We are back with another episode for intermediates and advanced students.
In this episode, Jennifer discusses the series The Handmaid’s Tale. The series only has 1 season out yet, but season 2 is coming this week. Do you know the series? Are you excited for the next season?
Hello everyone! How are you doing? I hope you are all great! Is it cold again where you are? Or is it hot?
Today we are going to talk about a series that I just loved. And no, it’s not GoT. GoT is still my favorite series of all times, but this series might be number 2. Well, they only released 1 season yet but as it is based on a book, I have a good feeling about how it will continue.
This series, just like Dark and some others, is impossible to just binge watch. The content is just too heavy, there are too many things to think about during and after each episode! Especially women might like it. Not just, of course, but as women I think it is very easy to relate to a lot of the characters in the series. This series isn’t on Netflix and I doubt it will ever be, because a competitor from Netflix, Hulu produced it.
Do you have any idea which series I’m talking about? The handmaid’s Tale. A lot of you may have never even heard of it. But it is a good production with amazing actors and the most interesting story. And just so that you know, This series won 5 Emmys last year including best drama series and best actress in a drama series. That is a lot!
The story happens in USA, but we are not quite aware of that in the beginning because everything is so different. Society doesn’t look like anything we know. Society there is basically divided into 5 groups:
The leaders – the one’s who have power and decide everything (all men, of course)
The leader’s wifes – who don’t have power but have a comfortable life. They all dress basically the same with the same dark green color.
The drivers and security men (called Eyes) – they don’t have power either but have some perks and more freedom than most. They wear black.
The Marthas – they are responsible for the cooking and maybe also for the cleaning of the houses. They all have the same name: Martha. They also all wear the same clothes in a light grey.
The handmaids – they are the only one’s who wear a bright color. They always wear a red hood. Any idea why it is that they are so special? I mean, the series is called Handmaid’s tale. Well, there is one more thing you should know before we continue. Women in the series are mostly infertile. So, the few who can still have children are of high value for the society. So the handmaids consist of this small group of women who can still have children. Since they are so special, one would think that they have special treatment. Think again. This is a very sexist society. Women have no power or voice. So, the handmaids become sort of ‘property’ of the government and get assigned to leader’s houses. They are sent to a family with the only objective of giving them a baby. A couple of months after the baby is born, they are sent to the next family. Oh, and so that they lose their identities, the families choose their names while they are there. You change family, you change names.
Can you even imagine a society like this? It is crazy. And if those women had children or husbands, they were all taken away. The children were sent to orphanages or something like this and the husbands were killed or assigned to do something far away from the wife.
We also see that countries that share the border with US have refugee camps to receive those few who managed or still manage to escape the country. We also see how some groups of people help those trying to escape.
What for me was maybe more terrifying was to realize that something like this could actually happen in real life. That something similar has happened in some countries already. The culture, lifestyle, changed in a moment. With a decision.
In this society everyone is watching, spying everyone. Who can you trust? The handmaids always do things in pairs, so that one can keep an eye on the other, for example. But they also have spies everywhere, called Eyes. If you do or say something against the rules, the punishment many times is death. With the handmaids they tend to be less strict, as they are so valuable. But as we can see early in the series, they get punished too.
They also create whole rituals to justify and maybe lessen the horrible fate of the handmaids. So, every month, when the time comes and the chances for getting pregnant are high, there is ‘the ritual’. The wife of the family also takes part in it. It is very, very strange for everyone involved.
We also see throughout the series flashbacks that tell us how it happened and also give us a glimpse of their lives before this happened. Especially Offred, the main character. A handmaid. She was married and had a little girl. She thinks her husband died protecting her. But we know he survived and managed to escape. Her little girl was taken and at some point during season one, she sees her again from far away. The scene is heartbreaking.
But most importantly, who controls a woman’s body? Who dictates what happens? Is democracy safe anywhere? Or as conflicts and crises emerge a totalitarian government could take control anywhere?
Season 2 will start on the 25th of April and promises to be even better than the first season. If that is even possible. I am certainly looking forward to it!
So, if you like series that make you think or question things, then you will certainly love this one. The story and the plot were really well developed in season one and I expect it will continue so in season 2. I’m way too excited for next week!
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