The season 3 finale left June Osborne in a dire state (Picture: Jasper Savage/Hulu)
In The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 episode 1, UK viewers learn even more about the devastating horrors of Gilead as June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) faces an agonising fight to stay alive.
The Handmaid’s Tale, based on the novel of the same name by Margaret Atwood, is a dystopian tale set in a world where those in power force some women to become Handmaids, whose role it is to bear children for the elite, following declining fertility rates.
At the end of season three, June and a network of other Handmaids and Marthas successfully manage to help a plane full of children fly out of Gilead – formerly the US – into safety in Canada, where June’s husband Luke Bankole (O-T Fagbenle) is desperately hoping to be reunited with his wife and their daughter, Hannah (Jordana Blake).
At the last minute, June and the other Handmaids stay behind to cause a diversion, with June getting into an altercation with a soldier that leaves her critically shot and the soldier dead.
The final episode ends with the other Handmaids picking June up and carrying her away, although where they could possibly hide in Gilead without being found and punished in the harshest possible way is something that viewers will surely be wondering as season four launches on Channel 4 in the UK.
The new season premiere starts exactly where the finale left off, as the Handmaids strive to save the life of an utterly helpless June.
What will June’s next move be? (Picture: Jasper Savage/MGM/Hulu/Kobal)
While June may have been the instigator for much of the action so far, now she has to relinquish control and let others look after her, providing the other Handmaids, particularly Janine (Madeline Brewer), with a chance to show that they can command life-or-death situations without her leadership if needs be.
It should come as no surprise that Elisabeth continues to be a powerhouse as June, demonstrating her inimitable strength effortlessly while also highlighting the character’s vulnerability as she grapples with the impact of her injury.
While her commitment to the resistance in Gilead may seem to falter in light of her personal setback, it’s apparent that the fire is still within her waiting to be unleashed.
The season premiere introduces a standout new character: Mrs Esther Keyes (Mckenna Grace), a teenage wife of a Commander who wishes to fight on the same side of the Handmaids.
Those watching may recognise Mckenna from her previous roles in films and TV shows including I, Tonya, Captain Marvel and Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.
But while the 14-year-old actor may be best-known for playing the younger versions of other lead characters, in The Handmaid’s Tale, she immediately establishes herself as a force to be reckoned with, playing the part of an individual who has the potential to shake up the core of Gilead from within.
Her arrival also highlights the abhorrent cruelty of Gilead to a greater degree, as viewers learn even more about what goes on behind closed doors in the totalitarian state.
By the beginning of season four, Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski) – June’s former captors – are being held in Canada, having been arrested on Canadian soil for the crimes they committed in Gilead.
Their fate remains a big question mark, as the couple wage war with each other in addition to contesting their imprisonment.
Verdict: The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 episode 1
Just as it has done since it first premiered in 2017, The Handmaid’s Tale continues to deliver gripping scenes that make one wonder how quickly society could turn on its head in the real world.
In season four episode one, June’s fate may be at its most uncertain yet, with no clear way out.
Nonetheless, viewers can see the cogs turning in her head as she prepares to make her next move, ready to do what she can to bring Gilead to its knees.
The Handmaid’s Tale season four premieres on Sunday June 20 at 9pm on Channel 4.
Credit: Original article published here.