The Handmaid’s Tale paints a bleak look at life and the future. There are many warning signs in today’s world that a similar society is possible. The men in the story aren’t quite the antagonists. It’s the misogynistic views and need for “traditional values” that have become the antagonists. Even Commander Fred, who helped create the regime, is now just a pawn.
This week’s episode showed Fred take Offred out on a “date.” Really, he took her to a brothel where she wouldn’t be spotted by people close to him and risked his, hers, and Nick’s lives in the process. This whole episode wasn’t about treating Offred to a night of fun, but about control and belief that women are there for two purposes: make babies and entertain men.
The Handmaid’s Tale is certainly not an easy night of viewing for fans of the Hulu series. There are times that almost everyone wants to scream at their screens. It’s not just the fans, though. The actors find the storylines uncomfortable, especially in the series as various characters have been fleshed out more for the audience. The men especially have no character or soul in the novel, which Joseph Fiennes says is because it isn’t their story to tell.
Fiennes plays Commander Fred in the Hulu version of The Handmaid’s Tale, and he has recently been interviewed by Esquire. This is his chance to share why he chose to play the role and what he thinks about some of the actions he has had to do. He certainly doesn’t believe that this is a society that the world needs!
To start the interview, Fiennes made it very clear that this isn’t a man who will be loved by fans. He is a dark soul, drunk on the power that was given to him in creating Gilead. His actions have nothing to do with creating a better home for Offred. although he does admit that the events from the first Offred play a part in his current actions. He becomes drunk on the control he has over his handmaiden, which is why he has no qualms about putting her in danger for a night of “fun.”
The Handmaid’s Tale viewers can’t help but follow the lives of those within Gilead. One of the main points is that the lack of children is the women’s fault. Men can’t be sterile in this world, and Fiennes acknowledges that is part of Fred’s actions. Having a child is a status symbol. He has pulled away from Serena Joy because she isn’t able to give him the one thing he needs. Fiennes also shares that his Fred doesn’t even think much about the possibility of him being sterile. He views it as a woman’s problem and that alone.
If he’s so drunk on power, why did he decide to risk his own life by smuggling Offred to Jezebel’s? Fiennes goes on to explain that Fred believes he is now untouchable. He has created this world and this society. As fans saw in Episode 8, he had a role in creating the Ceremony and a way to make it okay for Commanders to sleep with their handmaids to conceive children. Because of this (and because of the world’s success), he doesn’t believe that he can fall, despite Nick being a plain clothed Eye in his house.
It appears that Fiennes will be in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2, which has already been confirmed. He hopes that the second season delves deeper into the world of Gilead and the commanders. He would like the psyche of his own character explored further, even if it is difficult and uncomfortable to play the character.
The Handmaid’s Tale continues on Hulu on Wednesdays.
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