The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2: Welcome to the Burn Down

Golden Globe and Emmy winning series The Handmaid’s Tale returns for Season 2 on April 25th. The recently released promo makes me bloody excited for the return of the harrowing allegory.

Here is my take on the promo and what it means about what we can look forward to from the politically charged show’s return.

Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale is completely off-book. But, with Margaret Atwood on the creative team, we can trust that Season 2 is not going to jump the shark.


The promo trailer begins and ends pressing on the theme of freedom.

June Osborne wonders if she is on the path to freedom while literally locked in the cage of an Eye’s vehicle. Then we see bullet casing roll by her feet. The imagery sets us viewers up for an exploration of freedom, rather than a race towards.

Can a person ever be truly free if people have had to die in the pursuit? How can handmaids find freedom when Gilead has invaded their minds and imprisoned them with their oppressive ideology?

The trailer doesn’t hold back in giving us rich, complex and powerful content. We can be sure that Season 2 is going to spend much time following the main characters fights for freedom, in the many forms that can take.

Season 2 will start where Season 1 left off, based on the fact that in the first sequence she is still wearing her red dress and in the back of the Eye’s car.

New Worlds

Although the characters are nearly all familiar faces, the trailer introduces us to new worlds we are going to get to see in Season 2.

The book was limited exclusively to Offred’s point of view (the book doesn’t ever give Offred’s real name), so we have never read descriptions of the actual places. They’ve only been referred to in an almost mythical like way.

Now, in Season 2 we will travel to The Colonies. It looks brutal– but honestly, I am thrilled to see this world depicted. The quality of the filming in the small bit we get to see from the trailer is absolutely top level. As a person who loved the book, I am near giddy seeing what I could only imagine imagining about Unwomen at The Colonies.

Janine and Emily are shown doing hard labor in muted outfits on a dry landscape. Their hope for freedom seems about as dry as the weather, but still, they fight.

The music and grimaced faces we get on the promo hint that The Colonies are not the end for Janine and Emily. Even if they die there, their stories are living on and pushing toward more freedom.

I actually thought that Emily died in the car crash in Season 1, so I was thrilled to see her breathtaking face again.

Emily and Janine are so different. Emily is iron and Janine is soft pillow. But they share a tenacity and will to survive. I love that Season 2 will feature a relationship between the two cast-off handmaids.

We see June in another world too. She burns her handmaid dress (burn it down, sis) and then appears in a blue frock.

My theory is that June is placed covertly in one of the houses where women take care of the children. We saw just a bit of this world when the children were brought to the fancy party in Season 1. WOmen in blue frocks were ushering and taking care of them.

June could be undercover as one of those women and she will find Hannah. I think she will have to choose, then, to stay and be with Hannah, or leave to fight for all handmaid’s and people in Gilead.

Of course, her growing belly will also be part of the decision, assuming June stays pregnant. We don’t see many full-length images of June, or other time indicators, so it is very unclear if Season 2 will cover years, months, or weeks.

But it IS clear that June will not be safe and sound in Season 2, new tribulations await her.

So Much Symbolism

The trailer for Season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale include buckets of visual imagery for us to speculate about. Most prominently featured is the circle.

A circle symbolizes the natural and ideal order of things. It is the circle of life, the shape of the sun and moon, a wedding ring.  It is harmony and wholeness; it is life.

The circles in the trailer are anything but harmonious and life-giving, which tells us that Season 2 is going to be even bleaker and treacherous than Season 1.

We see the following circles in the trailer (and probably a few more I missed!):

  • Red coffins and figures in black on white snow in circles (this is layers of circles)
  • Handmaids pointing accusatorily in a circle
  • A circle-shaped hole in a nightgown that travels across the circle of a bellybutton
  • A group of handmaids and wives in a ritualistic circle

All these circles show how intensely Gilead has disrupted life. I think we’ll see this ruination across new settings and more deeply within the characters we got to know in Season 1.

Color and overhead lighting that shines brightly, almost like a flashlight, are also used as symbols in the trailer.

Season 2 will definitely give us rich and vivid visual imagery to enhance the impact of the stories. I am so hungry for this feast!

Escalated Violence

The Handmaid’s Tale ratchets up the overt violence on Season 2. The promo shows several scenes of flagellation and guns drawn.

The simmering and subversive brutality of Season 1, especially from the quietly lethal Fred, has boiled over. Fred both a belt and a gun in the trailer, and that appears just to be a glance at the savagery he will bring to those who threaten his control in Season 2.

It may sound nihilistic, but I CAN NOT WAIT!

The violence against handmaids also seems more lethal than Season 1 in the trailer. In a particularly captivating shot, we see rows of handmaids with nooses around their necks, waiting to be hung. It looks like a reference to the Salem witch trials. That would be a fitting parallel as with the witch trials, survival was often at odds with integrity.

The amount of character development and raw anguish that The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 trailer delivers is phenomenal. It is very reaffirming that we can expect the same excellence we loved with Season 1 from Season 2.

I would be lying if I didn’t say that I care about the ship between Nick and June. The trailer has a couple good seconds between the two, but it looks like June is in for a rather rough and lonely road this season.

I could imagine the show relying on flashbacks and fantasies to give us the sensual connections that lured us in the first season. I completely recognize that this is not a shippy show. But, life includes sex and sexual relationships. Especially given the complete control and oppression of women’s sexuality in Gilead, I am very excited to see how the lovers and parents-to-be progress on Season 2.

What are you most looking forward to from The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2? What do you think about the trailer? Tell us your thoughts in the comments below!


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