Wednesday, July 31, 2019

REVIEW: 'The Handmaid's Tale' - June Manages to Save One Life While Another Comes to a Brutal End in 'Liars'

Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale - Episode 3.11 "Liars"

A return to Jezebel's puts everything in jeopardy. Serena Joy and Commander Waterford take a clandestine trip.

In 2018, there were 495 scripted shows airing amongst the linear channels and streaming services. The way people are consuming content now is so different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, there is less necessity to provide ample coverage of each specific episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site is making the move to shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Hulu's The Handmaid's Tale.

"Liars" was written by Yahlin Chang and directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven

Things happening out of plot necessity is a significant and constant criticism of this show. The internal logic within the series has become questionable for anyone curious about the choices that are actively being made. Were the Waterfords simply not aware of how close they were to the Canadian border? Did they trust that they wouldn't get arrested for war crimes simply because Serena had a solid feeling about Mark Tuello? That's absolutely crazy. It's based on two interactions with him where he solely wanted to help her get out of Gilead. She turned down his offer twice. And yet, she still expected him to help reunite her with Nichole. That never made any sense. Where were the Waterfords driving towards to make this exchange while still feeling comfortable with the clandestine nature of this meeting? And why does the show spend so much time once again exploring whether or not the spark still exists between them? That has been a story thread the show has provided a ton of teases on. It has suggested that June was the source of all their animosity towards each other. But their lives were destroyed long before June entered the picture. Commander Waterford is somehow stunned by how much he took away from his wife with the creation of Gilead. That's just not a fair or viable explanation for anything. And yet, it still ultimately leads to more intimacy. That moment feels like something that needs to take place in order for the audience and the characters themselves to feel something when they are inevitably arrested in Canada. That's the outcome that derives the most drama and tension moving forward. It may present as the show being aware that some big shakeup needs to occur. The Waterfords have been seen as members of Gilead society. But now, they need to answer for the crimes they committed. In fact, this hour has the overall attitude of consequences finally arriving for those in power. It leads to Lawrence feeling diminished in what he can provide for Eleanor and June. Plus, it features Commander Winslow being murdered by June. That's a very stark and terrifying moment. Of course, it also comes with the likely audience fatigue towards despicable acts in this world. So much of the foundation of this world is built on rape. That's what the central ceremony is. June has been broken in so many ways because of that and the other assaults done to her in this world. It makes sense that she would snap in this particular way. She can no longer just approach it as a sick and twisted job that she has to perform in order to survive. Nor does she need to because she has support from the Martha network. She just happens to have an ally at Jezebel's who will clean up the crime scene and dispose of the body. June once again proves to be very lucky. She kills a commander. Winslow was the man leading the charge with suspicions of the Lawrence household as well. So, this family unit may actually have the time necessary to stage this mass smuggling of children to the outside world. June sees the importance of that. That's her sole focus. She doesn't care whose plans she disrupts as a result of it as well. She sees this as the thing of value that keeps her alive in Gilead. But there is mostly the overwhelming feeling that she survives countless moments where she probably would have been killed simply because she is the lead character of a television show. That's unfortunate. As a result, it sucks a lot of tension out of the proceedings. It also confirms that June probably won't embark on her children rescue until the season finale. Based on that timing though, it may actually work out for her. It just remains an odd character trajectory for her this year. One where consequences continue to seem elusive despite everything that happens here. Should June be reunited with her children? Or is she too broken to ever be fully rehabilitated and healthy ever again? People refer to her as being crazy for her current plans. They are right to do so. But the audience probably shouldn't be surprised when they inevitably work out for her like they always do. That coupled with the arrest of the Waterfords could actually signal the potential crumbling of Gilead - if the show actually wishes to pursue that.