The Handmaid’s Tale: 4.10 “The Wilderness” (SEASON 4 FINALE)| The Blood Of The Wicked


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Let’s chat The Handmaid’s Tale season 4 finale episode 4.10 – “The Wilderness”. Just when I thought this show couldn’t get any dumber it does this….and COMPLETELY REDEEMS ITSELF.

Yes. Yes. Yes.

Finally.

THIS is what I want from The Handmaid’s Tale – personal stakes, rhyming, and good ol’ fashioned revenge.

Once again, this was a live picture of me seeing the finger and ring drop out of the mail for Serena:

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Are all the political mechanics the show must use to put Fred Waterford in such a precarious position a little hard to accept? Absolutely. But this show has made no effort to hide it’s disregard for the complicated formalities of the political bureaucracy since day one. In other words, when it comes to political red-tape, or communicating a clear theme, this show has one thought process in mind: stats are for nerds.

After years of feeling like THT was going down the road of The Hunger Games, Bruce Miller finally dialed back on his rage-against-the-machine. Instead, after largely spinning wheels in season three, this season ends on a note of personal catharsis and glorious ambiguity.

“Just give me five minutes with her”, June says to a clearly overwhelmed Luke, “and I’ll go.”

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“I’ll go”? Where the hell is June going to go? Are she and Luke done-zo? What does this mean for June’s relationship to Moira and Emily? Does June go back to Gilead? Is she going back to Chicago? Is she going to get Hannah? Is she going to rescue Janine? How’s she going to get there? What about Nick? Is June leaving Luke for Nick now? I’ve got forty million questions running through my brain, and I’ve never felt so good about it.

Here’s the thing though, I’m getting a very distinct feeling from the end of this episode:

 

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Honestly though, despite the obvious excuse to use the gif above, where else does this show go from here? With Fred dead, the hope of Canada now a fleeting bit of glory, June’s relationship with Luke all but cooked like a bad batch of Canadian Bacon, and June still on the hunt for Hannah, where else does this show go?

It either rescues Hannah or it doesn’t. June either ends up with Luke, or she doesn’t. But, granted, that doesn’t feel like the real outcome here since they haven’t been comfortable with each other since the jump. June ends up with Nick, or she doesn’t – but, how can that be possible if Nick is already married. Perhaps Nick and June run off together outside the boundaries of Gilead, but when then introduce the notion of his new marriage? As for the big picture, Gilead either exists, or it doesn’t. But even though June is clearly a powerful motivated woman, I don’t think her character is single handedly taking down the world’s most powerful nation. She’s no Katniss.

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What she can do though, is take down Fred.

Frankly, this is the best choice the show has made in a while. The constant back and forth between he and June, or he and Serena grew tiresome and boring. Miller and co., finally injected some life back into his character by Serena being pregnant, and having them finally join up as a team to combat the Canadian justice system. Though, even that partnership was tenuous at best because Serena wouldn’t give him a hug, let alone barley commit to a friendly Zoom call.


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Poetic justice is best served cold, and it is very cold in the nebulous woods of no man’s land. It just so happens that this dish comes with two delectable sides of a whistle or a gun. Of course, in his arrogance, Fred chooses the exact WRONG option with the whistle and he suffers the same fate as all the Handmaids and Marthas he put on the wall. “I’m a man!”Fred screams as he’s being put in the van right before he’s brutally murdered, ” and I have rights!”

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Here’s the big question after all this – has June finally broke bad? Is she a redeemable character? Has she crossed the line the same way she did when she waited for the world’s most handsome secret agent in front of his house? Sure she had Mrs. Keyes murder that guardian who randomly stepped on her property, and yes, June has killed people before. Fred’s murder, however, this feels different. It’s premeditated and it serves no purpose other than revenge. Sweet revenge to be sure. But, revenge nonetheless.

I know it’s easy to be happy Fred got what he deserved. Trust me, I wanted him to get it in the worst way. Seeing him have to run in the woods for his life, and lose the chance to see his child be born was so satisfying. A concern I have for June, however, is I wonder if there is a line she cannot cross before she loses our support as an audience? That sweet revenge was rewarding, but on a character level, a price has to be paid. Maybe that price is losing her relationship with Luke, or giving up her rights to Nichole. Those options, though, just don’t feel heavy enough.

Commander Lawrence wisely says to June, “whatever happens to [Waterford] before you get him, it won’t be enough.” Fred’s murder certainly won’t be enough for a now bloodthirsty June, but I also wonder if whatever happens to June from here on out won’t be enough for us as viewers either. June is a woman who can’t rely on anyone but herself to get the job she needs done, and the situation with Fred proves that to a tee. She’s eventually going to have to cross a line that makes her irredeemable, because that will be required of her, and she may have to give her life in order to do it.

In other words, I don’t see this ending well for poor June, and she may end up deserving it.

Ultimately, this finale, and this season, feel like a welcome step forward for a show that somewhat lost its way last season. It was thematically driven, character centric, the righteous rejoiced in vengeance and washed their feet in the blood of the wicked.

Until next season ladies and gents: “nolite te bastardes carborundorum”

SEE ALL OF OUR COVERAGE OF THE HANDMAID’S TALE HERE

 

The Handmaid’s Tale: Episode 4.10 – The Wilderness FINALE | Review And Analysis

 

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