The eeriest dystopian show on television, The Handmaid's Tale, returned last night, in a rain-soaked dramatic season two premiere with new levels of extreme punishment for Gilead’s wing wearing women. Can these girls just get a break already? Warning: spoilers ahead.
After a weekend of feel-good wedding vibes, Elisabeth Moss and co. took us straight back down to the cold harsh realities of what humans are capable of with an episode that brought the grimness factor up to a hard 10. That is impressive going for a show that centres around one of the most abused characters on television, Offred.
We join Elisabeth Moss's Offred where we left off in season one, heading into the dark with the hope of finding light in the back of a detention van. Except the light turns out to be a whole new realm of pain, a punishment centre where the Handmaids are handcuffed to ovens and their limbs burnt.
However, the most troubling scene came right smack bang after the opening credits, with Offred and friends gagged and set to pay the ultimate price for their anarchical behaviour. Stood on the gallows with their necks inside a looped rope, an executioner gave the command to end their lives.
In true The Handmaid’s Tale style, the episode was punctuated with flashbacks to Offred’s life as June Osbourne prior to the cult taking over. In scenes that would engender the most extreme reactions from any person in civilised society, Elisabeth Moss was seen to ask her husband to sign off her application for birth control. All before the state cracks down on Offred for sending her child to school with a small cold as children were regarded as precious goods due to the pollution-induced fertility woes.
The narrative journey didn’t look exactly rosy for Elisabeth Moss when, legs open in the gynaecologist’s surgery, she is subjected to a very awkward visit from Mrs Offred, who unleashes her anger on the expectant mother by saying, "your smart girl bullsh*t is finished!". Naturally, Offred didn’t hold back, exclaiming, "don’t get upset Serena, it's bad for the baby!"
In a twist of fate, left alone in the room, Offred discovers a key in her boot, which was placed there by the gynaecologist, so she makes a bid for freedom.
After a LOT of intense staring, dramatic looks and wild eyes, quick thinking leads to her running down a tunnel with only a torch to guide her. Running into the back of an abattoir van, a red-caped rebellion is on the horizon.
Arriving at a safe house, Nick, the dishy family driver who hatched the entire plan, is there to greet her. Burning her Handmaid’s uniform and butchering her own ear to rid her of her tracking device, June Osbourne appears before our eyes and Offred seems a distant bad memory… but will it last?
Whatever happens, blessed be Elisabeth Moss for putting herself through more torture than ever before. God, that girl has well and truly earned her Emmy!