‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Coasts Too Slow and Runs Too Fast in the Uneven but Exciting “Liars”

/Film | 7/31/2019 | Caroline Cao
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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Coasts Too Slow and Runs Too Fast in the Uneven but Exciting “Liars”

The Handmaid’s Tale is rolling the dice toward its finale with one of its uneven, but serviceably suspenseful, episodes. “Liars” runs too fast, stops, then pants, then runs too fast toward the horizon. This episode both accelerates and coasts toward its season finale with “what comes around, goes around” vibes.

June - Elisabeth - Moss - Children - Safety

June (Elisabeth Moss) must transport 52 children to the safety of Canada, but it will take more than trucks to smuggle children out of Gilead. Meanwhile, the Waterfords (Joseph Fiennes and Yvonne Strahovski) take matters into their own hands to retrieve baby Nichole from Canada.

It’s shaky ground to humanize architects of the totalitarian Gilead: a rapist Commander and his rape-condoning (and instigating) Wife. Their moments of humanity are disconcerting and it can be easy to pity the humanity buried beneath their pitiless dogmas.

Serena - Insistence - Waterfords - Rouge - Road

At Serena’s insistence, the Waterfords have gone rouge to go on a road trip to meet with Mark Tuello (Sam Jaeger). Those sequences are almost idyllic with a touch of dissonance, much like their waltz back in “Under His Eye,” where their personal serenity contrasts with their inhuman deeds on the world.

Fred permits Serena Joy to drive in the privacy of the sparse countryside. While this season has seen him repairing his relationship with her, it’s a bit unbelievable that he is amiably acquiescing to his Wife’s request considering his guardedness over his power. The privacy in the countryside does allow them to unravel from their Gilead shells. Here, Fred is not a patronizing Commander and has a sensible dialogue with Serena. Fred admits to his shortcomings as a husband, his insecurities about his virility, and fathoms what-could-have-beens. They reckon with how their desired utopia of Gilead degraded their marriage. Even for a...
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