‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Actress Yvonne Strahovski Discusses Serena Joy’s Season 2 Character Arc

Yvonne Strahovski makes an appearance on the IMDB Show
Rich Polk / Getty Images

While Hulu hasn’t enjoyed the same wave of success when compared to Netflix series such as Stranger Things or Master of None, the joint venture streaming service has begun to build its own portfolio of original content. Its biggest success, The Handmaid’s Tale, takes place in a dystopian future where a totalitarian government has taken control of the United States of America, and fertile women (which are on the decline) are forced into sexual, child-bearing servitude. The series, which stars Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, and Yvonne Strahovski, took home six Primetime Emmy Awards last year and became the first show on a streaming service to win an Emmy Award for Outstanding Series.

Playing the role of Serena Joy Waterford, wife of high-ranking government official Fred Waterford, Yvonne Strahovski’s role in the series’ first season was more subdued compared to its second. For the most part, she was relegated to the background, anxiously awaiting a surrogate child from Elisabeth Moss’ character, Offred, all while remaining complicit as the new regime continues to rule the way of life in Gilead. Recently, Strahovski sat down with E! Online to discuss her role in the show’s second season.

Spoiler warning: the remainder of this article will divulge details from the second season, including this week’s newly-released episode. Some of the plot details may offend some.

Yvonne Strahovski appears onstage with Handmaid's Tale co-stars at FYC at Samuel Goldwyn Theater
  Rachel Murray / Getty Images

In the newest episode, Offred begins to suffer from false contractions, which enrages Serena, who has waited long enough for her surrogate child to be born. Mercilessly, Serena proceeds to physically restrain Offred while her husband begins to rape her, all in the hopes of helping the baby “come naturally.” Needless to say, this scene, in particular, was a lot for Yvonne to handle.

“There’s so much wrong about it. I just felt horrible. It’s sort of like the height of the complicity of Serena and how she will just do whatever it takes for her own selfish purposes. Even though I wasn’t in Joe’s position as the commander…I definitely felt like the rapist as well in that situation…I just kept thinking, ‘Wow, I never in my life thought that I would be in this position in a scene…’ As a woman, you always think, ‘Oh, I might be doing a scene one day where I’m the one getting raped in a scene.”

The second season of The Handmaid’s Tale is available for streaming on Hulu, with the season finale set to air on July 11. The show has been renewed for a third season.