Review of The Handmaid's Tale Season 2

The Handmaid’s Tale is Hulu’s first original stand-out show. Its first season took the world by absolute storm. It won awards, inspired viewers and drew lots of parallels to modern-day society. So, when season two began back in April, I awaited the response to be just as big now as it had been back when the finale occurred. I feel like that response never happened.    

           

The first opening scenes of season two answer the cliffhanger we were left with: what was Offred/June’s fate once in that black van? The answer is: a gallows situated in a desolated Fenway Park. Along with her other handmaids, June is muzzled and put in the gallows to await execution. The build-up is intense. There’s tears, anger and one unbelievable haunting Kate Bush song I have not been able to stop listening to for well over three straight weeks. When they finally pull the trigger and no one is hanged, it’s almost a relief… before you realize this means the show can only become more brutal.                                                                                       

After the ordeal at Fenway, June is at a pregnancy center visit (yes, keep in mind, she’s pregnant!) when she escapes to a van underneath. She’s taken to a Mayday safety house, where she cuts her hair and her handmaid’s tag off of her left ear. Nick is helping her move closer to the Canadian border and we meet a couple in Mayday determined to help the handmaids. But, after all that work, she is found and brought back to Aunt Lydia and the Waterfords. She’s determined to be reunited with her daughter and tries to play along with the Gilead leaders in order to get to her goal. In the meantime, a bomb kills 31 handmaids at a pregnancy center, forcing the Gilead leaders to bring back banished handmaids from the Colonies, including everyone’s favorites, Emily and Janine.

Image Courtesy of Business Insider

Elizabeth Moss delivers another season of a badass performance, as does Alexis Bledel, as vulnerable as ever, playing Emily. Not only do we see more of Offred’s background as a mother and wife, but we finally see Emily’s journey to handmaid-hood that she mentioned during season one. To me, it felt that season two is just as much Emily’s as June’s.                                                   

Janine is back as well, attempting to bring joy to the bleak Colonies. A former commander’s wife is an added character to the Colonies plot line, as played by Marisa Tomei. Her story arc is short, ending with Emily poisoning her for helping her husband rape their designated handmaid(s).

 

The season finale premiered on June 6th, and while I have yet to watch it, I can only imagine it’ll wrap up the season in an intense, emotions-filled process. If you’re new to the idea of The Handmaid’s Tale, you’ll be lost without watching the first season, which is still streaming on Hulu. Season three was greenlit this past month, so we’ll be able to see another few episodes with our new favorite feminists.