“It’s always a double-edged sword,” declares creator Bruce Miller about his mixed feelings about what “The Handmaid’s Tale” often reflects in the real world. “It’s lovely to hear people that are affected by the show. They feel things. I wish I could make them feel a little more that was good, and a little less that was bad, but that’s June’s journey at this stage and it makes the little victories that she does get, even some of the huge victories she gets this season, even sweeter than they would’ve been before,” he says. Watch our exclusive video interview with Miller above.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” premiered its anticipated fourth season on Hulu late last month after nearly 20 months off the air, as production on the fourth season was shut down for months due to the pandemic. Based on the 1985 novel by Margaret Atwood, it is set in the terrifyingly austere authoritarian theocracy of Gilead, which rises to prominence in a near-future dystopia after a bloody coup staged by violent religious fanatics usurps the present-day United States. It stars Emmy winner Elisabeth Moss as June, one of thousands of enslaved handmaids routinely raped and abused in order to bear children for the barren ruling class.
This season opens with June as a fugitive on the run from a regime intent on silencing her for good, leading a group of handmaids intent on meting out justice and revenge against the evil regime. Over the border in Canada, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) and his complicit wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) remain in detention to face justice as war criminals after fleeing the brutal regime last season. As the fourth season unfolds, “The Handmaid’s Tale” remains unrelentingly dark and confronting, but it also features a number of anticipated pay-off moments that have been building over the last three seasons.
“The story gets bigger and changes and gets more complicated because June gets more complicated and the challenges she takes on for herself are bigger, and also she sees the bigger picture,” reveals Miller when explaining how the show is fundamentally about June’s perilous journey. “June is moving forward, but it’s not necessarily from danger to safety. It’s from danger to danger, which is a lot harder for our psyche to understand when watching a TV show, but it’s what we always do in our life. We try to make things a little better, a little safer,” he remarks. “Like life, our show hopefully is cumulative, so the characters are going through the world with all of the experiences you’ve seen them have.”
Miller is unapologetic when asked why the show doesn’t shy away from the brutality of the nightmarish world he has built over the show’s four seasons to date. “I think that television has done a disservice to all of us by saying that problems are easy to solve and that one person can change the entire world. Those things are nice and it’s great to talk about the exception, but it’s more important to talk about the rule, and the rule is that things are hard, and you’re in a place that victimizes you are treats you like nothing. Your life is miserable and it doesn’t get less miserable just because you don’t want it to be miserable anymore,” he says.
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