The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 review: Brilliantly acted fizzled out drama

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 continues June’s struggles outside the confines of Gilead and its efforts to exterminate her following her murder of Commander Waterford.


The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 picks up after the brutal murder of Waterford at the hands of June and other survivors.

June washes her off the blood and a bit of the grief she suffered from the monster that was Waterford, while the dead commander’s widow Serena cries and bemoans the death.

Serena tries to make the most of the opportunity and broadcast to the world a gentler image of Gilead in times of grief.

She plans to continue her work and expand her stature but Gilead commanders send her outside Gilead, to work from outside and better the nation’s image.

Serena gets on working and establishes a fertility centre, in an effort to capitalise on the breeding and birthing aspect of Gilead’s image.

June, meanwhile, burns like a furnace and convulses in her hatred of Serena. She also finds out a group of survivors called Mayday who have set up camp at the border.

Later on, she establishes some contact with Nick, who’s getting closer to Lawrence, becoming his stronger ally, amid other commanders keeping a watch on him.

Meanwhile, Lawrence begins working for his grand New Bethlehem plan and getting other commanders on his side. He offers June to come to the partially independent island too but she refuses.

She has second thoughts, though, but they’re eventually alleviated when Tuello’s marine guys go on a raid at Hannah’s school but are killed mid-flight at the orders of Lawrence.

Meanwhile, Serena is confronted by June who stops in her tracks while going for the kill, seeing how Serena is pregnant and it’d be unfair for the unborn to suffer a tragic fate when he’s done no ill.

Serena’s situation worsens as she finds refuge at the Wheelers’ mansion, and they’re very interested in her baby, not her. Serena would soon come to see herself leading a life like a handmaid in the mansion.

She escapes, and mid-way through her escapade, she delivers the baby, with the help of none other than June. Serena is again thrown into her previous situation as she finds herself back at the Wheelers’ mansion.

She relents and escapes again. Meanwhile, Gilead increases its efforts at targeting June’s life. She decides to escape the county amid increasing anti-refugee sentiments.

Luke, June, and Nicole depart for a new refuge but Luke is soon brought to the realisation that he must separate to let June and Nicole get to safety.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 ends with June getting on a train with Nicole, finding out that Serena has also boarded it with her son; Rose calling it quits with Nick; Luke giving himself up to the police to save June; Lawrence continuing to amass power and influence.


Elisabeth Moss and Yvonne Strahovski are revelations once again in how they display their emotions so fiercely on the screen.

The supporting cast as well as actors in small roles like McKenna Grace as Esther are absolutely brilliant.


The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 is a 10-episode run rife with exceptional acting. The show’s reputation precedes it in terms of the acting prowess it champions and thrives on.

The show shines in moments where the misogyny and elements of patriarchy are depicted in subtle expressions and interactions, reminding all that the said societal failures are rampant and rife in all capacities and walks of life.


However, acting is just about the best, and the only good part about this fifth instalment of a drama that has kind of fizzled out by now.

The recurring rut of the same grievances and tragedies until the loop has wrapped itself around numerous times is almost unbearable now.

A story like this doesn’t require five seasons of one-hour-long episodes to effectively convey the suffering of living in a misogynistic, patriarchal society.

After a point, the repetition of women’s suffering amidst heightened drama becomes an explicit way of capitalising on said tropes or baiting the awards.


The Handmaid’s Tale season 5 mostly acts as a set-up for a meatier and more worthwhile The Handmaid’s Tale season 6.

While some build-ups and developments impart crucial kinetic pace to the story, it’s in trickles and season 5 at the end covers little and sets up a lot for the series’ final instalment.

The Handmaid's Tale season 5
The Handmaid's Tale season 5 review: Brilliantly acted fizzled out drama 1

Director: Elisabeth Moss, Dana Gonzales, Eva Vives, Natalia Leite, Bradley Whitford

Date Created: 2022-11-09 10:30

Editor's Rating:

Also read: Commander Lawrence’s New Bethlehem plan explained

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