Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo
Culture > Entertainment

10 Thoughts I Had While Watching the Handmaid’s Tale for the First Time

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at BU chapter.

The Handmaid’s Tale has been on my watch list for a while now, and recent events have caused me to start binging it. I finished all three seasons on Hulu in two weeks (I promise I have a life), and I’m obsessed. The show had my emotions going all over the place, and I have to admit some scenes were pretty haunting. It’s not a show for the lighthearted!

The plot follows June, a woman who is separated from her husband and daughter and forced into life in a totalitarian society called Gilead. She and the other fertile women must help repopulate the new country and endure inhumane treatment along the way. Here are my thoughts from the first time watching the show:

*Warning: This article contains major spoilers!

The show is set in the Boston area.

It was totally freaky for me when all the Boston references came up in this show. The hanging scene in Fenway park was probably the most scarring, but even the use of the T and the fact that June is from Brookline was scary. The show was especially eerie since the world is currently experiencing extremely uncertain times with the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Handmaids are treated like animals.

June is forced to be a handmaid for the Waterford family who are basically evil. Mr. and Mrs. Waterford both have their own sick agendas and make June do everything they order. She had to go by the name “Offred,” after Mr. Fred Waterford, and even get a tag stapled into her ear like cattle at farms do.

The lives of the wives are so ironic.

It’s hard to believe that women were a part of designing a society like Giliead where they have no rights. They believe that faith is extremely important, and the word of the Bible is essentially the law. Women belong to their husbands and have no place in the world without them. They act so superior to the handmaids, but when it comes down to it, neither of them has any power. 

Alexis Bledel Is One of the Handmaids!?

I was seriously not expecting Alexis Bledel to be one of the handmaids in the show! I still think of her as innocent Rory Gilmore, so to see her go through all of the horrible things her character endures was new. That being said, her character is extremely strong and constantly fights for the resistance.

Why didn’t June get out when she could?

When so many people give June the opportunity to get out, something always seems to go wrong. First, the plane she is on gets stopped. Then, she refuses to go with her new baby because she won’t leave her older daughter who is still in Gilead. This part was so frustrating, however I understand why she wouldn’t want to lose track of her daughter.

So many characters go out of their way for June.

Not only do a lot of other characters try to arrange an escape for June, but some even end up dying. The man who was supposed to drive June to the plane is hanged, and the rest of his family is separated from one another. A Martha helps June see her daughter and is also hanged for it. When June arranges the escape of 52 children, so many people willingly join the fight and risk the punishment. It’s almost unbelievable how June ends up being sheltered throughout all of this. 

The relationship between June and Nick is so conflicting for me.

June and Nick develop a relationship prior to their daughter’s birth, but the origins were not consensual. It’s really strange to see it blossom into a passionate relationship, but I think this was there to make a point. June’s relationship with her husband Luke also came out of unorthodox circumstances since Luke was already married at the time.

Canada is the beacon of hope in this show.

Of course, Canada would be the country to give asylum and hope to Americans trapped in Gilead. They shelter the refugees, and all the scenes where someone successfully escapes to Canada are so heart-wrenching.

The season three finale was a rollercoaster of emotions.

This episode killed me. I was so concerned that all the children they were trying to smuggle out of Gilead were going to be captured. I had to keep pausing it and regaining my composure to continue. When the children made it to Canada, I was in tears. Also, Mr. and Mrs. Waterford both being charged with war crimes was the cherry on top.

I can’t help thinking… could this really happen?

Considering the fact that no one ever thought a pandemic like COVID-19 would dominate our lives for what is almost a year now, I think this show could happen. Civil Wars do happen and countries that are divided go through turmoil all the time. I’m hopeful that hate in this country subsides and we realize that unity and equality are more important than our own selfish needs and beliefs.

The Handmaid’s Tale kept me on my toes and constantly thinking. I can’t wait for season four and to be even more on the edge of my seat (or bed, since these days have seen a lot of TV time in bed).

Want to keep up with HCBU? Make sure to like us on Facebook, follow us on Instagram, check out our Pinterest board, and read our latest Tweets!

Sonja is a senior at Boston University from New Hampshire studying journalism. On campus, Sonja works to promote various brands to the college audience. She has been an ambassador for Razor Scooters, Venmo, Rent the Runway, Comcast Xfinity, and BEARPAW Shoes! When she's not writing or working, she loves exploring restaurants and taking pictures around Boston!
Writers of the Boston University chapter of Her Campus.