When season two of Hulu's dystopic hit series The Handmaid's Tale returns on April 25, the fate of the titular handmaid is up in the air. When the central character, Offred, played exquisitely by Mad Men and Top of the Lake alumna Elisabeth Moss, becomes a handmaid, she is subjected to cruel punishments, rape, and a complete lack of autonomy. Just how Offred gets into this predicament is worth a refresher to remind us just how twisted the show's government truly is.
Despite what the Republic of Gilead, the authoritative government that the handmaids live under, wants to portray, these women are not there of their own accord. Offred, like all of her fellow handmaids, has been chosen because of her unique ability to have children, which is something that most women in this world are struggling with.
Told through a series of flashbacks, Offred, or June in her previous life, is attempting to escape the threat of Gilead by driving to the Canadian border with her husband, Luke, and their daughter, Hannah. The journey is not an easy one, especially with a young daughter. While they are making a break for Canada, they are aided by a man who knew her mother, and later on, a hunter. Even though they are given help, their journey is still a dangerous one.
In one of the most harrowing scenes from the first season, the military of Gilead opens fire and begins chasing after June, Luke, and Hannah as they have to literally run to the border after their car is in an accident. Running off in a different direction from her husband, it's all June can do to clutch her daughter close as she runs and stumbles through the forest. Sadly, she is still captured by the armed men of Gilead and her daughter is taken from her.
From there, she is brought to a training facility where she is instructed on how to behave like a handmaid or risk dangerous and even deadly punishments. Once done with her training, she is forced into the family of the Waterfords, with whom she is supposed to submit to ritualistic rapes that will hopefully result in a baby. Considering the heartbreak of having her own family ripped apart from her and the cruelty she is exposed to, it's easy to see why Offred is eager to leave the life of a handmaid. What season two has in store for Offred, and the other handmaids, will certainly be as dark and difficult as the first season.