The Handmaid’s Tale, which initially premiered on Hulu in 2017, attracted fans with its timeliness following the 2016 Presidential Election. As many people were uneasy and fearful, the TV show immediately gained a viewership due to its timeliness and content matter. As the first season closely followed the premise of Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, the second season delved into darker territory. The second season finale left us with June’s (Elisabeth Moss) triumphant, vengeful glare.
With the dark direction season two has taken, many fans felt frustrated. They thought the plot had merely been repeated in the second season.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter, showrunner Bruce Miller said, “The audience, I think, feels that we’re moving off from the central story, but we spend so much time talking about the things that happen in the book, and what are the next things that might happen.”
He added, “I really think we’re still riding on Margaret’s coattails.”
Crediting Atwood’s literary contributions and the world she created within the text, Miller emphasizes that the version created for TV is clearly a continual testament to the novel itself.
Although The Handmaid’s Tale has taken a different direction—some may say a darker direction—the show is still aiming to maintain the relevance of the text, even thirty years later. Moving away from the text and creating a plot that is merely an extension of the original novel allows the TV show to explore the characters in a familiar, yet more developed manner.
As many fans and critics pointed out, the second season seemed to be a reconfiguration of the first season. This might not be a negative thing, because as Miller claims, Atwood’s text is still a form of inspiration and guidance. Repeating, or reworking the initial plot, allows for Atwood’s novel to continue to be explored.
There are still many questions to be answered by the second season finale of The Handmaid’s Tale. Amidst the confused discussion, however, the decision to keep June as the show’s hero remains.
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