Expectations vs. Reality of Handmaid’s Tale Season Four


Nicole Markus, Editor-in-Chief

SPOILER ALERT: This story contains potentially spoiling information for The Handmaid’s Tale. If you are not up to date, you might want to finish the show first and then come back.


Season three of The Handmaid’s Tale ended on one of the most suspenseful points of the show thus far: June, the show’s protagonist, had been shot and severely injured. While her angel flight, her most ambitious rebellion against Gilead (the dystopian country she lives in), succeeded, the future seemed bleak for June and the other remaining handmaids who did not manage to secure a seat on the plane. 

With this suspenseful and exciting ending, I had high hopes for season four. I wondered how the handmaids and June would escape from their rather precarious place, and imagined a potential uprising all across Gilead. Ahead of its release, I predicted season four as an exciting and overwhelming roller coaster filled with unique plot lines.


I have enjoyed season four so far, I will say that. However, it has not had the same flair that I feel the first three seasons had. With the death of the majority of the remaining handmaids who traveled with June, the shift in scenery to Chicago and shift in June’s character, this season just does not stack up with the rest. 

The most jarring change in season four is June’s character shift to someone who just seems coldhearted towards everyone except for her daughter Hannah. Though her change is likely justified as she has experienced many traumatic events, it does not sit right with me that season four portrays June as a monster who wants as much violence as possible inflicted. Throughout the first three seasons, June (though fast acting and a tad irrational at times) generally cares for the people around her. It seems now, though, that she views others as expendable and is more worried about killing soldiers than freeing the country from the oppressive Gilead. 

June and Janine’s travel to Chicago also seems bleak. They have (or though it seems) no chance of escape, and Janine is thoroughly concerned at the possibility of dying there. June does not seem to care, reinforcing the idea that she has gone to a point of no return.

The death of the remaining handmaids also seems unnecessary to the plotline. Separating them would be one thing, but the violent nature of their death only further portrayed June in a negative light and eliminated another potential plot line for the producers to develop later in the show.

After this week’s episode, I am excited to see the route the show’s developers take with June’s escape to Canada. There are a ton of creative outlets the show can go to and I only hope that they choose one that elevates the show to its full potential.