*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."

Elisabeth Moss, The Handmaid's Tale
Channel 4

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."

Watch the trailer for The Handmaid’s Tale season three


The Handmaid’s Tale airs on 5th June in the US and at a later unspecified date in the UK