SPOILER ALERT: Warning, this article contains spoilers from The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 finale.
The Handmaid’s Tale delivered a harrowing Season 2 finale that featured June escaping to yet another known future. The entire second season has gone past the events of Margaret Atwood’s novel, leaving readers and viewers alike in completely uncharted territory. The birth of June and Nick‘s child was a spark which changed the entire household — and maybe the course of the show. And while we now know more clearly where some character’s loyalties lie, the finale still left many questions as to where the Hulu series will go next.
Here are the biggest questions we have after watching “The Word”.
Is Aunt Lydia Alive?
In one of the most shocking moments of the finale, Emily stabs Aunt Lydia with a knife and then pushes her down a flight of stairs before repeatedly beating her. Emily has faced perhaps the most abuse at the hands of Gilead; not only was she separated from her wife and son, but she watched her lover get hanged, was subjected to a clitoridectomy, and was sent to The Colonies only to be brought back to serve as a Handmaid again. Emily’s response is to take action directly against the woman that has caused so much of this pain. Aunt Lydia is last seen on the floor, covered in blood. Her fate is unknown.
The loss of Ann Dowd as Aunt Lydia would be an incredible blow to the show. She has managed to infuse the character with such a precise mix of sympathy and evil, making her performance stunning to watch. In terms of the events of the show, it would be interesting to see how Gilead would handle losing such a faithful and strong soldier as Aunt Lydia. Regardless of how the Handmaids felt about her, she always believed she had their best interests at heart. Another Aunt might not feel the same way which could stir things up.
What is June’s Plan?
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 finale ends much like Season 1, with uncertainty about June’s future. At first it looked like June was finally going to escape to the Great White North. She had her baby. She was reunited with Emily. So it was surprising when she refused to enter the van and chose to leave Holly/Nicole.
The most logical assumption is that June is going to save Hannah. Her motivation for survival has always been her children. June would never be able to forgive herself for escaping to safety while leaving her daughter behind. Gilead has always been a horrific place for women, but the last few episodes have made it abundantly clear just how bad it can be. With her new knowledge of the Martha underground, June can potentially save not only her daughter, but work with them to help other Handmaids as well.
What Will Happen to Serena Joy?
The birth of Nicole changed Serena Joy. She suddenly realized the kind of world her daughter would have to grow up in. This prompts her to take drastic action, including confronting the Sons of Jacob and reading (an act illegal for women). Most importantly, Serena also allows June to escape along with the baby, the most valuable commodity in Gilead.
Serena has already lost a finger for her transgressions and now her child. Her actions are of selfless mother who just wants a better future for her child. Her future, especially if Fred learns of her actions, will not be a good one. But now her eyes are open. Serena sees more clearly the kind of society she helped to create and could be an unlikely participant in changing Gilead’s future. That is if she is not punished first.
How Will Fred React to the Events of the Finale?
Commander Waterford has never truly had control over his household. Rita was plotting right under his nose, his wife aided a Handmaid in escaping with their child, and his driver was was working against him. As a high ranking government official, these events will not reflect positively on Fred. He has never handled dissent well, how will he act in the face of this open rebellion?
Fred’s response to the events of the finale may be the most interesting question going into Season 3. Fred is a wild card. He could ruin everything or this could be a turning point for him. He has always followed the letter of the law, except when it comes to June. Could a desire to protect her and his child create a change in him?
What is Next for Gilead?
Gilead seems to be at a tipping point. From the Handmaid bombings to the Canadian protests, change is in the air. The show has given us a glimpse of the people working behind the scenes to bring this society down. The big question is, what will happen next?
So far the actions taken against Gilead have mostly been done in secret. The next step would seem to be a more open rebellion. Could the next season of The Handmaid’s Tale feature citizens more actively disobeying their society? It could be another way in which the show could parallel our current climate, something it already does eerily well.
The Handmaid’s Tale Seasons 1 & 2 are currently available to stream on Hulu. Season 3 will return, under his eye.