The Handmaid’s Tale, a television program based on a novel that gave me night terrors even before the U.S. government started hurtling toward its own version of the Republic of Gilead, will launch its second season in April, and apparently this one will be “darker” than Season 1, as if I need that kind of stress right now. (For those of you who have not seen the show’s first season or read the book, there are spoilers below.)
The show’s producers and star Elisabeth Moss discussed upcoming Season 2 at the Television Critics Association press tour on Sunday morning, dropping a few noteworthy nuggets. Like, that the second season will include a guest appearance by Marisa Tomei (!!!!), and that the plot will focus on Offred/June’s pregnancy, a deviation from the original novel that was revealed at the end of last season.
The season will also include a visit to “the colonies,” which the book describes as a radioactive, over-polluted portion of the United States where people convicted of crimes against the totalitarian Republic of Gilead are sent as punishment. In the novel, getting sent to the colonies is considered a fate worse than death, and it looks like the show will do its best to honor that. “[Season 2 is] a dark season — it’s arguably darker than Season 1, if that’s possible,” Moss said.
The first season was so relentlessly depressing I had to take mid-episode breaks to watch videos of hedgehogs taking baths (like this one!), so if this season’s going to really go there, I suppose I will have to steel myself. Executive producer Bruce Miller told the TCA crowd to expect a lot of “horror and cruelty and dread” in the season ahead, though there will also be plenty of “absurdity” that’ll give Offred/June an opportunity to play up some of her dry humor.
“I think June is funny,” he said. “[W]e try to make sure that June is alive and well in there, and the access to that is always the humor.” She’s not nearly funny enough to keep me from adding half a dozen new baby animal videos to my YouTube queue in preparation, but I suppose that is beside the point.
The first two installments of The Handmaid’s Tale’s second season will be available to stream on Hulu on April 25.