Gilead is back and it’s truly terrifying.
The second season of The Handmaid’s Tale is shaping up to be even more harrowing than season one.
So much so that fans are wondering whether they can sit through it.
They’re asking themselves if the agony of watching a show that’s so confronting and so demoralising is worth it simply for its brilliant storytelling.
The short answer is… yes.
Having The Handmaid’s Tale withdrawals? Alias Grace will also hook you in. We discuss, on The Binge. Post continues.
We can’t turn away from The Handmaid’s Tale now, we have to keep watching it, and we need to fully absorb its message.
Because the series, which is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, serves as a cautionary tale for all of us.
In season one we were introduced to Gilead, a fictional version of America in a dystopian future where infertility has changed the world order.
Fertile women are now being used as currency, they are called “Handmaids”, and they are handed out to wealthy couples to be routinely raped and then used as surrogate mothers.
Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is one of those handmaids. After enduring countless rapes and torturous conditions at the hands of the couple who “own” her, Offred escapes in the closing scene of the season finale.
We were finally given a little bit of hope, a dangling carrot which hinted there could be a better life for Offred.
But in episode one of season two, we learn that hope was short-lived. There’s no simple solution for escaping Gilead.
While Offred hides out in an abandoned building waiting for her next move, we find out that life in the “colonies” is even worse than the fate of becoming a handmaid. And the relative safety of Canada seems very far away.
And this is why fans are struggling with season two, because the likelihood of a happy ending is slim. Offred may never get real freedom and she may never be reunited with her family.
But that’s exactly why we need to keep watching it.
It shows us what can happen if we become complacent, how our lives can irreversibly change if we let our individual freedoms slip, how much meaner the world can be if we stand idly by as others are persecuted.
And right now we need that reminder more than ever before.