Praise be

Second season of “The Handmaid’s Tale” continues to leave viewers speechless

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Story by Emilee Slayton, staff writer

The first thing Offred heard were the bells. She knew there was no running away. Offred walked along with the other handmaids, knowing that they were about to kill a traitor. Was this justice? Was this the way Gilead deals with crimes? The handmaids were forced to kill this man or woman they had no choice, no choices at all. Approaching the revealed man, they discovered something on the ground and came to the conclusion— they had to stone the man.

Season two of “The Handmaid’s Tale” came out April 25, which let people stream two episodes on Hulu. Now, there is a total of five episodes so far.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” is originally a novel by Margaret Atwood, set during a time when a totalitarian society take over the United States and turn it into the Republic of Gilead. Women, namely the Handmaids, have no rights when it comes to the fundamentalist regime taking control politically. In Gilead, a woman named June, whose is forced to be called Offred, becomes a handmaid and has to play by the rules until she can figure out where her daughter is and if her husband is alive.

Episode one begins with June sitting in a van until she gets taking out to be revealed that the Regime is planning to kill all the handmaids who have betrayed Gilead, by disobeying the condict the handmaid’s follow. As they’re running out into a massive fiel, with their hands tied and their mouths restrained from talking, they notice their hanging fate.

June who is also pregnant but has not revealed it to the regime puts her head in the noose. All of a sudden, as they are about to die, Aunt Lydia, the lady who trained the women to become handmaids, speaks out and says that is the price they will pay if they don’t basically follow the rules.

That scene right there, in the first 10 minutes of the episode so far was the most nerve wrecking thing I have ever watched. The rest of the episode keeps you on edge because you just have this gut feeling that something massive will happen in this episode— the moment June finally escapes Gilead happens is when the gut wrenching feeling becomes more prominent.

As June reveals her pregnancy, she gets special treatment and eventually returns to the Waterfords, the people that were supposed to take Offred’s baby. At the doctor’s office, Commander Waterford and Serena, the people who took in Offred, rejoice as they see that June is pregnant. As everyone leaves, June puts back on her clothes until the last person that leaves calls her by her real name then exits the room. June is startled by this and realizes that the person who called her by her name left a key in her boot. This excited many viewers because this was the perfect moment June could escape.

This scene is the exact moment all the watchers of “The Handmaid’s Tale” have been anticipating for, the moment where June has the actual chance to leave Gilead. I love this scene because it’s the moment where June finally escapes. Not only does she escape, but her decision to do it was so quick that all the viewers felt like they were escaping with her.

Emily persevered through the colonies and was such a strong character during that episode that you couldn’t help but root for her.

— Emilee Slayton

The end of the first episode was shocking. June finds out that Nick, who was the gardener for the Waterfords, and the man she’s having a baby with is the one who helped her escape. Nick tells June that she has to change her identity so she wouldn’t resemble Offred. June strips down into her bra and panties and finally gets to burn the clothes she’s been waiting to get out of forever. June not only burns her clothes, she also cuts off her long blonde hair, so people wouldn’t recognize her as Offred. The last thing she did was the most nerve wrecking, June has a tag on her ear that all the handmaids have, showing her defiance towards Gilead, June cuts off the tip of her ear. In this instant, with blood streaming down her face, June wasn’t Offred anymore.

This scene was not only powerful but it was so liberating to watch June strip away Offred, watching June stare into the fire as she burns pieces and pieces of all the memories she’s had. This scene made me scream, cry and overall happy for June. I finally got to watch June leave Gilead and say goodbye to Offred.

Episode two is completely different from the first episode. However, we get to see what happened to Ofglen, who’s real name is Emily. In the previous season, Emily tried to rebel against the regime, got into a car and ran over someone. Ever since then, the viewers didn’t know where Emily went, until we saw she got sent to the colonies.

The colonies are north of Gilead and are contaminated in pollution and radioactive waste, Gilead officials send people their if they were accused of a crime. However, if you get sent there, you’ll die from environmental effects. The women who get sent to the colonies are called one of the “Unwomen” which is the title of the second episode.

The colonies affected Emily physically and mentally. We witness glimpses of Emily’s past life and discover she was a Biology professor. The only background of Emily’s past we knew from season one is that Emily had a wife, whom we know nothing about. During this time, you see how having a different sexuality previously before Gilead was almost scandalous and closeted. But now, having a different sexually in Gilead meant you would either get hung, or sent to the colonies to become one of the unwomen.

At the end of the episode, Emily actually poisons and kills a commander’s wife because the wives have to restrain the handmaid’s whenever they get raped by their commanders. Honestly, that lady deserved it.

Alexis Bledel, who plays Emily in the show, did such an amazing performance this episode. Emily persevered through the colonies and was such a strong character during that episode that you couldn’t help but root for her. This episode overall was a heart-wrencher which left many viewers with a lot of emotions that they probably can’t handle.

Episode three is called “Baggage” which overall was such a chaotic episode. I don’t really know how to feel about it. The viewers get to see June who is still escaping Gilead. But, the flashbacks that she experiences are the only reason why she keeps on moving. June thinks about her daughter who she still wants to rescue from Gilead. But new flashbacks from June give us more of an insight of how her relationship is with her mom.

June’s mom, Holly, is a hardcore feminist, raising June to live a certain way and teaching her from right and wrong. It all seems fine until Gilead is finally approaching, when Gilead is approaching Holly was still giving abortions to women, even though June warned her not to during this time. In the book, we never knew what happened to June’s mom. We only inferred that she was sent to the colonies for being a feminist and got sick from the pollution and died. The constant flashbacks give us viewers more insight on June’s feminist views and Holly’s as well.

Also, in this episode we see Moria who escaped to Little America where refugees of the Republic go to in Canada. Another person who is in Canada is June’s husband, Luke, who reunited with Moria. During this episode, you see Mora adjust to her new lifestyle from her harsh experiences of surviving through Gilead to helping refugees with work in Canada.

The episode although, tragically ends with June being recaptured just as she was getting close to the border. Many of the viewers wanted her to escape and break free from Gilead. Tragically, in the world of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” fairy-tale endings aren’t real. In the light of this situation, there are still many more episodes to come, so maybe June will break free from Gilead one day.

If you’ve watched the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale and are ready for even more crazy, chaotic, episodes to come, sit back, relax and watch the rest of this exciting yet heart-wrenching  season.