Season 1 of “The Handmaid’s Tale” is one of the most depressing shows I’ve ever sat through. It makes “Westworld” look like “Rugrats” and “Breaking Bad” look like “Dragon Tales.” Not to compare the merit of the three shows; but at least the former two had shimmers of light interspersed throughout the seasons. When a show’s entire premise is a dystopian theocracy that standardizes sexual servitude for procreation in a world ravaged by infertility, there’s not much light at the end of the tunnel.
Elizabeth Moss of “Mad Men” stars as Offred/June, a “handmaid” in said dystopia (named Gilead—the Biblical origin is not a coincidence), and her entire purpose in this society is to act as a living womb for a high-class politician and his passive wife. Offred and other handmaids are forced into these positions by being the only fertile women left in the post-American totalitarian state.
If this seems intriguing to you, I would highly recommend the first season; although it’s bleak wall to wall, it’s superb television. If you’ve already seen it like I have, I’m going to give some thoughts on the recently released sneak peek that dropped last weekend. Spoilers inbound.
First off, the trailer is beautifully made. No words, no plot, just ominous scenes set to a chilling minimalist acapella cover of Buffalo Springsteen’s “For What It’s Worth.” The famous Vietnam War protest song’s lyrics take on a whole new light in front of the Gilead scenery: “There's a man with a gun over there/Telling me I got to beware/I think it's time we stop, children, what's that sound/Everybody look what's going down.”
Next: the colonies! We finally get to see the dreaded colonies, and Janine is there! Will she lead a revolt? The combination of the song and the unease behind every scene just screams “revolution,” which makes sense; the repressive structure of Gilead can’t possibly be sustained. Will Mayday, the implied resistance from season 1, finally burst into the forefront this season? Time will tell!
Ten seconds in, we see an infuriating smirk from Commander Fred spread across his asshole face. Why? Nick and Offred are reunited at some point, even though Offred seemed to screw over her entire free future in the season one finale. Aunt Lydia looks genuinely tortured in a quick scene holding a rope (noose?). What happened to her to make her feel seemingly remorseful? And finally, what is June burning in the final scene? April can’t come soon enough.
Daniel Cohn is a campus correspondent for The Daily Campus. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.