Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale hasn’t been comfortable viewing, but it has been compelling and intriguing. From the opening, fans found themselves drawn into the world of misogyny and fear. They needed to learn more about Gilead: how it came to be, what it means for women, and how the rest of the world lives. After 10 episodes, the season has finished with an epic finale that could have worked extremely well as a series finale. Luckily, Hulu has ordered Season 2 of the series.
There were mixed emotions throughout the episode. Serena Joy had learned the truth about Offred’s nightly visits and trips out of the house. However, rather than instantly beat Offred down, she forced her to pee on a stick. Pregnancy tests may be banned, but Serena Joy wasn’t waiting to see if Offred was pregnant.
Many fans found themselves feeling a mixture of despair and happiness for Offred. The pregnancy would at least keep her from swinging from a noose, but she would be trapped in the world of the handmaids. If that wasn’t enough for the sadness and hatred towards the towering Mrs. Waterford, we learn that Hannah’s whereabouts have been known this whole time by the powers that be. Serena Joy used this as a chance to mentally and emotionally beat Offred down. Showing Offred that Hannah’s home is known, Serena Joy made it clear that should something happen to the pregnancy, then Hannah would die.
The mixed emotions didn’t end with Offred. We finally saw Moira get across the border to Canada, where she claimed refugee status. Samira Wiley didn’t need to say a word to show her emotions. I had goosebumps as she took in the refugee process, wondering if she was going to break down and question just why Canada hadn’t done anything to help those trapped in America. Why hadn’t the world come in to stop the backward, misogynistic Gilead regime?
Instead, she just quietly took it all in, possibly wondering what she was going to do from here. With a 12-month paid-up cell phone, a little less than $500 in cash, and clothes, she was sent on her way, only to come across Luke waiting for her. Luke saying “you’re on my list” was that moment Moira could let the emotions out.
Back in Gilead, we find out just what is to happen to Janine after her actions in Episode 9. As Aunt Lydia seems heartbroken at the actions — although it’s really difficult to see why considering her support for the regime—the handmaids find out who their victim is. As the Baltimore Sun points out, this isn’t just a nameless, faceless man like the first time. It’s one of their own: the sweet, slightly crazy Janine. Who could hurt her after everything she’s done?
We finally get to see the women band together. They’re not going to stone one of their own. They each drop their stones, apologize to Aunt Lydia, and walk away. They know there will be hell to pay afterward, but this is worth the risk. And this, along with the strong ending of Offred making her way out to what looks like the Eyes’ black van, is what sets up the story for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2.
It was one of the strongest endings to a season for a very long time. The best thing about it is nothing had to be fabricated from the book to create a chilling cliffhanger. Sure, the side characters have had stories developed, but they’ve all been realistic for their individual characters. The ending is the same as the book. The big question now is whether Offred went with the Eyes or Mayday.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 is confirmed, but there is no date for release just yet. It’s a show that I cannot wait to return to after that epic season finale.
[Featured Image by Hulu]