Hulu Original’s “The Handmaid’s Tale” started off with a bang when it premiered in 2017. The binge-worthy series is about fertile women being enslaved in a society and given the role of handmaids, where they are only allowed to have children for married couples who cannot bear children of their own. Of course, the series is more than just women having children. The plot is filled with scandal, like when handmaids attempt to escape to the Canadian border; heartbreak when a child is ripped from his mother’s arms before she is then sent to become a handmaid; passion in the affair between a handmaid and her commander’s driver and deceit of a commander cheating on his wife.
The series shows what a handmaid’s everyday life is like through the main character, Offred. Offred is a woman who was separated from her husband and daughter when this new form of government took over. Her real name is June, but she was given the name of Offred when she was placed with her most recent commander, Fred Waterford. The name is a combination of the word “of,” signifying the ownership of the commander over his handmaid and the commander’s first name. This is just one of the many rules instilled by the government in control of what was once the United States of America.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” is set in Gilead, a new United States ruled by an extremely religious form of government that took control after the assassination of the current president. The rulers of the country believe all things should be done through God, from assigning barren women to work as maids in the houses of commanders to grooming the children born before the US became Gilead to be handmaids themselves.
Handmaids were given their role after being taken from their spouses or partners and deemed fertile. These handmaids then attend a “boot camp” that shows them how to behave before they are sent to live with their commander and mistress (the wife of the commander). This camp involves physical and emotional torture, such as electrocution by a cattle prod, eye removal, hands burned, lashes to the soles of the feet and worse.
When they have sufficiently completed the proper training to become a handmaid, they are sent to their new homes where they will go grocery shopping for the commander and mistress and once a month, will perform “the Ceremony.” The Ceremony is a ritual that the handmaid, commander and mistress take part in to conceive a baby. This is done every month until the handmaid becomes pregnant. After the handmaid gives birth and the baby can be bottle-fed, the handmaid is then sent to another household to fulfill the same duty as before.
Although Gilead is a religious place, scandals occur at every corner. Commanders fall for handmaids and handmaids fall for drivers and their commanders. Doctors offer to impregnate the handmaids, and there is even a secret hotel where commanders visit to spend time with the jezebels, or Gilead’s prostitutes. In the midst of Gilead, a rebellion is forming and the handmaids are preparing to fight back against their government. Severe consequences are a constant threat for all levels of the government, and there are twists around every corner.
All of these factors are constantly threatened to happen, but you never know when it actually will.
If you enjoy sitting on the edge of your seat and getting involved in an extremely twisted plot, then this series is a great way to procrastinate all of the homework you should be doing. “The Handmaid’s Tale” is the real deal.