"My name is June Osborne. I am... free," says Offred (Elisabeth Moss) at the end of the new trailer for The Handmaid's Tale Season 2. At the start of this installment of Hulu's Emmy-winning adaptation of Margaret Atwood's 1985 dystopian sci-fi novel, the question is if June/Offred has really made it outside of the walls of Gilead after she's ushered into the back of a van, more or less blindly expecting it to be her escape vehicle, at the cliffhanging end of Season 1.
"What happens when I get out?" she asks. We're curious, too -- Season 1 mostly covered the entirety of the book up to the epilogue, which is structured as an academic symposium analyzing how messed up society used to be set in the distant future. (Cleverly, Atwood wrote unnamed men as moderators of the discussion about discovered tapes Offred recorded, narrating her time in Gilead and all of its misogynistic innerworkings. Even in death, her own story is dictated by what strange men deem important!)
Since we can't look to the source text for answers, Season 2 will be digging into fresh material, though Atwood is "very involved." It looks disturbing as hell: people are chained to heavy-looking locks and sinking in a pool; a whole bunch of red robed women look like they're about to be hanged on a football field (an earlier trailer insinuates Offred might be in that lineup); Emily (Alexis Bledel) is in a labor camp; there are cult-like circles of accusatory women and red coffins and anti-Gilead demonstrations that turn into riots; there's an attempted mass escape.
"There probably is no out," June speculates. "Gilead is within you." Sounds bleak. Looking forward to it.
The Handmaid's Tale returns to Hulu on Wednesday, April 25.