When we last heard from The Handmaid’s Tale (the Season 3 finale was in August of 2019), there was a credible unease that Donald Trump’s increasingly authoritarian America was mirroring some of the totalitarian ideology depicted in the show. Nearly a year later, the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial division have come decisively to the fore, while President 45 has come to look more like an aging clown who can’t remember how to tie an animal balloon.
Alas, Season 4 has been postponed until 2021, at which time we will likely either have a new president, or perhaps even…civil war? But the first trailer has arrived, and, as probably expected, it’s not pretty—though it is rife with determination. It opens with Elisabeth Moss’ Offred, wounded in the last episode, defiantly reciting, “I can’t rest. My child deserves better. We all deserve better. Change never comes easy.”—which seems to eerily mirror conversations we’ve been having in real life. Are we soon to become a quasi-Gilead?
And indeed, as armed soldiers advance, we can hear Ofrobet fervently insisting, “It’s not safe anywhere, we should just leave.” Recent violent scenes of tear-gassed protestors outside the White House, and heavily armed police marching through Buffalo come immediately to mind.
The imagery this coming season, as ever, is monumental, unsettling, and frighteningly vivid. It’s a dystopia you can’t take your eyes off of. And it’s a struggle that we have to see through to the end with Offred and her fellow handmaids—even if we have to wait until 2021 for it to resume.
And make no mistake, as Ann Dowd’s fearful Aunt Lydia howls of Offred, “She’s out there planning who knows what kind of atrocities, to visit upon our righteous nation,” it sounds absolutely, shudderingly Trumpian.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 will air on Hulu at a 2021 date yet to be determined.