It’s hard to believe that Season 4 Episode 10 of The Handmaid’s Tale is actually going to be the finale. This season is quite a bit shorter than the two previous seasons of the show. While Seasons 2 and 3 had 13 episodes, Season 4 returned to only having 10 episodes in the queue. Here’s a quick look at why this season is so short in comparison to previous seasons, and it’s not actually the reason you would think.
This Season Is Shorter, But Not Because of COVID-19
Back in January 2020, we learned that this new season will only be 10 episodes long. The news was revealed in an article published on January 8, before there were any shutdowns due to the pandemic. Even back then, showrunner Bruce Miller had already planned for a shorter season, IndieWire reported.
Miller told IndieWire that the shorter season was a creative decision.
“From my point of view, [the decision] was 100% creative… Some storylines just seem to shake out as a 10-episode story, in my eyes…”
Miller added that having a shorter season allows them to not have to work in so many story arcs, and thus focus in more on a particular storyline.
He said MGM and Hulu were fully supportive of having a shorter season this time around.
At the time that the article was released, viewers surmised that this meant we would have fewer filler episodes in the new season and the plot might feel like it’s advancing faster. However, not everyone supported the idea. One Redditor pointed out:
Last season the show also cut quite a few scenes with Nick, which left viewers thinking they needed more episodes in a season, not fewer. Post Apocalyptic Media detailed the deleted scenes in an article here. In fact, in a podcast interview, Bruce Miller said that he had “92 stories” written for Nick in Season 3 but didn’t have time to show them. Knowing that they went from this problem to deciding to cut episodes in Season 4 has left fans with quite a few questions.
A recent poll also showed that most Redditors prefer a 13-episode season to a 10-episode one. (There were 737 votes for 13 episodes versus just 151 votes for 10 episodes.)
Sadly, we are left with just 10 episodes in Season 4, despite viewers’ preferences.