The Handmaid’s Tale S04E06 is the sixth instalment of the fourth season of a dystopian alternate reality drama TV series based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name. In this alternate history, the USA has been taken over by hardcore fundamental religious fanatics and renamed as Gilead. In Gilead, women have become the property of men once more as the nation is ruled by theocratic patriarchy.
Entitled “Vows”, The Handmaid’s Tale S04E06 is an emotional, gut-wrenching episode that significantly alters the status quo of the series. As we have mentioned before, the main problem that we had with seasons 2 and 3 was that the series appeared to be running on the spot story-wise. In this – and the previous episodes – there were several instances where the plot teased that June might return to the status quo (i.e. return to Gilead slavery) but this time round, the series has gone somewhere it has never been to before.
Throughout the series thus far, one of the running themes is June’s reluctance to leave Gilead without her elder daughter Hannah. Crucially, at the end of season 3, June elected to stay behind in Gilead, instead of boarding the plane to Canada, with the group of escaped women and children. The reason is clear of course – as explained – and perhaps also understandable but in The Handmaid’s Tale S04E06, it is revealed that there is another layer to this mindset of June’s. And that has something to do with her marriage vows – as reflected in the title of episode.
The audience’s realisation that June’s determination to rescue Hannah at all costs, strikes at a more deeper psychological level than first thought. The way in which the episodes weave this dynamic into the fabric of the narrative is intellectually satisfying as well as emotionally resonant. A powerful episode.
It’s an exciting time to be watching The Handmaid’s Tale, hopefully the creative team can stick the landing in the final four episodes of this season.
Now streaming on Hulu.
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