A frustrating Handmaid's Tale gets a bunch of things almost right—and one thing exactly right

Aunt Lydia, grieving for the loss of women she thinks are children, women she tortures but thinks she nurtures, calls out words that she believes to be names. She weeps, because she believes. She makes it a ritual, the calling of those false names, because she knows rituals have power—to comfort, to manipulate, to…

An explosive ending throws an otherwise engrossing Handmaid's Tale off balance

It’s an odd war that Serena Joy and June wage in “First Blood,” an often excellent but ultimately baffling hour of The Handmaid’s Tale. It begins when Serena Joy, scared and guilty, literally removes the wall that separates her from the woman carrying “her” baby, giving her a chance to see it on an ultrasound monitor.…

Janine speaks up as June goes quiet in another cheery hour of The Handmaid's Tale

Dandelions, or Taraxacum officinale, spread their seeds after they flower. Once the bright yellow florets have dried and fallen away, a “parachute ball” opens up, covering the head of the flower in puffy white parachutes. The seeds mature, and when they do, the tiny white parachutes fly away on the wind, ready to land…

The Handmaid's Tale pits Offred against June in an unsurprisingly upsetting hour

“My darling,” said he, “I beg of you, for my sake and for our child’s sake, as well as for your own, that you will never for one instant let that idea enter your mind! There is nothing so dangerous, so fascinating, to a temperament like yours. It is a false and foolish fancy. Can you not trust me as a physician when

The creators of The Handmaid’s Tale love that the handmaids costume has become a feminist statement

Thanks to the government’s assault on women’s reproductive rights over the past year, The Handmaid’s Tale—a story in which the few fertile women left in the world are reduced to incubators by an oppressive regime—became unfortunately timely. What the cast and creators of the Emmy-winning drama didn’t expect was for…

The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 remains as difficult to watch as it is to resist

The first season of The Handmaid’s Tale, Hulu’s adaptation of the eponymous Margaret Atwood novel, made for some of the best TV in 2017. Every bit as harrowing as its source material—in which the few fertile women left in the world are reduced to incubators by an oppressive, theocratic regime—Bruce Miller’s series was…

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Serena Joy, complex and complicit, takes center stage on The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s a bit of a bummer that the first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale to delve into Serena Joy’s story is the most uneven of the series to date. It’s worth noting, of course, that ‘uneven’ by the standards of The Handmaid’s Tale is still head and shoulders above loads of other things. This is an hour very nearly as…

Alexis Bledel’s shattering, wordless performance anchors a brutal Handmaid’s Tale

“Late” is 53 minutes and nine seconds long, and that includes the credits. In those minutes, Alexis Bledel utters not a single word. She only makes two, maybe three sounds. One of them is a moan of despair. The last is a a scream. It’s filled with rage and horror, lasting all of one second. It is the most cathartic,…