“The Handmaid’s Tale” would appear to be returning at an auspicious time, as the overturning of Roe v. Wade has thrust Margaret Atwood’s dystopian vision into the spotlight. But the arc of this fifth season is ill-suited to the moment, more narrowly focused on the bond of hatred between June and Serena, at the expense of almost everything else.
The brutal, cathartic fate of Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), as orchestrated by June (Elisabeth Moss) at the close of the fourth season, left its mark on Serena (Yvonne Strahovski), his widow and partner in the crimes of Gilead.
Yet even in a patriarchal society, Serena is not without the political skills of a survivor. And while she escaped Gilead, June remains unable to let go of her simmering anger (nobody does stares of intense rage like Moss), drawing her back again and again.
While shedding old grievances would surely be the practical move, that’s simply not in her, much to the chagrin of her husband, Luke (O-T Fagbenle). The season thus becomes a sort of prolonged battle of titans, even with the characters separated, offering splendid showcases for Moss and Strahovski as well as an extended rumination on the sacrifices associated with motherhood.
With Moss again wearing multiple hats as star, producer and occasional director, “Handmaid’s Tale” seldom fails to deliver stark or shocking moments. At the same time, the latest season (based on watching eight of its 10 episodes) feels even more guilty of indulging in chapters that play like filler and at best inch the story forward.
Having announced that the sixth season will be the last, the series should benefit from the opportunity to build toward an end game, one that almost nobody could accuse of being premature.
The macro story does explore the relationship of Gilead to the larger world, and uncomfortable questions about what its neighbors will tolerate in the pragmatic pursuit of political accommodation. There are also other less-developed subplots, among them Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), and what the burdens of a conscience might look like; Nick (Max Minghella), still pining for June as he seeks to chart his own path; and Bradley Whitford’s Commander Lawrence, whose belief in the goal of quietly reforming Gilead from within has become a central tension on that larger level.
Fundamentally, though, “The Handmaid’s Tale” has labored to match the searing urgency and striking imagery (all those crimson cloaks, which even showed up at a Supreme Court protest) that made its Emmy-winning first season memorable in a way that practically leapt off the screen.
The Hulu series obviously hasn’t lost any of its relevance, and indeed, some of its themes resonate in a more pointed manner. Yet while this season continues the grinding march toward the end of June’s story, it reinforces a sense that despite the promise of a conclusion that lies ahead, the show’s best days are behind it.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” begins its fifth season September 14 on Hulu.
What’s The Deal With Nick’s Wife In The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5? She’s Rapidly Becoming The Show’s Best New Character
In the midst of the streaming wars, Hulu has had a few megahits– including the dystopian series The Handmaid’s Tale. The former Emmy Award favorite recently debuted its first two episodes of Season 5 , bringing audiences back to Gilead for more intense drama. While fans will be glad to catch up with fan-favorite characters (just not Alexis Bledel’s Emily), we’re also meeting a few newcomers. Nick’s Wife Rose is rapidly becoming the show’s best new character for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5, but her first scene begs the question: what is her deal?
Throughout Season 4 it was hinted that Max Minghella’s Nick was getting married again, especially since he’d been promoted to the rank of Gilead Commander. The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 premiere episode “Morning” confirmed this, and introduced Rose Blaine played by actress Carey Cox. While she first appears to be a typical Gilead wife, her first scene with Nick seemingly reveals an intriguing twist: he’s been honest with her and she knows all about June.
Rose Blaine appears early in the Season 5 premiere of The Handmaid’s Tale, which picks up shortly after the wild and violent events of the Season 4 finale. When Nick returns home his new wife offers to make him coffee, and they greet each other with typical Gilead language. But then things get more intriguing, as she asks her husband if he saw June. Furthermore, she asks if she “did what she needed to” aka killing Joseph Fiennes’ Commander Waterford in No Man’s Land. She even utters June’s name, revealing just how much she and Nick have shared in their marriage. But conversely, she says she’ll pray for the former Handmaid.
This quick scene was dizzying, as it appears that Nick’s wife Rose know all about his affair with June, as well as the murder of Waterford. Is she a member of Mayday, or is she simply able to make an exception when it comes to her husband? All that remains to be seen, which is why I need more of Carey Cox’s new character ASAP. Unfortunately, she was noticeably absent from Episode 2 of the new season.
For her part, Carey Cox seems thrilled to be joining The Handmaid’s Tale in Season 5. She posted on Instagram after debuting in the premiere, thanking star/director Elisabeth Moss and others for welcoming her to Gilead with open arms. The actress’ role is also an exciting step forward in regards to onscreen representation, as she’s openly living with Ehlers Danlos, calling herself a “Ehlers Danlos babe” on her Instagram description.
Of course, hardcore Handmaid’s Tale fans will recall that this isn’t the first time Nick has been married in Gilead. We saw this happen for the first time back in Season 2, when he was still working for the Waterfords. His wife was a young girl named Eden, played by Euphoria actress Sydney Sweeney. Unfortunately, she met a grisly end after falling in love with a guard.
Hopefully Carey Cox’s Rose returns to The Handmaid’s Tale Season 5 (which was revealed to be its penultimate season) sooner rather than later, and we learn more about her history and motivation. With Gilead seemingly making a national incident out of Fred’s death, she might be privy to some very valuable information about his murder. Does she also know about Hannah, who is seemingly becoming a larger role in the new season? Only time will tell.
Which “Handmaid’s Tale” character are you based on your zodiac sign?
Blessed be the fruit and the return of the captivating, oft traumatizing, frighteningly akin to current political conditions world of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
Based on Margaret Atwoods’s 1985 dystopian novel of the same name, “The Handmaid’s Tale” made its television debut, complete with state sanctioned rape ceremonies and red capes, in 2017.
In the years and seasons that have followed we’ve watched the s(hero)’s journey of renegade handmaid June Osbourne, played unflinchingly by Elizabeth Moss as she tries to secure the safety of her children while fighting like hell to destroy the totalitarian, zealot led horror show that is Gilead.
Margaret Atwood, herself a Scorpio queen and practicing palmist, has long praised the virtues of astrology. In celebration of her literary legacy and the return of the series for Season 5 on September 14, 2022 that continues to uphold said legacy, we’re taking a look at the zodiac signs of the major characters of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
ARIES (March 21 – April 19)
Brave, brazen and quick to both action and reaction, Moira is Aries energy incarnate. Built to bite back, Moira goes to great and dangerous lengths to escape Gilead and when she finally makes it to Canada, she continues the fight to free others. Moira organizes, protests, volunteers and ultimately smuggles a traumatized June aboard an aid ship to get her to safety. Moira is pure fire, a hero without hesitation, a rebel with a noble cause and precisely the kind of all heart, no bull***t friend you want on your side.
TAURUS (April 20 – May 20)
Taurus rules the throat and is the domain of Venus, making bulls natural gourmands and more than a hint hedonistic. In kind, Beth, now a Martha, was a James Beard Award winning chef prior to her subjugation and is prone to kitchen flings with Nick and trafficking booze. Bulls are loyal to an almost self destructive degree and defiant in the face of authority. True to the ethos of her earth sign, Beth chose death over betraying her fellow handmaid’s.
GEMINI (May 21 – June 20)
Gemini is the sign that oversees communication and language. Fittingly, before Gilead, Fred was the manager of a marketing company and when he’s not raping handmaid’s and maiming his wife he enjoys the word game Scrabble. Intelligent, erratic, charming, adaptable and devastating with a one liner, Fred embodies and vilifies the qualities of Gemini.
CANCER (June 21 – July 22)
Cancers are often stereotyped as soft, sensitive and somewhat emotionally squishy but trust me fam, when they are threatened they contort into a volatile mix of rage and ruthlessness. They they never, ever allow themselves to be hurt in the same way twice. Sacrificial at several points, what harms June eventually becomes what arms her. Cancer is ruled by the moon and associated with maternal instincts and June is the fierce, flawed embodiment of the mother archetype. Everything she does is to ensure the safety of her children, even betraying the resistance and her fellow handmaid’s when the life of her daughter Hannah is threatened. June is brought to life to devastating and Emmy winning effect by Elizabeth Moss, herself a Cancer.
LEO (July 23 – August 22)
Leo is the most regal sign in the zodiac and Serena Joy is nothing if not a wicked queen. Denounced by June as, “pathological, sociopathic, deceitful, rage-filled, angry, needy, disillusioned, self-serving, manipulative and the most compliant actress,” SJ expresses the damnable and dangerous qualities of this fixed fire sign. Yet, Serena shows us she is also capable of expressing some of the charms of her sun sign. Leo rules the fifth house of creativity and the inner child and though her books are filled to the brim and bindings with misogynistic hate speech, Serena was an author before she was a monster. Further, she proves herself capable of mercy, warmth and generosity and is at her best when in the company of or charged to care for, children.
VIRGO (August 23 – September 22)
Ruled by Mercury, Virgos often possess brilliant minds and nurse a need to be of service. Enter Emily, a gifted Harvard educated microbiologist and college professor turned handmaid at the hands of the state. Virgos keep up the appearance of poise even and especially when they are breaking down or breaking rules. Indeed, upon first meeting Emily, Joan describes her as, “a pious little shit with a broomstick up her a***,” but it’s later revealed that Emily is much, much more than meets the eye. Not only does she work for Mayday, she risked death for human touch by having an affair with a Martha and doesn’t hesitate to kill when given the chance, all in keeping with her membership as the most dangerous sign in the zodiac.
LIBRA (September 23 – October 22)
While his birthday in the show is given as April 29, 1980, I hedge my bets that Luke has a few serious Libra placements. Ruled by Venus, planet of beauty and attachment this sign is adept at creating beautiful spaces and is often willing to deceive in order to get what they want without disrupting the peace. We see both of these tendencies expressed in Luke, who prior to the rise of Gilead, worked for the Office of Urban Planning and initially refused to tell his wife about his clandestine affair with June. Libras are averse to conflict and violence and Luke is uneasy about the prospect of learning to shoot a gun in season one and continues to be less hell raising and action oriented than his wife.. Romantic, warm, well meaning but somewhat inert, Luke is ill equipped to handle the destabilizing aftermath of June’s trauma.
SCORPIO (October 23 – November 21)
Cunning, mysterious and able to operate within the system of Gilead while simultaneously aiding efforts to undermine it, Nick is a classic Scorpio. Galvanized by the suicide of a handmaid, Nick joins ‘the eyes’ not to support them but to watch them. Scorpio rules the eighth house of sex, death and regeneration and no one understands the curative properties of revenge and retribution quite like a scorpion. As such, it is Nick who is able to give June the gift of her vengeance, sealed with a kiss, by handing over Commander Waterford to her in the season 4 finale.
SAGITTARIUS (November 22 – December 21)
Optimistic to the hilt, and rebellious to the last, Jeanine is a fearless, obscenity shouting, Sagittarius. Synonymous with swashbuckling adventure, Sag is the sign of the pirate and with an eyepatch and penchant for speaking her mind to grave consequence, Jeanine fits the bill. Archers prioritize freedom above all else and Jeanine was ready to choose death over subjugation in season one. Suicide attempt not withstanding, the beauty and great boon of Sag energy is its unfailing buoyancy – no matter how rough the going gets, a Sagittarius is bolstered by the belief that things are bound to improve and Jeanine proves this to be true at every terrible turn. Sagittarius is associated with moral idealism and philosophy and Jeanine functions like June’s unexpected moral compass, reminding her to act humanely and in accordance with her highest self.
CAPRICORN (December 22 – January 19)
Ruled by strict planet Saturn, Capricorn is the daddy of the zodiac and no one deals darker in discipline and toxic paternalism than Aunt Lydia. What makes AL a truly dynamic sadist is her unwavering belief that she is operating from a place of care and concern. Capricorns are all about the long game and the legacy they leave and Lydia’s perverted approach to parenting is, in her mind, a way to secure the good of the world and the immortal souls of the handmaid’s in her charge. She’s doing it because she cares.
AQUARIUS (January 20 – February 18)
Aquarius is the inventive nonconformist of the zodiac and our man Lawerence neither dresses, behaves nor believes like anyone else “under his eye.” An academic who is hailed by Fred as “a visionary,” Lawrence speaks with subversive humor and is credited with writing the books and the economic plans that became the scaffolding for the hell scape that is Gilead. Aquarius is ruled by Saturn, planet of structure, and Uranus, planet of disruption. We see these influences expressed in Lawrence who, ashamed of the role he has played in the development of Gilead, uses his knowledge and power to help the resistance dismantle it.
PISCES (February 19 – March 20)
Pisces is the die hard romantic and perennial escape artist of the zodiac. Taking June’s advice to “find love wherever you can” to great lengths and positively Piscean depths, child bride Eden reacts to Nick’s aloofness by taking up with a watcher and attempting to flee Gilead with him. Captured and sentenced to death, Eden is offered a chance of salvation but like a true Pisces poet she refuses to live if her lover dies and apropos of her water sign, drowns after reciting Corinthians 13:4-8. There’s strong evidence to suggest that Jesus Christ was a Pisces and while Eden’s sacrifice did not incite a religious movement, she was in her way, a martyr for love and her choice has a lasting impact on Serena Joy.