Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is pregnant, but faces an uncertain future as she tries to protect her unborn baby and somehow get back to her daughter Hannah.
Warning: Spoilers for the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale ahead.
In a year of political drama and dissent, The Handmaid’s Tale had an outsized presence. Season 1 of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale, based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel, won eight Primetime Emmys and two Golden Globes. The dystopian drama stars Elisabeth Moss as a woman forced into sexual slavery in a future where a religious group has violently overthrown the US government and set up its own bizarre society, known as Gilead.
The show’s message seems to have resonated. The distinctive red dresses and white winged bonnets worn by the Handmaids have been seen everywhere from Halloween parties to Saturday Night Live skits, marches and social protests.
Take Five/Hulu Season 1 recap
The plot basically follows the lines of Atwood’s novel, but dives even more deeply into the daily life of Gilead, a bloody place full of executions and harsh punishments. Moss’ character Offred, (real name June) has been yanked away from her husband Luke (O.T. Fagbenle), and daughter Hannah, and given to the man known as The Commander (played by Joseph Fiennes). His wife Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) can’t bear children, so that job falls to Offred, one of the few remaining fertile women left.
Other Handmaids include the unpredictable Janine/Ofwarren (Madeline Brewer), who’s lost an eye and had a baby under Gilead’s rule; Emily/Ofglen/Ofsteven (Alexis Bledel), a lesbian punished with female genital mutilation; and former Handmaid-turned-forced-brothel-worker Moira (Samira Wiley), June’s best friend from before the government takeover. Ann Dowd won an Emmy for playing Aunt Lydia, who oversees the often-brutal direction of the Handmaids. Nick (Max Minghella) is The Commander’s driver, and becomes June’s lover.
The first season ended much as Atwood’s book does, with a now-pregnant Offred being taken away in a van, not really knowing if she’ll be punished or saved by the Resistance. But this being TV, the show has been renewed for a second season, so that famed question-mark ending will actually get resolution.
Release date, episodes and timing
The second season will consist of 13 episodes. Two will be available on streaming service Hulu on April 25, with one episode a week after that up until the finale on July 11.
But the show could be around for a while, if showrunner Bruce Miller has anything to say about it. In 2017, he told The New York Times he could see the show running for 10 seasons. “If you hit a home run, you want energy to go around the bases, you want enough story to keep going,” he said.
How to watch Handmaid’s Tale
To watch the new episodes as they drop, you’ll need a subscription to Hulu, which is about $8 a month. If you’re unsure that’s right or you, there’s a 30-day free trial during which you can catch up on the first season. If you’re a cord-cutter who’s recently felt left out from live TV events, you might consider paying more to sign up for Hulu with Live TV.
Have an existing Spotify Premium account? You’re eligible for the new Spotify-Hulu combined subscription detail. Full info is here, but in short, this allows you to lump together the video- and music-streaming services for $13 a month, saving $5 a month over what the services cost separately. The deal is limited to Spotify Premium members for now, but will expand to others this summer.
If you just want to get caught up on the first season to see what all the fuss is about, you can buy individual