and ritual rapes. And, twice, we’ve screamed and hollered at our TV screens as she’s elected to remain in Gilead.
Indeed, after we saw June shot in the final episode of season three, entitled Mayday, many viewers claimed that they’d had enough. That they wouldn’t be watching the show anymore. That they were 100% done with all the trauma, and the misery, and the endless horror.
But then the trailer for the show’s much-anticipated fourth season landed. And, just like that, we were all immediately back on board.
Check it out:
Honestly? Every single time I watch this trailer (and, trust me, I’ve watched it more than a few times by this point), I feel goosebumps erupting and prickling all over my body. No small thing, when you consider the fact that we’re currently enduring a 30-degree heatwave in the UK right now.
Why? Because, unlike previous seasons, this trailer promises to do away with June’s constant stagnation and instead usher in a new era of hope. Of impetus. Of action. Of… well, of change. And, considering this is a show in which nothing has changed for so very long, change is good. It’s what the people watching from lockdown don’t just need, but crave.
“I can’t rest,” June tells us in her most fiery voiceover yet. “My daughter deserves better. We all deserve better.
“Change never comes easy. This war isn’t going to win itself. [And] we’re just getting started.”
Of course, we already know, thanks to Moss, that this season will take us far beyond Gilead’s reach.
“We’re really stretching the limits of our capabilities, production-wise, and we’re on the move a lot,” she said. “We’re not sitting in a studio between four walls very much, so it really is a bigger season and that’s taken a little [longer].”
This, alongside that explosive trailer, makes several things abundantly clear. Firstly, June is no longer confined to her Commander’s house: she’s on the move, and none of the agents in Gilead’s theocratic society know where she is or what she’s planning.
Which brings me to my second point: June has an army of her own, and the uniform of her loyal soldiers isn’t just red, but green and even blue. She has powerful allies, too, on her side. And she is a force to be reckoned with. Especially as she knows, at long last, that she truly does have the power to do something big.
Our heroine is, as Ann Dowd’s Aunt Lydia warns us, “beyond redemption” – there’s no going back now.
We need this. We need it. Not just because we’ve spent so long waiting to see a spark light the powderkeg under Gilead, but because… well, many of us have been voluntarily or involuntarily confined to our homes for months. We, like June, have had our time to sit with our own thoughts. We have witnessed a number of atrocities over the past few months, too, and many of us have determined to be a force for meaningful, positive change.
We have, finally, woken up.
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When The Handmaid’s Tale was ordered in April 2016, Donald Trump was the frontrunner to win the Republican nomination but not quite the presumptive candidate. Seasons two and three came out as abortion restrictions were passed in states like Georgia, Alabama and Missouri.
This show has always held up a black mirror to the world around us. It has always offered us a bleak vision of the near future. But season four, due to air in 2021, will (to paraphrase Rihanna) find hope in a hopeless place.
Because, despite the nightmarish nature of Gilead’s reality, season four serves as a reminder that Margaret Atwood’s dystopian a tale is one of strength, survival and sisterhood. And one which feels all the more relevant by the day, too.
Kayleigh Dray is Stylist’s digital editor-at-large. Her specialist topics include comic books, films, TV and feminism. On a weekend, you can usually find her drinking copious amounts of tea and playing boardgames with her friends.