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The Handmaid’s Tale Series Review: Is It Worth A Watch?

The Handmaid's Tale
The Handmaid's Tale (Credits: Hulu)

The Handmaid’s Tale was first released on April 26, 2017, and is based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, which depicts a dystopian United States where fertile women are used as a national resource. Women gradually lost their rights to their employment, their bank accounts, contraceptives, and ultimately their reproductive systems.

A powerful religious sect known as the Sons of Jacob, who rule the nation, have kidnapped fertile women and are using them to carry the important people’s children for their barren wives. The last episode of the finale season was released on November 9, 2022. The show is available on the streaming platforms Hulu and Amazon Prime Video.

The Handmaid’s Tale Cast

Elisabeth Moss plays the role of June Osborne/Offred, who gets captured while attempting to escape with her husband. Joseph Fiennes please the role of Commander Fred Waterford and is a high-ranking government official. Yvonne Strahovski plays the role of Serena Joy Waterford and is Fred’s wife and a former conservative cultural activist.

Alexis Bledel, please the role of Dr. Emily Malek, who is a former University professor in cellular biology. Madeline Brewer, please, the role of Janine Lindo, who is a handmaid. Ann Dowd plays the role of Aunt Lydia Clements, a woman in charge of overseeing the handmaids in their sexual re-education and duties.

The Handmaid's Tale

A Still from The Handmaid’s Tale. (Credits: The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu)

O-T Fagbenle plays the role of Luke Bankole, and he is the husband of June. Max Minghella plays the role of Commander Nick Blaine and is the driver of Commander Waterford. Samira Wiley plays the role of Moira Strand and has been June’s best friend since college. Amanda Brugel plays the role of Rita Blue and is a housekeeper at the Waterford house and later becomes one of June’s closest allies.

Bradley Whitford plays the role of Commander Joseph Lawrence and is the founder of the Colonies and architect of Gilead’s economy. Sam Jaeger plays the role of Mark Tuello and is an operative of the U.S. Government.

The Handmaid’s Tale Storyline

Season 1

The story begins with the totalitarian and the theonomic government of Gilead establishing rule in the former United States in the aftermath of a civil war. In Gilead, women, in particular, are the most oppressed group who have lost all personal freedom. This all started when the world faced a crisis of infertility, so the fertile women in Gilead got rounded up and put in red robes as handmaids.

The Handmaid’s Tale is the story of June, who we meet in the first season as Offred, which is of Fred because she is the property of her Commander, Fred Waterford. The Commander and his wife, Serena, are unable to get pregnant, so it is their handmaid’s job to bear children for them, and June is forced to take part in the ceremony, a government-mandated norm.

The life of the Handmaids is awful as they cannot even trust each other because any of them could be true believers that are spying for the secret police ‘The Eyes.’ One day June and her walking partner Emily decide that they can trust each other, and Emily says that she is with the resistance and asks June to spy on her Commander.

The Commander soon invites June to play scrabble, but it is illegal as women aren’t allowed to read. June makes contact with the resistance, but the very next day, Emily gets replaced as she turns out to be gay. 

The Handmaid's Tale

A still from Episode 9 of Handmaid’s Tale. (Credits: The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu)

June continues her Scrabble games with Fred, and he starts opening up to her. He takes June to a brothel, but this is good news for the resistance, which has a package there that June can pick up. June gets the package out with the help of her best friend, Moira.

The package was a stack of letters written by women all over Gilead telling the truth about the place. Moira Strand decides to escape and makes it to the safety of Canada. Serena Waterford, the wife of Fred, really wants a baby, but when June doesn’t get pregnant, she finally admits it could be Fred’s fault, so she has a secret illegal plan to make another man, their driver Nick.

Later June sneaks out to Nick and has sexual intercourse, and eventually, they fall in love. June had a family before, a husband and a daughter. They got caught during their escape, but Luke made it out to Canada, and her daughter Hanna was also captured and placed with another family. Serena’s plan works out, and June gets pregnant.

When a handmaid has a baby, she gives it up to the host family and is immediately reassigned and overseen by the aunts and their leader Aunt Lydia. The season ends with every handmade coming together in the rescue of Janine and refusing to execute her as she was one of them.

Season 2

The second season begins with the handmaids getting severely punished, and birthday ring leader June is spared as she is pregnant. When June goes for a check-up, a nurse leaves her key to escape, and it is Nick who arranges for it to get her to Canada, but they don’t succeed.

Fred and Serena Waterford take a trip on a diplomatic mission to Canada, where she befriends an agent of the American government in exile. Luke meets Nick and informs him that June is alive and gives him the stack of letters, and Luke releases it on the internet for the world to see.

Later Nick manages to arrange a meeting between June and her daughter Hannah, but Nick gets called away, and June is left alone near the Canadian border. As she tries to escape, she goes into labor and delivers the baby all by herself.

As June couldn’t track through the snow with a newborn, she came back and gave the baby to Serena. Commander Fred is building a fancy new Red Centre, but one of the handmaids smuggles in a bomb and blows the place. Unfortunately, Fred survives and is out of commission for a while.

Serena lies about Fred working from the hospital, and she starts doing the work and forging his signatures and brings in June to help because she was an editor. During the beginning of the Gilead movement, the Waterfords were a team, and Serena was sort of a leader until the movement shifted to be more about oppressing women, and Serena was no longer one of the decision-makers.


A still from Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale. (Credits: The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu)

When Fred gets back, instead of thanking his wife for covering for him, he gets really mad and decides to punish her. Serena then decides to revolt and gathers up a bunch of the Commander’s wives as they were treated very badly even though they were loyal to Gilead, and in protest, she does a bold act of reading a passage from the Bible.

The man of the council was not moved by her bravery and punished her according to the law and cut off her pinky finger. Serena has often been June’s greatest enemy but now hopes she can find an ally in her. Infertile women of low status work as domestic servants called Marthas.

Waterford’s Martha Rita creates a distraction and tries to get June and her baby out, but unfortunately, Serena catches her. Serena agrees to let baby Nicole go, so the Martha network helps June escape. June sends Nicole with Emily and stays behind as she can’t leave her daughter and go.

Season 3

June gets transferred to a new commander. She is no longer of Fred’s, she is now of Joseph, and unfortunately, he is not a part of the resistance. He doesn’t much care about what the Marthas are up to as long as it doesn’t cause him trouble, so some of the Marthas would meet up to talk resistance, and June also becomes a part of that group.

Emily and baby Nicole makes it to the safety of Canada and meets up with June’s husband, Luke, and her best friend, Moira, and hand over the baby. Emily stabbed Aunt Lydia and pushed her down the stairs, but she still survives.

Serena is still mad at Fred for not fighting for her when they cut off her pinky finger, but when she sees a video of baby Nicole in Canada, she regrets the decision to let her go and she wants her back, so they start a propaganda campaign asking Canada to return it to her home.

They travel to the capital of Gilead, Old Washington DC, with the Washington monument turned into a big cross, and so working on this with Commander Waterford is high Commander Winslow and has got a dozen kids by a dozen different handmaids.

This makes June who tries to reason with Serena saying she cannot possibly want to raise a daughter in this place, but Serena is stubborn in her decision, and they have a fight in front of the destroyed Lincoln Memorial. 


A still from Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale. (Credits: The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu)

Serena thinks that her husband is fighting very hard to get their baby back and things get better between them, but Fred is lying to her, and they have decided to keep baby Nicole in Canada because it gives him a lot of political leverage.

Nick is promoted to Commander and is stationed in the capital. He and June are briefly reunited, but he cannot really use his newfound powers to help, as he is being shipped to the front of Chicago to brutally quash the rebellion. A friend asks June where Hannah goes to school, and June goes to Mrs. Lawrence to get help.

June couldn’t even see her daughter, and to avoid future incidents, they transferred Hannah away, and even Commander Lawrence didn’t have the file. June gets into a new mission and wants to get all the children of the handmaids. Commander Lawrence gets visitors on a ritual night, and they stay to ensure that he does the ritual.

June, along with Lawrence and Martha’s network, comes up with a plan to smuggle kids via a plane that is coming in to deliver supplies. June goes to the brothel to convince the bartender, who is also the pilot of the plane, to load it up with kids before he sends it back, but she gets recognized by Commander Winslow. He tries to force himself upon her, but she retaliates and ends up killing him.

The Marthas bring the kids under their charge to the house and their journey through the woods and make it to the airport, but there is security, and in order to distract the security, all the women start to throw rocks. June gets shot by the security officer she was leading but manages to survive and kill him, and the plane flies away, taking over 50 children safely to Canada.

Season 4

June gets saved by the other handmaids, but now the whole group of about a dozen handmaids are extremely wanted and are on their run. They make it to the safe house, a country estate in the middle of nowhere. June sneaks over to a nearby estate to meet their Mayday contact.

In the meantime, a party takes place in a brothel for high-ranking military commanders, and June plans to kill them all as they were all in the same place with the help of Mrs. Keyes, but the eyes found them, and this mission was led by the new Commander of the eyes Nick. She gets brought to the serious prison, where she is reunited with Aunt Lydia.

In order to extract the location of the other handmade from June, they bring her daughter, and eventually, June gives up the other handmade location to protect her daughter.

June and Janine escape with the help of the resistance and are off to the war zone of Chicago. Before the ceasefire, they decided to do one final bombing run, but June survives and meets her old best friend Moira and is reunited with her husband and her daughter Nicole.

The Handmaid's Tale

A still from Season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale. (Credits: The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu)

Fred and Serena are also in Canada, and soon Serena gets the very surprising news that she is pregnant. They get into a problem because June comes out to testify against them and tells her story to the world, and so they make a deal and tell the international community everything they want to know about the inner workings of Gilead in exchange for immunity.

June is not happy with this and goes to the American FBI agent with a better offer to release 22 prisoner women in exchange for Fred. When Fred is being taken back to Gilead, Nick brings him out into the woods, where June and the other handmaids put him to death.

Season 5

June returns back home and informs her husband that she finally did it and killed Fred. She then goes into a diner with the other handmaids, where they seek her help to kill the other monsters in Gilead. June pays a visit to Emily only to find out that she went back to Gilead to take her revenge. Serena, on receiving the information of her husband’s death, demands a proper funeral in Gilead.

Fred’s funeral gets telecasted all over the world, and it was Serena’s idea to send a message to June that she still has her daughter Hannah and is preparing her for marriage. June finds all this from her neck. Serena wishes to stay back in Gilead and work as a global ambassador, but she is forcefully sent back to Canada.

Serena is released from custody and starts staying in a Gilead Cultural Centre in Canada. A cold war starts between Serena and June. They face each other multiple times, and Serena starts to fear June. Luke and June cross the border and goes back to Gilead in order to save their daughter.

There they meet a guardian who gives information about their daughter and tells her that she has not been matched yet and hands over a drive with information on Wife’s school. When Luke and June return to Canada, they get caught and are separated.

The Handmaid's Tale

A still from the finale episode of The Handmaid’s Tale. (Credits: The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu)

Mr. Wheeler informs Serena that June has been caught in no man’s land, and he tells her that he is going to send Ezra to take care of her Serena insists on going with him. Luke had asylum in Canada, so they will drop him off, but June is being taken back to Gilead. Meanwhile, ester gets pregnant by Patnam and gets killed for this.

June helps Serena deliver her baby boy and takes her to a hospital where Serena gets arrested and will be sent to a detention center and her child to a foster home. Lawrence proposes the idea of a New Bethlehem to June and asks her to return to Gilead. June gets confused between trusting Lawrence and the American Government.

She hears back from Tuello, telling her that they have found Hannah and will rescue her. June gets attacked by someone from Gilead and injures her arm. Lawrence gets married to Mrs. Putnam, and on the other hand, a protest arises in Canada as Luke killed a Canadian on Canadian soil, being a refugee, and is now being searched by police.

June decides to flee from Canada and all leave, but only June and Nicole can make it, and Luke gets arrested. In a shocking turn of events, June meets Serena on the train with her baby, and this season ends.

The Handmaid’s Tale Review

“The Handmaid’s Tale” television series is based on Margaret Atwood’s novel of the same name and was first aired in 2017. The series is produced by Hulu and stars Elisabeth Moss as Offred, the main character. The fictitious Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state that has replaced the United States, is where the tale is set in the not-too-distant future.

The show examines issues such as fundamentalism’s hazards, gender oppression, and reproductive rights. The plot centers on Offred, a handmaid who is made to carry her commander’s and his infertile wife’s offspring. Women who are fertile but have been deprived of their rights and compelled into procreative servitude are known as handmaids.

In the television adaptation of the book, the Republic of Gilead, a totalitarian and theocratic state, replaces the United States in a dystopian future. Women’s rights are taken away, and those who are fertile are made to serve as “handmaids” who give birth to children for their commanders and their wives.

The TV series’ capacity to elaborate on the novel’s world-building is one of its most notable advantages. The TV series offers a more thorough look at Gilead culture and other people’s hardships than the book does, which mostly focuses on Offred’s tribulations.

One such character is Serena Joy, the Commander’s wife. The show has received appreciation for being timely in light of current political issues, notably those pertaining to women’s rights and the freedom of reproduction. Nonetheless, with violent, sexual assault, and torture scenes, the series can be highly dramatic and upsetting. 


June and Luke (Credits: The Handmaid’s Tale/Hulu)

When we last saw June Osborne, she and other ex-Handmaids had just killed Fred Waterford in the forested wilderness of No Man’s Land (between Canada and Gilead). When Agent Mark Tuello, Nick, and Joseph Lawrence turned Waterford over to the Handmaids for a touch of vigilante justice, he originally believed he was being extradited back to Gilead to face the fury of other Commanders.

Does the finale season focus on what happened after Fred was killed, but are there any consequences for the crime for June and the other Handmaids? When June gets home to find her husband Luke and her closest friend Moira covered in blood, she appears extremely proud of herself.

Despite their initial shock and apprehension, it eventually becomes apparent that almost everyone kind of admires June for killing Fred. Given that Fred was a wicked bastard who committed some horrific crimes, perhaps he ultimately received what was due to him. If there are any repercussions, they are yet to be determined until June. 

Our Verdict

The show is a marvelous piece of art and is critically acclaimed. The show highlights the plight of women in our society, where they are deprived of basic human rights and amenities. It shows how the women in Gilead do not even have the right over their bodies. Their bodies are primarily used as a means to carry children and nothing else. Once they give birth to a baby, they are then transferred to other Commanders.

Our Rating: ⭐ (4.3/5).

Also read: RuPaul’s Drag Race Season 15 Episode 10 Review: The Queens Served

Written By

Hi, myself Aman Zerak, and I'm from Kolkata, West Bengal. I'm a content writer at OtakuKart. Grabbing every opportunity to learn.

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