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Review: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Premiere Focuses on Mother/Daughter Relationship

After the success of the first season, Hulu subscribers are finally getting to see where June/Offred (Elizabeth Moss) is after an emotional first season of The Handmaid’s Tale that left watchers craving more.

WARNING: Spoilers below!

The episode started right where we left off last season with a pregnant Offred being hauled away in a big black van. We now know where she was headed, and it is not to safety. Offred, along with the other handmaids, is taken to their modern-day Fenway Park to endure a moment of torture where their lives are almost taken from them. The torture that the girls are undergoing throughout the episode comes from the moment that they did not succumb to stoning Jeanine to death in the season one finale.

As the episode goes on and everyone begins to find out that Offred is pregnant, the treatment of the others becomes inherently evil compared to the way the excitement towards Offred’s blessed fruit is portrayed.

In typical Handmaid’s Tale fashion, the episode focuses on Elizabeth Moss’s emotional facial expressions that don’t need words to convey what her character is feeling, all while flashing back to how the world turned into this dystopian-like prison.

Viewers get to see a day in the life of June before becoming a handmaid, where she is dealing with her daughter, Hannah, being brought to the hospital after having a high fever at school. After seeing her daughter, June is then questioned by a woman who seems to be some kind of social worker, and the questions get very personal. During this encounter, it is obvious that the fact that Hannah is of mixed race is frowned upon, and the woman is taking note that June is an unfit mother—giving hints to how June ended up being separated from her family and taken to Gilead in the first place.

The episode majorly focuses on the relationship between June and Hannah. The bond that June feels is much more strong and apparent than previously explored in the first season. When having to choose between comforting her daughter and seeing on TV what is happening in the country, June chooses her daughter—a choice that seemingly would be an easy one, but the terrorism and violence that is occurring is something that would make that tiny decision difficult.

The entire episode emphasizes the bond that June feels towards her daughter, and the fact that she is pregnant again hints that she is going to feel that same bond to her new child. In the flashback portion of the episode, we see June and her husband, Luke, decide to start trying to have another baby, so we know that having another child is something that June is interested in.

The most shocking part about the episode is that while Offred is at the hospital getting a prenatal check-up, she is given a key to a door that eventually leads to her freedom. The fact that her child was being checked upon as she is given the key to her life is an extraordinary choice the writers made because as she is protecting the life growing inside of her, she is essentially given a part of her own life back. But will she go back to get Hannah, whom we know is still in Gilead? It’s going to be a tough call for June, but we know she will ultimately make the right decision.

The Handmaid’s Tale always exceeds expectations, and this new season won’t be any different. Check out the first two episodes of the new season on Hulu now, and make sure you tune in every week to see where Offred goes from here!

Check out our coverage of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ at Paley Fest 2018

Emily is a graduate of UCLA and former Senior Editor of Her Campus at UCLA. During her free time, Emily loves to read, travel and binge-watch episodes of Gilmore Girls. She can be reached at [email protected]
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