Yvonne Strahovski breaks down shocking ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ finale

Spoilers ahead for “The Handmaid’s Tale” Season 2 finale.  Well, that happened. “The Handmaid’s Tale” ended Season 2 Wednesday on Hulu with a scintillating finale in which evil Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) was stabbed in the back, literally, and Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) was on her way (finally!) to escaping Gilead’s dystopian hell with Holly, her…
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‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 Finale Gives Trump Resistance Much Needed Hope

George Kraychyk

Season two of The Handmaid’s Tale has been a tough hang.

From the threat of a mass hanging at Fenway Park in the premiere, to the violent rape of our heroine in the 10th episode, to, most recently, the public drowning of 15-year-old Eden and her forbidden lover, the show’s dystopian landscape was often too brutal to bear.

We were granted a glimmer of hope of when Elisabeth Moss’ June (can we please stop calling her Offred now?) heard Oprah Winfrey’s comforting voice coming through her car radio from “somewhere in the Great White North.” Of course, moments later that hope was dashed when June ultimately failed to bust through the garage door and escape.

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Did you catch Oprah’s secret cameo in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’?

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This post contains mild spoilers for Handmaid’s Tale Season 2, Episode 11

Even in the bleakest fictional dystopias, we can still turn to Oprah Winfrey as humanity’s saving grace.

You might’ve totally missed the benevolent Queen of Broadcast’s subtle cameo in Episode 11 of Handmaid’s Tale Season 2, ‘Holly. But even a small glimmer of her presence provided a rare, needed moment of comfort in one of the most depressing shows to ever air on television.

In the episode, June is desperately trying to figure out how to escape Gilead during an unexpected moment of opportunity. Finding herself alone, extremely pregnant, and stuck in a secluded, snow-logged house, she discovers a functioning car. But that’s not the only god-like intervention.  Read more…

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Why the rape scene in this week’s ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ was so different — and why that matters

Spoilers ahead for Season 2, Episode 10

Gilead is built on rape. It’s the governing policy, the structure, the code. It’s systematic. Every month, the handmaid is raped. Every month, she lies down between a wife’s opened legs, spreads her own and dissociate while her commander thrusts and groans…

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Reflecting on ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and More TV That Dares You to Stop Watching

“Nolite te bastardes carborundorum.” It’s not actually real Latin, more of a joke phrase, but it was last seen carved inside a wardrobe in a first season episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, where it gave downtrodden hero Offred (Elisabeth Moss) inspiration to rise up against her captors. The translation? “Don’t let the bastards grind you down.”

It’s exactly the kind of worldly wisdom that Offred needed to hear at that moment in time, but it might as well have been delivered directly to the show’s viewers, who by that point had suffered through countless scenes of sadistic behaviour, psychological and physical torture, misogyny, abuse and ritualistic oppression.

An adaptation (and continuation) of the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale opened its second season with a terrifying mass hanging and then got cheerier still — we’ve since seen brutal murders, poisonings and countless scenes of men and women being dragged kicking and screaming to their doom… and those are the good bits. We’ve also discovered that the aforementioned Latin message has been sanded off the wardrobe. Or, in other words, it has been ground down. Fitting, for a show that’s keen on snuffing out hope in even its most futile forms.

PEAK BLEAK

The Handmaid’s Tale is just one of a recent crop of bleak TV shows that seem like they’re daring you to stop watching with each passing episode — it’s as if they take great pleasure in creating worlds where great pleasure itself is forbidden.

Take a series like The Walking Dead — a true ‘peak bleak’ phenomenon if ever there was one. Here we have a show that continues a painful slog towards an ending that couldn’t possibly be considered happy. The Walking Dead is set in a world where the vast majority of humanity has been turned into gurning corpses, so it’s not like we’re expecting quickfire gags and silly moustaches, but when did you last truly enjoy an episode? The showrunners go to such great lengths to set a gruesome and nihilistic tone, they’ve begun actively punishing their characters for enjoying fleeting moments of levity.

Any scene like Negan’s infamous double-header Lucille murder spree isn’t just doling out suffering to its characters — it’s making viewers suffer too. Blow by blow, beat by beat, blood spurt by blood spurt, it pummels us into submission, just like it did Rick Grimes and friends.

SUFFER THE CONSEQUENCES


The Leftovers.

Even critically acclaimed shows, like HBO’s The Leftovers, have been accused of revelling in too much misfortune and misery. A widely-shared Entertainment Weekly article from 2014 by pop culture writer Melissa Maerz bemoaned the gratuitous opening scene to episode ‘Gladys,’ in which a female character is repeatedly stoned to death over an agonising 88-second sequence: “The scene made me feel like I was being punished for something, maybe for tuning in to watch such a grim show. You want to see people suffer? Well, careful what you wish for — take a look at this!”

Shows like Broadchurch and Top Of The Lake investigate child murder and rape and get progressively more glum from there on in. There was barely a single scene in AMC’s The Killing that wasn’t rain-lashed and miserable. Netflix teen suicide drama 13 Reasons Why gave you way more reasons to switch off than it did to keep watching. The latest series of Ryan Murphy’s American Crime Story, The Assassination of Gianni Versace, started with the savage and bloody murder of the Italian fashion icon, played out backwards and still ended up more depressing than it started. To embark on a new TV box set these days is to expose yourself to approximately 10 hours of doom, gloom and heartbreak.

So why do we continue to tune in? Why do we return week after week for more of the same? It’s a big question, so to answer it we need to think big. Why do we watch TV? Most people would probably tell you it’s because they want to be entertained — maybe they want to enjoy some escapism from the real world.

Sure, we all like well-told stories and drama and great performances — which all of the aforementioned shows have in abundance — but TV isn’t exactly short on well-written, fun, uplifting shows right now either. In fact, the current climate of bleak TV has let light-hearted comedies like The Good Place thrive (it’s mostly set in Hell, but don’t let that put you off) while shows like Black Mirror purposely skewer the downbeat sensibilities of the peak bleak clique with a dark sense of humour (it was hard to watch ‘Crocodile’ from the latest season without thinking it was a tongue-in-cheek pastiche of soul-destroying Scandi drama).

REALITY BITES


The Jinx.

Television in 2018 is a crowded market, and it’s getting harder for shows to be heard among the white noise — even Netflix struggle to promote ‘originals’ on their own service due to the sheer volume of programming. So, for a show to be truly seen these days — for it to deliver its message as intended — it doesn’t hurt if it does so by being extra shocking or upsetting or relentlessly ghastly. The more raw the audience response, the more that show gets talked about — if you’re feeling something, even revulsion, then the show has made its mark.

But maybe escapism from the real world is not really why we watch TV any more — and maybe some TV is closer to home than we’d like to admit. Documentary series like Making A Murderer, The Keepers and The Jinx use real crimes and real people to keep us hooked: the televisual facade between fact and fiction is getting thinner all the time. After all, we don’t have to watch The Handmaid’s Tale to see crying children torn from their parents’ arms, we just have to turn on the news.

Shows like this reflect the real world back at us but in a more palatable form. We can always stop watching if we want to… but we don’t. Perhaps it’s so we can keep reality at arm’s length. But perhaps, subconsciously, we just want to see what happens next.

EXCLUSIVE: ‘13 Reasons Why’ Actor Defends Season 2’s Most Controversial Scene

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The Handmaid’s Tale’s Elisabeth Moss on a Subversive Season 2 and Unwinding With Real Housewives

The Handmaid's TaleThe Handmaid’s Tale star Elisabeth Moss unwinds from her days in Gilead dealing with Commander’s wives with Real Housewives. The Emmy-winning actress told E! News’ Sibley Scoles all…

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The Handmaid’s Tale Will Return in April With an Even Darker Second Season

We are ready to go back to the future: The second season of The Handmaid’s Tale — which has scooped up just about every major award for its haunting and harrowing adaptation of the classic Margaret Atwood novel — will premiere April 25. And you can get a first look at what’s in store for us above. (Who knew a Buffalo Springfield cover could be so dang creepy?)

Ahead of Sunday’s Television Critics Association panel, it was revealed that the 13-episode season will be focused and shaped by the pregnancy of Offred (Elisabeth Moss) and her struggle to find her daughter inside the nightmare that is Gilead. Returning players in addition to Moss include Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne, Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Ann Dowd, and Max Minghella.

At Sunday’s panel, more details were revealed, including that Marisa Tomei will guest star as a commander’s wife in the second episode, which will take place in the Colonies, signaling an expansion from the original novel’s world. “I certainly don’t think we’re going beyond the story that [Margaret Atwood] was telling,” executive producer Bruce Miller said. “She’s very much the mother of the series.”

Speaking of mothers, star and producer Moss reiterated that this season is all about motherhood. “It’s a wonderful thing to have a baby, but [Offred] is having it potentially in this world that she may not want to bring it into,” Moss said, adding, “I get bigger and bigger as the show goes on.”

When asked whether any real-life events make them want to change anything on the show, Miller said, “We have a few more months to go before we premiere, and certainly things can catch up to us. We’ve already had things where we thought about, shot them, put them in episodes, and then almost exactly the same images are on television. But I don’t think it’s a reason to jump in and start changing stuff.”

As for the tone on the series, Miller said, “There’s a lot of horror and cruelty and dread in this situation, but there’s also a lot of absurdity. I feel like June is always this close to turning to the camera and being, like, ‘What the actual f—.’”

Season 2 will kick off with two new episodes on the 25th and then will follow with new ones every Wednesday on Hulu. Moss said she thinks the second season will be even darker than the first, and when EW spoke to Miller earlier this month, he had one suggestion for how to prepare for viewings: “a bottle of scotch.”

Additional reporting by Natalie Abrams

This article originally appeared on Ew.com.


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‘SNL,’Big Little Lies,’ ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ rule at Trump-flavored Emmys

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) – “The Handmaid’s Tale” and political comedy “Veep” won the top prizes at the Emmy awards on Sunday, but satirical sketch show “Saturday Night Live” won the most Emmys overall on the back of a season of Donald Trump spoofs.


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Emmys 2017: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Wins Big, ‘Stranger Things’ Actors Shut Out

The Handmaid’s Tale was the big winner at the Emmy 2017 Sunday Night.

The Hulu drama — set in a dystopian future where a totalitarian government forces the few remaining fertile women to breed against their will — won eight awards, including the coveted best drama (Game of Thrones was ineligible this year), best director for Reed Morano (the first woman to win in the category in 22 years), as well as acting accolades for Elisabeth Moss (best actress) and Ann Dowd (best supporting actress).

Dowd’s surprise win meant that Stranger Things star Millie Bobby Brown’s dream to become the youngest Emmy winner went unfulfilled. Brown, just 13, played telekinetic Eleven in the Netflix series, and was an audience favorite at Emmys 2017.

Her costar, David Harbour, who played Police Chief Jim Hopper, lost the supporting actor category to The Crown’s John Lithgow. Another show that got snubbed in the acting categories was FX’s Feud, including veteran actresses Susan Sarandon and Jessica Lange.

Outside of The Handmaid’s Tale, another genre show that did well was Black Mirror. The “San Junipero” episode won awards for best limited series or TV movie and writing in a limited series or TV movie. Westworld didn’t win any major awards Sunday night, but picked up five awards at last weekend’s Creative Arts Emmys. Expect its fellow HBO series Game of Thrones to clean up next year when it returns to eligibility.

Even without Game of Thrones, HBO was still the biggest Emmys 2017 winner, thanks to Veep, Big Little Lies and The Night Of. The cable network won a total of 29 awards. It was followed by Hulu with 20, bolstered by the success of The Handmaid’s Tale.

It seemed that cable and streaming networks would dominate the Emmys 2017, but NBC’s longstanding Saturday Night Live, which saw renewed focus and audiences during the election, brought home nine trophies. NBC’s The Voice also edged out RuPaul’s Drag Race in the reality TV competition category.

See the complete list of 2017 Emmy winners here.

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is Our American Dystopia

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‘Handmaid’s Tale’ Memes Flood Twitter As Women Respond To Health Care Bill

On Thursday, House Republicans finally voted through legislation that would repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), replacing it with a bill that would, among other consequences, make things like pregnancy, postpartum depression and rape pre-existing conditions.

As a result, the new American Health Care Act (AHCA) ― yet to be passed in the Senate ― could put women in particular at risk of being denied coverage or having to pay the higher premiums that Obamacare previously banned. According to HuffPost’s Catherine Pearson, an amendment to the bill “effectively gives states permission to discriminate against women.” (Though House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has denied this.)

It didn’t take long for people on Twitter to respond with a meme that’s become terrifyingly relevant to American politics: images from “The Handmaid’s Tale,” Hulu’s adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s eerily prescient 1985 novel.

Screenshots of women in red robes and white bonnets began flooding social media, accompanied by chilling parallels between today’s health care chaos and the book’s depiction of a theocratic regime that subjugates women after taking control of their reproductive rights. 

In The Handmaid’s Tale, Atwood’s dire account of a near-future United States called Gilead, an authoritarian government rises to power and quickly decides to drain women’s bank accounts, the first step in a series of shockingly quick policy moves that seem to strip women of their status as equal citizens before they even had a chance to fight back.

“I was asleep before,” Offred, played by Elisabeth Moss, proclaims in a trailer for the Hulu show. “That’s how we let it happen.”

Even Atwood herself has admitted that her book seems more relevant now than ever.

Women had already been protesting state senates by dressing as handmaids in an attempt to raise awareness of certain lawmakers’ pushes to limit reproductive health in states like Missouri, Minnesota and Texas. On Thursday, opponents of the AHCA followed suit, posting images and references to Gilead in the hours after the House decision in order to make their stance clear.

In a piece titled “Women In The U.S. Don’t Live In A Dystopian Hellscape. Yet,” HuffPost’s Emily Peck rightly pointed out that, despite the setbacks that have occurred under President Donald Trump’s administration, women in the U.S. have helped push for progress in 2017, too.

“The resistance in the U.S. is very much alive and well,” Peck wrote. “And in the first 100 days of the Trump administration, it’s been remarkably effective.” She cited the ousting of longtime Fox news host Bill O’Reilly, the “unprecedented” numbers of women considering running for office in upcoming elections, and the failure of other policies like Trump’s anti-immigration orders, which was fought by a huge number of female immigration lawyers.

Still, as Congress mulls a health care plan that could potentially put individuals’ lives at risk, women (and men!) are quick to voice their opposition to anything that resembles Gilead. 

And the tweets keep coming.

type=type=RelatedArticlesblockTitle=Related… + articlesList=58d570c6e4b02a2eaab3de52,5909a595e4b02655f8424d2f,58ffb42de4b0073d3e7a1d0c,58fb61a3e4b00fa7de14b77d,58e7de23e4b058f0a02f0adb,58eb8840e4b00de141050bef,58c05330e4b0ed7182696155

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The Handmaid’s Tale Has Already Become One of the Most Influential Shows of 2017

The chilling official trailer just dropped.

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Margaret Atwood Admits ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Is More Relevant Than Ever

A religious fundamentalist society swiftly takes away women’s autonomy — and their rights to their own bodies. If you think the plot of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale, now widely studied, sounds familiar, you’re not alone: the author agrees.

In response to a fan who tweeted, “I read The #HandmaidsTale for the first time during the Obama administration & even that honeymoon wasn’t enough to make it seem unrealistic,” the author responded, “Yes it does seem like the pause before whatever it is that’s happening now … ”

Atwood’s book, about a woman named Offred who serves as a sexual surrogate to a family that’s having trouble conceiving, will be released as a TV adaptation on Hulu in April.

The author has been vocal about the story’s ties to today’s political climate. In a letter she shared through PEN/America in January, she cautioned against “dictators of any kind.” She began the letter with a quote from the novel: “Freedom, like everything else, is relative.”

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Welcome To An All-Too Real Dystopia In First ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Trailer

Things might look pretty bleak in America currently, but at least we aren’t living in a totalitarian regime… yet.

The first trailer for Hulu’s television adaptation of the celebrated Margaret Atwood novel The Handmaid’s Tale arrived on Saturday and we’re already prepared to declare the upcoming 10-episode series as our new favorite TV show. 

“The Handmaid’s Tale” follows a group of women living under an oppressive theocracy that only values them for procreation. In the 30-second clip, we meet Offred (Elisabeth Moss), who is forced contend with this new dystopian reality after being separated from her husband and daughter. 

 “I had another name, but it’s forbidden now,” she says. “So many things are forbidden now.”

We have an endless amount of questions after watching the teaser, but all we can think about is where are they taking Alexis Bledel?!

Ugh, this would never happen in Stars Hollow. 

“The Handmaid’s Tale” premieres Wednesday, April 26 on Hulu.

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