Corporal punishment. Body mutilation. Institutionalized rape. Being forced to bear children and then give them up to an upper class. The horrors that came out of The Handmaid’s Tale (returning April 29 at 9 p.m. ET on Bravo) were brutal and jaw-dropping, yet every single event depicted in the first season of the Bravo series was inspired by a real-world event somewhere.
Obviously that made the show that much creepier.
So would you believe us if we were to tell you the show is about to get a whole lot creepier in season two? We’ve seen the first half-dozen episodes, we’ve been to the Toronto set, and without giving too much away we promise that you’re going to want to remember to breathe.
In advance of the two-hour premiere April 29 on Bravo, here’s why season two is going to give you all the feels.
Gilead is as dark as ever
If you thought these people were serious about the business of giving birth before, just wait until you see how they’re dealing with the unruly citizens of Gilead now. Following Offred’s (Elisabeth Moss) big “escape” from the Waterford household, it’s obvious the powers that be are done with being “lenient” to those who fail to listen to their command. The handmaids will particularly feel that reaffirmed world order, especially after their insubordination and refusal to stone Janine (Madeline Brewer) in the first season finale. Now that’ll teach them for not killing their friend…
Now we’re dealing with an actual pregnancy
As showrunner Bruce Miller pointed out to us, everything surrounding pregnancy was a hypothetical in season one. Yes, Janine was pregnant, but since this is a story told through Offred’s eyes we didn’t really know how a pregnancy felt in this world. Now, with Offred’s pregnancy confirmed we get to really dig into what life is like for a pregnant handmaid, and unlike what Janine said it isn’t all ice cream and fake promises from commanders. In fact, from what we’ve seen, being pregnant is probably the darkest, creepiest thing that could possibly happen to a handmaid in this fictional world, and we’re a little scared of what might happen next.
There are new issues arising in this fertility-obsessed world
Even though Offred is pregnant, there’s still the overall issue of infertility in Gilead and beyond. To showcase just how serious those in power are about increasing the birthrate, there’s a new storyline this year that opens up the pregnancy pool, so to speak. While we don’t want to give too much away, know that it’s very, very… well, creepy. But again, it’s also something that does happen in certain parts of the world, so it’s not exactly a huge departure either.
We’re going to see how the middle class live
Margaret Atwood began painting the picture of Econowives—wives who can go about a somewhat normal existence—in her 1985 novel, but we failed to see how that particular section of Gilead lives in the first season of the show. There was just too much other story to cover. Now, Miller and co are looking to blow up the small world they’ve introduced us to, and that includes the econo people. Trust us when we say life isn’t much better for them.
Little America returns
Moira (Samira Wiley) had a somewhat happy ending in the first season when she escaped the Gilead regime and made it into Canada. There she landed in Little America (Toronto), where she reconnected with Luke (O.T. Fagbenle). But, that also makes Moira a refugee, and life for refugees may be better, but it isn’t necessarily easier. We’ll definitely dig into that dark world a little more this season.
Nuclear waste becomes an issue
Speaking of new locales, there has been a lot reported about how the show is visiting The Colonies this season. That nuclear wasteland was first mentioned as a place where “unwomen” go to help clean up the grounds before they eventually die from radiation poisoning. This season that world is explored in-depth as we follow Emily (Alexis Bledel) and Janine’s journey in that terrifying and deadly place.
You care even more about these characters
Some of the most emotional episodes from the first season of Handmaid’s Tale were the episodes where we really dug in and watched character flashbacks from the time before Gilead came into power. Giving us a glimpse at what their personalities were like before the takeover made us care even more about these characters. Now, with an entire season to build upon, we know these characters even better, and that makes some of the horrendous things that happen to them that much worse.
The show is attracting more top-notch talent
One surefire way to make us care even more about the characters we’re meeting is to cast notable actors to play them. This season it’s been confirmed that Tony and Emmy-award winner Cherry Jones has been cast to play Offred’s mother, while Bradley Whitford and Marisa Tomei are also on board in top-secret roles.
Margaret Atwood is back
Just in case you were worried that this show would deviate too much from Atwood’s original vision, know that she and the producers have had plenty of conversations about where the show could and should go. In terms of the creep factor though, that makes us even more emotionally unsettled heading into the season. After all, this entire world was birthed in Atwood’s mind, which may be the creepiest place of all.
The Handmaid’s Tale returns Sunday, April 29 on Bravo.