The Handmaid's Tale showrunner responds to divisive season 3 reaction
Warning: Spoilers ahead for the season 3 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale.
It was a longer wait than usual for The Handmaid’s Tale this year, with the third season premiering nearly a year after the second season concluded. And once things got going, fans got into some heated debates over the season’s most divisive element: June’s turn toward antihero, making moral and ethical compromises in her radicalization and focus on rebellion within Gilead. By the end of this stretch of episodes, our complex heroine had done a lot of good, to be sure, but she also got some serious blood on her hands.
EW caught up with showrunner Bruce Miller about the controversial nature of this story line. “The fan reaction always surprises me,” he admits. “Mostly in its breadth; it’s so varied — and not unlike the writers’ room. We have a big writers’ room of mostly women; we’re often fighting about what June will do, with two people absolutely convinced on either side.”
He continues: “Some people are adamantly furious because June does X, and some people are adamantly furious that she didn’t do X.”
Miller encountered similar intense fan response at the end of his second season, a cliffhanger in which June had the opportunity to escape Gilead with her daughter, Nichole, but chose to say and fight for the freedom of her first-born, Hannah. “It’s fascinating to read the fact that so many people have polar opposite points of view, and they’re just as convinced they’re correct,” he explains. “The passion is remarkable.”
This year, particularly, viewers expressed serious anger at June for some of the decisions she made, and/or how she went about them. While Miller acknowledges some of this reaction gets blurred between anger at the show and what’s going on within it, he believes it’s most appropriate. “People get mad at June, which I think is a testament to [Elisabeth Moss] making her a real person,” he says. “It’s worth getting mad over.”
The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 is available for streaming on Hulu.