The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Ep 1 – 2 are the opening instalments of the fifth 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.
S P O I L E R S
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Ep 1 – 2 pick up straight after the shocking events of the Season 4 finale, where former handmaids – led by June Osborn – brutally kill Gilead commander Fred Waterford. Both episodes are pre-occupied very much with the aftermath of the killing and its impact on both June and Serena (Waterford’s wife).
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For June, most of the first episode finds her severely traumatised and drifting through the days that follows. She slips into self-destructive mode, unable to see beyond her rage and vengeance and appreciate the family that she has, right here and now. By the second episode, she appears to have come to terms with life and beginning to let go of her obsession with Serena but that will change by the end of the episode.
For Serena, she returns to Gilead to attempt to give her husband a state funeral with honours – something that the Gilead leadership is not keen on doing, as Waterford was a traitor. But of course, Serena is very persuasive and manages to have the funeral made an international event with live televised coverage – which all seems overblown, in our view.
With June serving as protagonist and Serena as antagonist, Season 5 sets up the remainder of Season 5’s main conflict. Besides delivering her vengeance on Serena, June (and Luke) have also the rescue of Hannah, their daughter, from Gilead also to pursue. The season is primed for this dynamic tension between the two women.
The Final Analysis
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 Ep 1 – 2 is an excellent start to the season. As usual, the two episodes are a sumptuous visual treat with many scenes judiciously framed to deliver a powerful message. Highly recommended!
Now streaming on Hulu.
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