This post includes spoilers for “Night” (Season 1, Episode 10) of The Handmaid’s Tale. As usual, the link on the left has full summaries of all of the episodes.
It took me longer than usual to write this post because of how much I loved the season 1 finale of The Handmaid’s Tale. It set up so many possible storylines for season 2 that I don’t even know where to begin.
First of all, I never expected Offred and the other handmaids to refuse to stone Janine/Ofwarren for attempting to murder her child in the previous episode. Aunt Lydia’s horrified, angry expression was priceless when she realized that the handmaids weren’t willing to murder someone who had clearly been pushed past the breaking point a long time ago.
It’s going to be interesting to see what the punishment is for that for all of the handmaids. I’ve heard rumours that Janine is going to be back next season, but I have no idea if that is true or how it might happen.
The only spoiler I’d accidentally read for this episode had to do with Moira making it safely to Canada. At first I was a little disappointed that we barely saw any of her journey north, but there were so many other things going on in the plot that I understood why that part had to be shrunken down so much.
It was fun to see her brush snow off of the license plate of a car and realize that she’d made safely it to Canada! I’m going to assume that the people who owned that car found her, treated her kindly, and gave her a nice, hot meal before letting the authorities know that another refugee had made it across the border.
Moira’s reaction to being given simple life choices in Canada was heartbreaking. She couldn’t handle the thought of being allowed to read a book, decide what to eat, or choose what she wanted to do in general. The only thing I enjoyed more than seeing her realize how much freedom she had was watching her reunite with Luke after she told her social worker that she didn’t have any family in Canada.
The fact that Luke has marked her down as a family member really brought their friendship full circle. They’ve had more than their share differences in the past, but I’m pleased that she’s going to have someone looking out for her as she deals with all of the emotional fallout from her experiences in Gilead. The way Moira was acting reminded me of many of the symptoms of PTSD, so I can’t imagine that she’ll have an easy adjustment to life in Toronto.
It was Offred’s storyline that kept me on the edge of my seat this week, though. The revelation of her pregnancy was a bit of a surprise. The final scene of the book mentioned it as a possibility, but I wasn’t sure if the creators of this show were planning to explore that part of the plot so early on. At this point, I’m going to assume that the pregnancy goes full term and she has a healthy baby. This show doesn’t seem to be willing to harm babies that come from main cast members, so I’m guessing that trend will continue despite the fact that 80% of pregnancies in this universe don’t turn out that way.
The last thing I was expecting was for Offred to see – but not touch or speak with – her daughter again this episode. How did Serena Joy figure out where Hannah was? I was surprised that she’d threaten to harm Hannah if anything happened to the fetus Offred was carrying. Serena Joy has done abusive things in the past, but this seemed beyond the pale even for her.
This did give me hope that we’ll see Hannah again next season. It will be fascinating to see how much she remembers about her parents and what the authorities told her about what happened to them. I have plenty of memories from the age of five, but three years is a long time for a child to be separated from her family. Who knows how much she’s changed since then!
I was thrilled to see that the last scene in this show was exactly the same as it was in the book, from Offred’s thoughts about what would happen to her to the description of her climbing out of the light and into the dark shadows in the van. The fact that Nick whispered, “just go with them. Trust me.” to her before The Eyes lead her into the black van was taken straight from the book as well.
I think I trust Nick on this one, although I’m not too sure that this is going to be how Offred gets out of Gilead. It seems too simplistic after all she’s been through.
Final Thoughts on Season One
While there were a few minor things I would have tweaked in season one of The Handmaid’s Tale, I was thrilled with it overall. The writers clearly understood the source material incredibly well, especially when it came to Offred’s quiet grief and desperation in a household that denied her the ability to ever express those emotions openly.
One of my biggest questions when I first heard that this series was going to be made was, “how will they flesh this world out?” The book itself didn’t always explain how certain parts of Gilead like the Colonies worked because they weren’t things that Offred had seen and her perspective was so limited.
It was wonderful to see this world expanded. I loved almost every single change the writers made in order to expand the original material. It was especially nice to learn what happened to Luke as this was one of the biggest unanswered questions in Offred’s life.
The people who made this show couldn’t have done a better job at bringing Offred’s story to the small screen. I am incredibly happy with their work, and I can’t wait to see what happens in season two next year.
In the meantime, posts here will go back to their regular rotation of topics. If you haven’t read the book or seen this series yet, I highly recommend doing so.
Previous posts in this series:
5 Things I Want from The Handmaid’s Tale
Nolite Te Bastardes Carborundorum
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