Series Review

'The Handmaid's Tale' successfully navigates unchartered waters in S2

As the plot moves beyond Margaret Atwood's original book, this dystopian drama proves that it still has plenty to say about pertinent issues in season two

20 May 2018 - 00:01

SPOILER ALERT! This article contains spoilers for the first season of The Handmaid's Tale
After its spectacularly successful first season, which saw it win eight Emmys and become the first streaming service show to win a Best Drama award, Bruce Miller's adaptation of Margaret Atwood's novel heads into unchartered waters in its second season.
The second season has become to series what the second album is to many recording artists - the moment in which we really see what the creators are made of and whether they're able to consistently deliver.
In this case there's a double-edged sword for Miller and the cast of the show as they are no longer able to rely on the source material provided by Atwood's piercingly prescient novel. They must take their exploration to a new plane of interrogation of the sexual dynamics of the dystopian, ultra-conservative, brutally Old Testament-guided world of Gilead.

At the end of the first season, the heroine Offred (Elisabeth Moss) - after discovering that she was pregnant by her master Fred Waterford's driver Nick (Max Minghella) and that her husband and daughter from her pre-Gilead existence as June Osborne were still alive - revolted against the tyranny of the Gilead regime.
The first episodes find Offred/June dealing with the consequences of her insubordination and fighting an internal battle between her past identity as June and her current designation as handmaiden Offred.
Whereas much of the violence and brutality of the puritanical world of Gilead was implied rather than demonstrated in the first season, the early episodes of the second season make much more use of explicit scenes of punishment and torture to bring home the bleakness of the daily lives of not only Offred but other handmaids who supported her attempt at revolution.
WATCH | The trailer for The Handmaid's Tale season two..

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