“The Handmaid’s Tale” returns to television this week with its chilling portrait of a near future where women are turned into second-class citizens seeming even darker and more prescient than ever.
The Emmy-winning series moves away from Margaret Atwood’s dystopian 1985 novel, it delves further into how the United States moved from democracy into a fictional totalitarian state called Gilead. Here, pollution has caused widespread infertility, women are forbidden to read, cannot control money, and people spy on each other.
Season 2 has started on Wednesday on streaming platform Hulu, resuming immediately where Season 1 ended last June, with the pregnant Offred (Elisabeth Moss) taken away to face punishment for an act of mass rebellion by a group of handmaids in Gilead. Pre-Gilead flashbacks show the undermining of human and civil rights, where women need their partner’s consent to get birth control, are pressured to be stay-at-home mothers, and gay people lose legal protections to face persecution.