‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Is Brutal And Not Much Else

On the show, though, June is so special that her scowl might as well be on the currency for the revolution. Her husband confronts her captor in Canada. She delivers her own baby. Even though people died to help her escape at the beginning of the season, she’s determined now to stay in Gilead, because I guess Season 3 has to be about something. One read is that there’s no escaping the suffocation of a subjugating regime. Except within the show, there actually is escaping it — and yet June has decided not to.

Season 2 has been dutifully brutal, complete with ample torture, rapes, executions and murders. It gave in to every one of the show’s most tedious instincts, substituting slow stares and endless montage sequences for any actual development or new interiority. Every inch of existence is awful. Cookies are inedible. Oprah is in exile. We’re at the North Pole of misery and being told to walk north.

So all the show can do is walk in circles. June’s primal wound is being separated from her daughter Hannah. That can’t be heightened on, so instead, Season 2 just repeats it. This, too, could seem eerily resonant, given the human rights crisis at the Mexican border that saw immigrant children being separated from their parents. But not entirely, because one essential flash point of present-day America “The Handmaid’s Tale” ignores is race and ethnicity. Our United States definitely does not.

June’s trauma repeats, and so does everyone else’s. June’s pal Emily (Alexis Bledel), who last season was punished by having her clitoris cut off, was sent to the gulag, as was Janine (Madeline Brewer), who last season had her eye removed. After they toiled for a few episodes, it was back to Gilead for them both — back to desultory trips to the market and conspiratorial whispers. Would Nick’s child bride ruin everything? No; she was executed, and then everything was back to bad-normal.

Source : https://www.nytimes.com/2018/07/11/arts/television/handmaids-tale-season-2.html

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