Strap your red bonnet on, it's time for season four of The Handmaid's Tale. (Photo: Hulu)

Blessed be the new season of The Handmaid’s Tale

It’s been two years since we said goodbye to June and the gang at the end of the third season of The Handmaid’s Tale. As we prepare for a return to Gilead, Tara Ward takes a look at the hints to be gleaned from the new season trailer.

In the words of Aunt Lydia, we’re “pumped” for the new season of The Handmaid’s Tale. It’s been a long time between dystopias, and two long years have passed since we last saw rebellious handmaid June Osbourne fighting the good fight in Gilead. The award winning series about one woman’s survival in a totalitarian state returns to Neon on April 29, bringing new episodes of dark drama, steely looks and heart-crushing emotion.

Last season ended on one heck of a cliffhanger, with June (Elizabeth Moss) near death after helping 86 Gilead children escape to Canada. She led an underground army of handmaids and Marthas to smuggle out the children on a cargo flight from Gilead to Canada, in an effort to strike where it would hurt Gilead the most: its future. The plane landed safely in Canada, but did the children’s freedom cost June her life?

The show’s latest trailer provides plenty of clues about what might go down this season, and after three seasons of small gains, it looks like it’s finally kicking off. June is fighting back and her allies are uniting to help her, and it seems like she might catch a break and taste freedom. June, safe in Canada? It’s more surprising than the time Aunt Lydia hooned around on her mobility scooter, but I’m here for every anxious second. Freedom is just the beginning, so let’s find out what we can expect from season four of The Handmaid’s Tale.  

June 

We’ve spent months wondering if June would survive being shot, but praise be, the season four trailer shows our heroine roaming around war-torn Gilead, determined to blow the system up from the inside. Having exposed herself as a Mayday resistance leader, June is now a fugitive on the run, but where will she go? Who can she trust?

June is hellbent on revenge, but while all of Gilead searches for her and the other rebel handmaids, we see June claiming asylum on a dock with a Canadian flag flying in the background. Does this mean — deep breath — June escapes Gilead and makes it to safety? What about her daughter Hannah, the reason June stayed in Gilead all this time? If this shot at freedom turns out to be a dream sequence, I think I’ll cry. 

The Waterfords 

Our favourite villains ended last season in the most satisfying way, having been arrested in Canada after mistakenly crossing the border in search of their adopted daughter Nichole. They’re facing years in prison for war crimes — or are they? The trailer shows Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) walking free to the cheers of a rapturous crowd, and later we see Fred studying an ultrasound image of a baby.

Should we expect the pitter-patter of tiny Waterford feet? It’s a terrifying thought, but here’s something even scarier: if the Waterfords return to Gilead and Serena can bear children, will she be forced to become a handmaid after the birth? Gilead is within you, on so many levels.

Don’t cry, Aunt Lydia! Season four is almost here. (Photo: Hulu)

Aunt Lydia

Old mate will be spewing that her precious handmaids went rogue at the end of last season, and she’ll be in for a big telling off from the men in charge. We see a battered and bruised Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd in her Emmy-winning role) in the trailer, and as Gilead falls around her, she’ll no doubt double down on the dystopian oppression to ensure her own survival. Blessed be the fruit, blessed be a vengeful auntie with a cattle prod.

Commander Lawrence

June’s newest Commander lost both his wife and his handmaid at the end of last season, and now he’s got the underground army hiding in his basement. It’s just another day in dystopia for this slippery little sucker, but does Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) suspect June’s role in his wife’s death? Will he use that information against June to protect himself, or will the man who created Gilead be instrumental in its downfall? Probably both, he is nothing if not unpredictable. 

Nick

June’s discovery that her boyfriend Nick (Max Minghella) was an Eye added another messy layer to her complicated trifle of emotions. The new season shows Nick still has strong feelings for the mother of his child, despite Commander Lawrence warning him that “she served her purpose, it’s time to move on”. Whatever happens, Nick is sure to lurk in corners looking melancholy and we will lap it up like the thirsty weirdos we are. Oh Nick, you absolute mood of a man.

Luke, Moira, Rita and Emily 

Just because it’s Canada, doesn’t mean it’s fun. The angst continues for June’s squad in the land of milk and honey, where June’s husband Luke cares for baby Nichole and best friend Moira continues her search for June. Even if June does make it to Canada, how can they be a family again after everything that’s happened, or worse, what if June doesn’t like poutine or ice hockey? Praise be, can’t wait to find out on April 29.

The first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale premiere on Neon on April 29 and weekly on Thursdays thereafter. 




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