Whispers In The Light
We return to Handmaid’s Tale with a much more methodical pace this time and a return to the same stylistic ticks that made the first two seasons so intriguing. The third episode of Handmaid’s Tale is a beautifully directed one too, with a shifting focus between Serena and June throughout depicting just how far these two characters have come, as well as a teasing look at their entwined futures together.
We begin with June realizing she needs allies with power. After being hustled off the streets by armed guards, she returns back to her new home with the unpredictable Commander Lawrence. He does his best to get under her skin, making her question her own judgment around opening the front door. Still stewing over his venomous words, Commander Waterford shows up along with a number of other Commanders and he reconvenes with June in the empty dining room.
After a relatively cold reception, June thanks him for keeping her alive and pleads for information on Lawrence. He doesn’t give much away but tells her he doesn’t like to be bored in a pretty spine-chilling manner. At this point, Lawrence himself shows up and asks her to pour drinks for everyone before forcing her to bring him a book from the bookshelf; The Descent Of Man by Darwin. This not-so-subtle piece of foreshadowing typifies the return to the thoughtful composition and deep analysis the other two seasons bore and it’s great to see this again.
Later on, June confronts Lawrence around the morality of creating Gilead and his intentions for the future. Failing to rattle him, Lawrence bites back and questions her about her sick daughter. She lashes out, attempting a different tactic to get through to him. However, he seems unmoved again but takes her to a facility housing numerous women. He makes her choose 5 to be Marthas and after some initial disgust, she refuses, walking away from him.
Meanwhile, Serena tries and deals with her own grief only to be met with cold indifference from her Mother and friends. After a group prayer session, we see her constantly outside in the rain and around water, indicative of her current mental state. Eventually she decides to go and see June in a bid to try and learn how to forget baby Nicole. Her conversation with June is warm, as orange light filters through the windows; a stark contrast to the cold greys and blues of her house back with her Mother. It’s a subtle change but something that’s, again, much more closely aligned to the Handmaid’s Tale of previous seasons. Their conversation ends with June doing her best to try and encourage Serena to join the cause.
The episode itself then ends with June giving Lawrence the names of five women while Serena embraces her newfound independence, submerging herself in the water by her house as a symbolic baptism; shedding the old self and embracing the new. As she walks past Waterford without batting an eyelid, we end with one final, steely-eyed gaze from June into the camera as she closes out the episode with a promise – One Day, when we’re ready, we’re coming for you.
After the previous action-packed episode, Handmaid’s Tale slows back to the methodical pace we’ve become accustomed to and pushes the characters back to centre stage. Commander Lawrence, Serena and June are ultimately the three stand-outs here and easily serve as the highlight of this season thus far. The glimmers of revolution are upon us and it finally looks like we’ll see some progression on this front. Of course, with all rebellions there will be casualties but how deep these run remain to be seen.
Expect A Full Season Write Up When This Season Concludes!