Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale season one, and the premiere of season two.
Until this week, anyone who had read The Handmaid’s Tale was left with the same lingering question gnawing at their insides.
Ever since the book was released 33 years ago, readers have been left to ponder the fate of central character Offred, thanks to the fact that the story came to an abrupt halt once you got to the end of the last page of Margaret Atwood’s classic 1985 work.
The book ends with Offred/June (played by Elisabeth Moss in the television adaption) being marched out of the Waterford’s mansion and into the back of a mysterious van. Whether she is being smuggled away to freedom or led to her death, the reader never knows.
But when production began on the second season of the award-winning drama, the writers were forced to finally answer a literary mystery more than 30 years in the making.
And while the ending itself did not come directly from Atwood’s hand, she is a story consultant on the second season, which means some of the story-line we now see on screen must have been bubbling away in her mind for the last few decades.
The season two premiere episode, which is available on SBS and SBS On Demand in Australia today, is entitled simply June and answers this story question in the opening moments of the show.
As punishment for defying Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), following the moment where June/Offred and her fellow handmaids refused to stone Janine (Madeline Brewer) to death, the van doors are flung open and the June is joined by the other maids as they are bound, gagged and led through a dilapidated and overgrown sporting complex we quickly recognise as Fenway Park.