What to Read About That Divisive ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Finale

What to Read About That Divisive ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Finale

‘The Truck, the Choice and the “Handmaid’s Tale” Finale’ [NPR]

As far as Linda Holmes of NPR’s “Monkey See” is concerned, Offred’s request that the baby be called Nicole, as Serena Joy would have wanted, was as mystifying as her decision not to get in the car. “It is a bridge too far to narratively urge sympathy for someone who would crush those under her and actively participate in their imprisonment, their rape, and their suffering, simply because she eventually suffered a fraction of that suffering herself,” Holmes argues. “There are a lot of ways to feel about an attitude of ‘I never thought this society’s suffering would become mine, but now it is, so now I don’t like it anymore.’ But ‘Aw, she’s not so bad’ isn’t one of them.”

‘“The Handmaid’s Tale” Wraps Up a Good but Frustrating Season’ [Vulture]

For Jen Chaney, who was lukewarm on the finale, the show’s efforts to humanize Serena were among the season’s highlights. “‘Handmaid’s Tale’ does something with Serena it doesn’t so much with other characters, aside from June: invest real time in her evolution,” Chaney notes. “By the time we reach the finale, we’ve learned that Serena was once a more powerful figure than her husband. We also know how much she cherishes baby Nicole, and wants the best for her. Her decision to give up Nicole because she knows the girl has no chance of reaching her full potential in Gilead is a little rushed — Serena barely has time to think about letting the infant go — but it’s ultimately believable because the show and Strahovski have demonstrated what a complicated, independent thinker dwells beneath her Commander’s Wife facade.”

‘Does “The Handmaid’s Tale” Want Us to Empathize With Ivanka Trump?’ [Literary Hub]

In an essay that examines the show’s allusions to contemporary politics, Rachel Vorona Cote argues that, “If the showrunners were not so adamant in their efforts to align their narrative with current events, perhaps June’s relationship with Serena would be a fascinating study in feminine intimacy and nothing more.” She continues, “But we have been asked, entreated, to make parallels, and Serena Joy, as others have argued, hearkens the honey-smiles of Ivanka and Hope Hicks and every other refined conservative woman who, with nails buffed and manicured, voted to divest millions in their country of constitutional rights.”

‘Did “Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 Finale Just Take Down the Series?’ [Rolling Stone]

Alan Sepinwall believes that the show put itself in an impossible situation in Season 2. “This particular show seemed to be caught between a narrative rock and an emotional hard place,” he writes. “Continue dramatizing the enslavement and serial rape of the Handmaids of Gilead with the rawness and artistry of the first season, and the experience risks becoming unbearable in a hurry. But to suggest the possibility of hope — of escape and/or revolution for June and Emily and the others — would risk undercutting the very power, and unfortunate timeliness, of this particular tale.”

‘“Handmaid’s Tale” Finale a Case of Brilliant Acting, Frustrating Storytelling’ [The Hollywood Reporter]

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