‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Should The Show End After Season 3?

The third season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale will be released in just a few days and viewers and critics alike are asking: Will season 3 be more of the same?

'The Handmaid's Tale' | Calla Kessler for The Washington Post via Getty Images
‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Calla Kessler for The Washington Post via Getty Images

In the second season finale, we last see June handing her baby, Nichole, over to Emily, having made the decision to stay in Gilead and fight for Hannah. Whether the decision was realistic or not (one could argue that a mother would never abandon her firstborn; one could also argue that June’s been fighting for a way out since the beginning of the show and it felt unearned–or at least incredibly frustrating–for her to suddenly decide to stay behind), we’re now going to get another season of June trying to break out of Gilead, this time with Hannah. There’s definitely a possibility, with our hero stuck in the same location she’s always been in, that season 3 feels redundant. We’ve been watching June try to break out of Gilead for two seasons. Sure, the viewer gets a nice break from the torment of Gilead with every character flashback (and maybe this season we’ll get a taste of Emily’s new life with baby Nichole). But how much more of our core world can we explore?

June staying in Gilead allows us to explore our favorite character relationships

Viewers were originally drawn to The Handmaid’s Tale for the show’s phenomenal acting, beautiful cinematography, and original Margaret Atwood storyline (finished by the 10th episode). It was a moving experience to watch women react and rise up in a terrifyingly oppressive society, especially today when women’s rights are an often debated topic. But as the show moved away from the book’s ending, what became so fascinating were the character relationships. June and Nick (a beacon of hope); June and Serena (a heartbreaking foil); Emily and Joseph (a new, interesting wildcard); Aunt Lydia and everyone (it’s been confirmed that she survives Emily’s knife attack).

Though the tone may feel familiar, season 3 has the opportunity to really get to the bottom of most of the above-mentioned relationships with the protagonist choosing to stay in Gilead. Though the show’s main backdrop will be more of the same, hopefully, the story will not be. If June has to be in Gilead for another season, we hope she turns the world upside down. We hope she does more than get out with Hannah. More than we want June to escape her hell with her firstborn, we want her to burn everything to the ground on the way out.   

If, by the end of season 3, June and Hannah do not successfully escape, it feels like a sure bet that viewers will lose interest in the world of Gilead. If this season isn’t about tearing the Gilead government apart (perhaps with the help of a few “allies with power” that we’ve gotten to know over the seasons), they may already have.