In episode two, Season Two, of The Handmaid’s Tale, we are delivered a revelation.
Where, exactly, have they taken her?
There are clues dropped through the beginning of episode two. A woman’s shoe sitting under a work desk. An unwashed coffee mug. A dusty Friends DVD. Pictures of friends and family. A ‘pride’ rainbow flag.
This was once an office, populated by hardworking people.
But what happened to them?
We discuss the violence and brutality in The Handmaid’s Tale on the most recent episode of Mamamia Out Loud. Post continues.
At 21 minutes in, we find out.
There’s a flash of three words in the background, printed on a stack of newspapers, revealing a target of the new regime we might not have yet considered: The Boston Globe.
As June turns the lights on, the room opens up, and we see the machinery behind the printing press, a stunning representation of the first amendment.
But we already know this is not an office that was evacuated. People weren’t fired as was the case with June. The lone shoe indicates something far more sinister.
It is not long before our protagonist spots the nooses. And then the bullet holes.
The employees of The Boston Globe were slaughtered. They were considered worse than ‘gender traitors’, as Refinery29 highlights, because even their life was spared if they were fertile. But a female journalist with children, as evidenced by the pictures adorning her desk, saw no such mercy.
In order for Gilead to sustain itself, it could not have truth seekers. It could not allow a free press whose job it was to criticise the current regime.
This, of course, offers eerie parallels to the present. The United States currently has a President who, as Refinery29 points out, has called the media an “enemy of the people”. By calling out “fake news” he has undermined the very institution of a free press.
“The Boston Globe is a silent character in this episode of the Handmaid’s Tale,” Elena Nicolaou writes, “and a pointed message to the audience.
“Listen up… Instead of sitting comfortably and watching a TV show, pay attention to what’s happening in your country…. Because after a full season of The Handmaid’s Tale, we know all that followed the destruction of The Boston Globe – and it isn’t pretty.”
It’s not an accident the offices of The Boston Globe serve as the backdrop for the first episodes of season two. It represents a time when the United States was still free. And what the world might look like if, bit by bit, those freedoms were to be taken away.