‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ builds tension as its fifth season finale approaches

With one episode left of season five of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” the characters are finding themselves in some complicated situations. This entire season has been a rollercoaster and June is finding herself on a bumpy incline. If you haven’t kept up with this season, I suggest you pause reading for now as I can guarantee some spoilers ahead.

The audience has followed June through her misery and her small victories, and now we are finally seeing a road to some recovery from Gilead. This season has focused on June’s navigation through her desire for revenge as well as her mission to finally rescue Hannah. 

Fred got what was coming to him at season four’s closing, but this season started off with tension as June’s revenge began to switch targets. Serena deserves punishment as well, and this season has been delivering it. Serena finally gave birth to her baby but has been ironically put into the place of a handmaid as she watches the Wheelers try to take her son away. 

I had been anticipating the death of Serena, but this turn of events has me even more interested. Despite being such a character audiences love to hate, I almost found myself rooting for Serena in some moments. Particularly, in the latest episode as I yelled at Serena to go as she ran from the Wheelers with Noah. 

Meanwhile, I have been captivated by Commander Lawrence’s character throughout this season. He has placed himself right in the middle of the good and evil binary, making people unsure of how to feel about him. He is still a commander who built Gilead and continues to work within its broken system, and yet he has helped with so many resistance efforts. 

In this season, Lawrence tests his position as a middleman. We see him taking more leadership in Gilead, yet also pushing for reforms and revealing despair over how Gilead’s society has progressed. I felt touched by his guilt as he told June he would go back in time and let the human race die out if it meant he wouldn’t have Gilead over him. However, I am also critical of how he says he feels guilty for the way things have unfolded and yet is not doing anything to change the current Gilead aside from his external project, New Bethlehem. 

Finally, we see more into Hannah’s life in Gilead. Hannah has been a recurring character that audiences have known little about due to her portrayal being through June’s memories or through small interactions. The last time we saw Hannah she was terrified of June and it made me worry that she would be too lost in the ways of Gilead to return to her family. However, I have been hinted to be wrong. 

As everyone around her pushes her identity as Agnes Mackenzie, a soon-to-be wife of a commander, she continues to remember her original name. She even breaks the law and secretly writes it out on a hidden piece of paper. This scene gives hope that maybe she remembers something from before Gilead and wants to reunite with June. 

Overall, this season has left me on the edge of my seat. I can’t sit still knowing that I have to wait another week for this season’s closing. My prediction is that Serena is going to plead for official asylum from Gilead, June and Luke are going to go to New Bethlehem in a desperate attempt to reunite with Hannah, and Hannah is going to start resisting herself. 

This season has an exceptional way of portraying the growth of the main characters, as well as maintaining a “hold your breath” plot that leaves audiences desperately wanting to know what happens next. We’ll see next week when episode ten comes out if my predictions were right and if June will finally be reunited with her daughter. 

 5/5 stars



Photo courtesy of Miki Jourdan, Flickr.