Was The Handmaid’s Tale season two a good idea?

The first season of The Handmaid’s Tale was based on the novel by Margaret Atwood, in its entirety, so when the second season was announced (which wasn’t a surprise given its success), people wondered if it would be a good idea to extend it beyond the source material. Now it has come to its conclusion, I can give my opinion.

*SPOILERS AHEAD* 

It got off to a rocky start, and in the first few episodes I did feel like there was no direction and the makers didn’t really know what to do. It finally hit its stride, and while it may not be as well-structured and gripping as the first one, it was still very good, brilliantly acted and provided some dramatic moments.

I really liked that we got to see more of how Gilead was run and perceived from the outside, Emily (Alexis Bledel)’s backstory, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) meeting Hannah and most of all, the complex relationship between Offred, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) and Fred (Joseph Fiennes) and the back and forth power tussle between the high-status couple and their pregnant handmaid.

This outing was definitely more depressing – the death of Eden (Sydney Sweeney) and Offred’s rape spring to mind – and the beginning was very bleak, but the first season wasn’t exactly a riot and obviously these things are going to happen as the women begin to rebel. It felt less depressing when it became clear that the revolution was coming and the women would no longer be putting up with this shit. Some of the torture-style stuff at the start was unnecessary though.

The first season wasn’t exactly speedy but season two felt super slow and big portions of episodes felt like they were a deliberate time-wasting activity, such as Offred trying to escape the empty mansion. This got better in the last few episodes where a lot happened, particularly in the finale which was chock-a-block with moments, obviously designed as cliffhangers for the next series.

Moss was fantastic again, I wouldn’t expect anything less, but the star this season was Strahovski as Serena Joy; she has so much more to do this time around and a lot of emotional work as she struggles with Offred and tries to rebel against the system which she helped create. I’m glad they both got an Emmy nomination. Other shout outs go to Bledel, her backstory was so sad, Rita (Amanda Brugel), who is probably more involved in the rebellion than we currently realise (I love her alliance with Offred), and Bradley Whitford, who was a very mysterious character who I wanted to know more about.

So yes, series two was a worthwhile endeavour and was very good after a shaky start. However, I do not want it to go on forever. I’m keen to see Offred try to truly destroy Gilead in season 3, but then I’ll be fine with that being it.

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