'Series Regular' Podcast: How 'Handmaid's Tale' Season 3 Brings New Battles to Gilead

The Hollywood Reporter's genre TV podcast goes under the eye of the Hulu drama's third season.
Elly Dassas/Hulu
'The Handmaid's Tale'

Welcome back to Series RegularThe Hollywood Reporter's weekly podcast dedicated to diving deep into hit TV shows. 

Every episode of Series Regular comes courtesy of Josh Wigler (that's me!), taking a closer look at a new corner of the genre television space. Most recently, we checked the pulse of the Walking Dead franchise — an odd turn of phrase, considering zombies don't typically have pulses. Much more alive but even deadlier than the Dead in its own right, this week's subject is The Handmaid's Tale, which launched its third season June 5 on Hulu.

Four episodes of season three are currently available, beginning with "Night," which picks up immediately following season two's controversial cliffhanger, in which June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) opted to stay behind in Gilead to find and fight for her daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) rather than escape with Emily (Alexis Bledel) and baby Nicole. June's choice drew sharp criticism at the time, and that same criticism finds its way into "Night," as various characters openly question June for staying in Gilead. For his part, speaking with THR and articulated in this week's Series Regular, creator Bruce Miller makes it clear the critical backlash surrounding the season two finale "was mild compared to the vociferous arguments we had" in the writers room.

"June has lived in a world where things that she has been told are impossible have happened," says Miller. "'You'll never see your child again.' She saw her child again. 'You'll never be in contact with your husband.' She's been in contact with her husband. 'You'll never make love to anybody ever again.' She found a boyfriend. There are all of these impossible things. When you think of June standing there, if someone says, 'Why won't you leave? You have no chance of surviving here if you stay, no chance of helping your daughter.' But I would say that's not her experience. Her experience has been through savvy, smarts, empathy and some good luck, she's made some incredible progress, and certainly more progress than Luke's (O. T. Fagbenle) made. She knows from the outside it's not so easy to help, and from the inside she's had success. I don't think it's a dumb decision, but it's a hard decision."

In addition to taking stock of Miller's response to the season two finale, this week's Series Regular highlights what happens next when June decides to stay in Gilead, including her surprise encounter with Hannah's current "mother" Mrs. McKenzie, played by Transparent star Amy Landecker, as well as her deadly relationship with Bradley Whitford's complex Commander Lawrence.

Hear it all now on Series Regular. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. Follow Wigler on Twitter at @roundhoward, and send suggestions for future topics and questions to SeriesRegular@THR.com.

Series Regular is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including TV's Top 5, the weekly TV news analysis podcast hosted by West Coast TV editor Lesley Goldberg and chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg; Awards Chatter, Scott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.