*Warning: spoilers ahead for The Handmaid’s Tale season two*
The series picks up just seconds after season two left off, when June/Offred (Elisabeth Moss) passed up a chance to escape to Canada along with her baby Nicole and Emily (Alexis Bledel) in favour of staying behind and rescuing her elder daughter, Hannah — a narrative decision that proved controversial when first aired, and which, according to critics, doesn’t prove to have much pay-off.
“If the season 2 finale left you screaming at your screen — For God’s sake, June, why aren’t you getting on the damn truck outta Gilead with Emily (Alexis Bledel) and baby Nichole? — season 3… won’t do much to restore your confidence in that decision,” Entertainment Weekly writes.
“Based on the first six episodes, June and the show she anchors are stuck in a grim cycle of combative misery, working ever harder for a future that gets further and further out of reach.”
Meanwhile The Hollywood Reporter argues that while in 2017 the first season “reflected the extreme consequences of a perceived, pending dystopia,” in the past two years “the world has moved along and The Handmaid’s Tale has not”.
“What the first six new episodes lack isn’t prescience, but a sense that the show has anything new to say or any conversations it’s hoping to advance. Or is a show we once treated as idea-driven now content with being a wonderfully acted, beautifully shot and frustratingly repetitive thriller?”
Indiewire say that the first half of season three is “compelling,” but that it’s much “slower and laborious” that previous seasons.
“Season 3 starts by reestablishing our lead’s purpose: resistance. Only this time, it’s much more active resistance. Having made her decision, June needs more to do than survive, but building a rebellion is slow work hingeing on sacrifice… The first six episodes are compelling, yet slower and more laborious than the first two seasons.”