Warning: This story contains spoilers about the Season 2 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” which was released Wednesday on Hulu.
Much has been said about the cautionary messages contained within the Emmy-winning “The Handmaid’s Tale,” set in a place where women are stripped of rights, separated from their children and have lost the ability to fight for better treatment without endangering their lives.
But executive producer and showrunner Bruce Miller had a plea for the audience in attendance at a Monday screening of the Season 2 finale in Los Angeles: “Tonight, I’d like to ask you to do everything possible to make our show irrelevant.”
Miller’s call for action comes as the characters on screen seem prepared to take action of their own.
In the episode, June (Elisabeth Moss) is given a chance to escape the oppression of Gilead with her newborn daughter, Nicole, and friend Emily (Alexis Bledel). But in the last moments of the episode, she chooses to put her child in the care of Emily and stay in the hope of reuniting with and saving her older daughter, Hannah.
Hannah was taken from June when they were forced to live in Gilead.
“You know, next season is about fighting back,” Miller said at the screening, at which the audience was asked to withhold details from the spoiler-filled discussion until after the episode had been made available for public viewing.
Miller added coyly: “She goes back to hurt Gilead as much as possible and to get her daughter back – probably. I don’t know necessarily the order of those two things.”
Earlier in the day, in a call with reporters, Miller explained that the writers didn’t see June’s decision to stay behind as a choice at all.
“I think it’s a need,” he said, admitting that he personally would have liked to see June escape. “I wouldn’t be able to leave one of my children behind…. it felt very natural to the character.”
Miller also expanded more on what viewers will see in Season 3. Some of those highlights are below.
Bradley Whitford will be back
After debuting late in the season as the eccentric Commander Lawrence, Bradley Whitford will return in Season 3, Miller said.
“I think we’re going to learn a ton about him,” he said. “You never know what he’s willing to do and what he’s not willing to do.”
In the finale, Lawrence helped orchestrate Emily’s escape from Gilead after she brutally stabbed Aunt Lydia in the back. He and June had a brief meeting at the drop-off site where they were going to be picked up by their escape vehicle, and Miller teased, “now that June has crossed paths with him, she’s going to cross paths with him a lot more in Season 3.
Speaking of Aunt Lydia…
Miller joked: “I don’t think Aunt Lydia can die. I don’t think there are forces the world strong enough to kill Aunt Lydia.”
The character will, however, be “transformed by this event,” he said.
That event, of course, being her brutal stabbing at the hands of one her handmaids, with whom she perceives to have a loving, mother-like relationship.
With the baby she’d long hoped for and put so much focus on bringing into the world now gone, Serena will be somewhat lost in the new season and possibly haunted by her decision to let Offred take the baby out of Gilead, Miller teased.
“I’m not sure whether she’d be so quick to let go of the idea of a child just because she made a decision in a moment,” he said.
Nicole on the run
Emily and Nicole’s journey will, indeed, be followed, said Miller.
Referring specifically to the baby, he said, “There’s a lot of people who want her, including the whole country of Gilead – if she happens to get out. So I think it’s a huge puzzle piece of our world…she’s the next generation that they’re all doing all of this for.”