The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 review – praise be, this continues to amaze

September 8, 2022
Adam Lock 2
Hulu, Streaming Service, TV Reviews
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The hit series returns for a fifth outing, which is just as good as it has ever been. The filmmaking is flawless in every department, producing top-quality performances and some impressive world-building, while the emotive battle between June and Serena makes for gripping TV.

This review of the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 does not contain any major spoilers.

TV shows normally fall apart as soon as they divert from their source material, but The Handmaid’s Tale seems to be the exception to this trend, creating fascinating storylines that continue to build upon the original season, which focused squarely on the 1985 novel of the same name. The novel’s author Margaret Atwood is even on hand as a consulting producer to keep the show’s top-quality authenticity as we delve into the fifth season.

And this is a series that has consistently crafted a realistic, lived-in world for viewers to fully immerse themselves in over the years. One that feels believable, and let’s be honest here, scarily plausible.

So, where do we find June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) in the fifth season’s premiere? Well, the rebellious heroine has just killed her tormentor, Fred Waterford, who was one of Gilead’s founding fathers and a villain of the highest caliber. She returns to her new home in Canada, where she is greeted by her husband Luke, baby Nicole and best friend Moira, with Fred’s blood still evident all over her skin.

In a daze, she just lets the dried blood stay there, plastered across her body and clothes, as she goes about her business. The aftermath of her murderous actions weigh heavily on her mind and she struggles with a debilitating case of untreated PTSD. Next, she sets her sights on her next nemesis, Fred’s wife, Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski).

Serena is currently mourning the death of her husband whilst pregnant with his baby, and all the while, attempting to secure her safe release from political imprisonment. She’s a calculated and manipulative foe, who wants her own bloody revenge.

Season five focuses mainly on the long-distance war between these two formidable women. June versus Serena – it is sure to be one hell of a showdown. June has an unparalleled legacy behind her, symbolizing hope in a dystopian world, yet Serena has the mite of the Gilead army on her side. Both enemies hit each other where it hurts, whilst the High Commanders fear for their own lives now Fred is gone. June has clearly hit a nerve and needs to be stopped at all costs.

The series flits back and forth between Serena’s political scheming and June’s gutsy, brazen attacks. There is also time to explore those much-loved handmaids that have been left behind in dear, old Gilead. Aunt Lydia is back and we find the religious nut mentoring the downtrodden Janine (Madeline Brewer) and her new friend, the rebellious teenager Esther (Mckenna Grace), making sure they are ready for their next assignment.

This subplot works as a stark reminder that there are still people out there suffering in this war-torn nation. The Commanders are as creepy as ever and Janine’s own storyline will really pull at your heartstrings this season.

The Handmaid’s Tale is as raw and ruthless as ever, yet it also produces some spine-tingling moments of realization and an emotional depth that grips you, never letting go.

The series is expertly directed, with Elisabeth Moss leading by example with the opening two instalments. The writing is subtle and smart, aimed to hit you in the gut. These are characters that we have emotionally invested in over the years and can’t help but care about. The creators capitalize on this, yet it never feels manipulative or trite. This is top-notch filmmaking that somehow still feels fresh and timely after all these years.

What did you think of the Hulu series The Handmaid’s Tale season 5? Comment below.

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2 thoughts on “The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 review – praise be, this continues to amaze

  • September 10, 2022 at 5:15 pm

    Watched first two episodes of season 5 … Was a bit bored by the “recap” was hoping this would just dive into a continuation of season 4 … I didn’t want to watch reruns. Hopefully it gets better. Loved the first 4 seasons.

  • September 15, 2022 at 8:45 am

    Just watched the first 2 episodes of season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale. This season, from these first two episodes, has come out of the gate not disappointing. The simmering tension between June and Serena Joy is now coming to a boil and you just are glued to the screen with bated breath. I asked myself at the end of the 2nd episode, “I wonder how in the world this will end?” The Handmaid’s Tale is one of the most gripping television shows I’ve seen in years and I am thoroughly enjoying the fact that I have no idea how this will end, and just enjoying the ride.

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