Everyone is talking about the new Hulu television adaptation of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, and you would be too if it didn’t look harsh as fuck. Not to worry – here are 5 jaw-dropping scenes that will have you saying “yes, I have in fact watched the new Handmaid’s Tale show. Honestly.”
Warning: Spoilers ahead, both for the Handmaid’s Tale tv show, and possibly for America’s bleak totalitarian future
1. Offred’s daughter is taken away
Holy hell! Right out of the gate this show just fucking hits you with a painfully visceral scene of a desperate mother losing her daughter. Like, barely even one minute in. The performances are so raw and real that, if you actually did watch, you’d probably start wondering if it was too late to switch to an old Friends rerun on Netflix. But you can tell your real life friends that Elisabeth Moss digs deep to portray Offred’s anguish and terror – and they’ll probably believe you!
2. Janine loses her eye
Jesus Jumping Christ! This scene showcases the casual brutality and cruelty that makes up Offred’s new world, and also would make you need to go take a walk for a few minutes if you ever actually watched it. When fellow Handmaiden Janine (Madeline Brewer) mouths off to one of the sadistic Aunts responsible for indoctrinating them, her right eye is torn out and– you know what? That’s enough for you to get it. Just say, “and the scene with that girl’s eye?” to any co-worker you talk to and they’ll totally believe that you didn’t spend Sunday night watching Get Hard with Kevin Hart and Will Ferrell.
3. The Salvaging
Aw fuck me… The climactic scene of episode one sees the Handmaidens gathered to violently attack a man convicted by the state, by beating him (and a piece of the viewer’s soul) to death. Look, this show is obviously a must-watch feminist masterpiece, but after a long day of work and the horror show that is today’s news we get it if you’re not stoked to watch a flock of brutalized women forced to become complicit in their own dystopian regime. We get it.
Also, outstanding performance here from Gilmore Girls’ Alexis Bledel!
4. The Ceremony
Ooooooookayyyyy. Deep breaths. This one’s less of a violent gut punch, and more of an all-around emotional pummeling. In the grim future of Gilead, where mass infertility has led a theocratic government to force healthy women into reproductive servitude, Offred must endure repeated… you know… with the Commander, played by Joseph Fiennes, who you will barely be able to remember was in Shakespeare In Love. Gosh, remember how romantic and charming that movie was? Honestly, if you can’t psyche yourself up to watch The Handmaid’s Tale, maybe give that flick a re-watch. When you’re done, just tweet about how the Ceremony scene was “chilling” and maybe throw in a “fuck Mike Pence” if you want to look extra topical. We’re not here to judge.
5. Offred plays Scrabble
Let me just finish this shot. Whew!! Where were we? Okay, now hear us out. The scene where the Commander invites Offred to secretly play Scrabble may not look like the most intense scene in the show. But that’s what makes it all the more horrifying, because behind his seemingly innocuous gesture looms the inescapable fact that Offred remains a powerless piece of chattel subject to the regime’s cruel whims! There’s literally no hope that her life will get any better, plus the US Congress just voted to make rape a pre-existing condition, I mean, are we just moving backwards as a society?? That’s it, I’m gonna read the wikipedia entry for the book to see where this goes… NOPE! Nope nope nope. I’m out. This show is too real for me, and I’m gonna go fuckin’ plant a tree, or something.
If you actually do end up watching, tell me how it ends.