The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 10 Review: Night

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For everybody who was clamoring for the dismal continuation of the story, you're out of luck.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 10 set a new course for the women of Gilead, at least those who have the heart to stand up against tyranny.

And while the deviation is new and different, Gilead was never expected to last forever, as Margaret Atwood demolished the place in the epilogue of the book. She set up an awesomely wicked world for a TV series, don't you think?

A Difficult Decision - The Handmaid's Tale

We've spent decades analyzing the world Atwood created, and with the wonders of TV, we'll get to dig deeper into it than ever before. That doesn't negate the work she created but gives us an opportunity to see how others perceived it and to continue its exploration.

Never does ten episodes feel shorter than coming to the end of source material and discovering how exciting the new roads ahead.

If I knew what awaited me when The Leftovers Season 2 began, the wait would have been unbearable. "Night" set up The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 as something that might be exceptional.

As tremendous as the journey began, I don't expect less but claiming so beforehand would be getting ahead of ourselves. 

June's pregnancy was a delightful surprise. Not only did it bring her and Nick closer with barely any time needed during the hour to do it, but it guarantees the Waterfords will be a part of Season 2 even as June was carted away from the sad couple as they looked on, stunned.

Unhappy - The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 10

June's pregnancy may or may not have anything to do with them, of course. We know June's sex life was punctuated with a lot more activity with Nick than with Fred. The amount of sex has nothing to do with how someone gets pregnant, but stress can be a hindrance.

Even so, it's unlikely the Waterfords will let their only chance, at the moment, at least, to start a family slip through their fingers so easily. 

They wobble back and forth between liking, tolerating and despising June, and what Serena Joy did to get back at June for having an affair with her husband and being so cruel as to have the ability to get pregnant in the first place was worthy of every curse June slung her way.

Serena Joy remains one of the most difficult characters to understand. 

Serena Joy: I forget. How many tiles do you pick to start?
Fred: Seven.
Serena Joy: Do you want to play?
Fred: Love to, but I have work to do. In any case, you know the law.
Serena Joy: Yes, I do. I helped write it.

She is at the very heart of Gilead, so it's her fault, but she's not a part of it any longer and is shut out of the world because of the very laws she wrote. How do you connect with a woman who is so evil, but who you also understand on other levels? 

Does anyone else want to connect with her, but also worry that doing so makes them just as awful as she is? 

A Confrontation - The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 10

I'm surprised (and pleased) Serena Joy missed June hiding the package in the bathroom. The package was the connective tissue between June's story and Moira's.

It's hard to believe something as innocuous as letters would become black market material, but June discovered what she was transporting when she peered inside the wrapping to find hundreds of letters from women just like her.

They were describing who they were, are now and wanted to be again, begging for help and release from the tragedy that is Gilead. They must make it through to Canada, because only living refugees probably wouldn't make as much of an impact to get the amazing program in place.

Moira: Hey.
Luke: Hey.
Moira: How, how are you here?
Luke: They called me when you're name came up and you're on my list.
Moira: List? List of family?
Luke: Yeah, yeah, of course. [Moira jumps into his arms, sobbing.]

Did anyone ever expect Moira to be speechless? The possibilities of Moira and Luke for Season 2 are fascinating. Hopefully, we'll see more of the refugee program and what it means that they could be moved to other countries.

We still don't know much about what became of all the land of the United States, and there is a lot of it. It didn't go to waste, that's for sure. Maybe there are more countries throughout.

And if the Canadian refugee packet was supposed to be a dig at the US for NOT having a similar packet for all incoming undocumented non-citizens to our country in its current state, please say it ain't so.

I can only say that the numbers of undocumented workers outweighs the volume of Handmaids zigzagging across a frozen field into Canada by millions. But if it's waiting, I've always wanted to live in Canada, and maybe I can be considered a refugee. Just sayin'.

We also witnessed first (left) hand what can happen to a Commander who gets caught with his hand in the bush, so to speak. 

Fred was almost in hot water over how he wanted to brush off Commander Putnam's affair with Janine. Mrs. Putnam came to her senses and asked for the harshest punishment available for her husband (a woman scorned and all that), leaving the man losing a good portion of his left arm.

I hope Putnam writes with his left hand or else it wasn't much of a punishment. Not in contrast to Janine. 

Thinking Deeply - The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 10

Janine's turn in the Handmaid's circle was particularly upsetting because of her childlike qualities. She knows what is happening to her, but expresses herself sweetly and always concerned about her friends. It's horrific to watch.

Janine walks into the circle saying "hi" and even asking the group not to throw too hard. When Ofglen, of all people, refuses to cast a stone upon Janine and is battered at Janine's feet, Janine leans into her, asking if she's OK. Her sincerity isn't even in question.

The whole time Aunt Lydia is demanding the Handmaids punish Janine, she's also wiping tears from her face, sending a contradictory message that didn't escape June.

Suddenly, the "I'm sorry, Aunt Lydia" they learned was the humbling way to speak at the Red Center took on a distinctly different meaning, and they all used it accordingly.

Elisabeth Moss and Anne Dowd once again demanded attention with their performances as June and Aunt Lydia, their emotions playing across their faces without the needs for words. 

With a solid cast in place for the sophomore season and the world opening with possibilities in Canada and within the ranks of the Eyes, as well as the increasing roles for those whose sympathies are leaning toward freeing the souls in Gilead, The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 should be stunning.

The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 took a well-known concept, drew it out and expanded the world, bringing to life characters we only imagined. Now we get to find out how Gilead will fall and see those we already love become heroes.

What did you think of the finale? What are your hopes for Season 2? Hit the comments!

Night Review

Editor Rating: 5.0 / 5.0
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User Rating:

Rating: 5.0 / 5.0 (13 Votes)

Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer for TV Fanatic. Follow her on Twitter.

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The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 10 Quotes

It's their own fault. They should have never given us uniforms if they didn't want us to be an army.

June

Single line please. Boy. Look at these outfits. Parade of sluts! Take your hands out of your pocket. Did I say 'run,' you in the vest? Semi-circle! Equi-distant! Hands clasped, eyes down, girls.

Aunt Lydia