The Handmaids Tale finale: OK, ladies, now let's get in formation

In the epic season finale, Offred leads a quiet revolution — and leaves some speculation for what happens next.

Offred leads a quiet rebellion in the season finale. - Hulu
Offred leads a quiet rebellion in the season finale.

The season finale starts with a bang when Offred is blind-sided by Serena Joy slapping the shit out of her and throwing her into a wall. It becomes clear that Serena Joy has discovered Offred and the Commander’s midnight trips into the city and she’s not happy. However, after forcing Offred to take a pregnancy test, we find out that Offred is pregnant and Serena Joy is suddenly less fixated with the whole midnight-at-the-Jezebels thing.

Serena Joy doesn’t stop her rampage of shade with Offred. After learning Offred is pregnant she invites the Commander to play Scrabble, telling him that Offred must be good at Scrabble because she is so smart. (Shade Level 1.) Serena then informs him that she knows about his escape with Offred into town because she found makeup on the collar of her cloak. (Shade Level 2.) Finally, she tells the Commander that Offred is pregnant but the baby isn’t his because he’s not man enough to father a child. (Shae Level Nuclear.)

However, Serena Joy still isn’t done. Her mama-bear instincts kick into full gear when she takes Offred on an unofficial road trip. While Offred isn’t allowed to leave the van, she sees from a distance Serena talking to Hannah (her daughter) in front of a boarding school. In a truly agonizing scene, Offred is within reach of her daughter but cannot communicate with her. Elisabeth Moss (Offred) is remarkable in this scene as you can feel the agony and frustration just radiating off her. As Serena Joy returns to the van, Offred unleashes a vicious tirade of insults at her to which Serena replies, “As long as my baby is safe... so is yours.”

This whole time all I can think of is why isn’t Offred opening the secret package? Luckily, after her rather harsh day with Serena, Offred opens the package to find hundreds of letters from other Handmaids; pleas for help, looking for their stolen children, and simply telling their side of the story. This living journal entry seems to breathe life into Offred as she can see that she is not alone in her struggle.

The following morning the Handmaids are called for another execution — however, this time stones are given to the Handmaids, to which one remarks, “I hate stoning.” UGH, ME, TOO, GIRL. I knew who they were going to bring out, but seeing One-Eyed-Janine come into the circle waving broke my heart. Her crime? Endangering the life of her child, and her punishment is to be stoned by the Handmaids. As each Handmaid holds a stone, Janine timidly says, “Just not too hard, guys,” and my heart broke again, into a million pieces. One Handmaid steps out of line and refuses to throw a stone, and is brutally hit in the face by the butt of a gun and dragged off. That is when Offred steps up.

For a hot minute, I really didn’t know what Offred was going to do. She’s pregnant, so I would think that made her slightly untouchable, but who knows? Aunt Lydia approaches her, Offred simply drops the stone at her feet and says, “I’m sorry Aunt Lydia.” Then, slowly, with snow falling behind them, one by one, each Handmaid drops their stone and says, “I’m sorry Aunt Lydia.”

Madeline Brewer, who plays One-Eyed Janine, was beautiful in this scene. Knowing she was going to die and still feeling such love from those around her had to be difficult to play, and she crushed it. As the Handmaids get angrily dismissed by Aunt Lydia with a promise of punishment, the best scene of the season plays out: The Handmaids walk home in slow motion as Nina Simone’s “Feeling Good” plays in the background. Shade level: Off the charts.

At the same time, we see that Moira has made it to Canada — and Canada seems awesome. While at the refugee center she’s given food, and supplies and, above all, kindness and choices. She seems almost disoriented by her lack of restraints. As she’s leaving the center she’s met by Luke (Offred’s husband) who received a text when she came into the center. He says, “I had you on my list,” to which Moira responds, “As family?” and when she collapses into his arms sobbing, if you’re not crying, I don’t know who you are.

The next morning, Nick whispers to Offred, “Just go with it — trust me,” and the episode ends with Offred being taken away by the Eyes in a black van. The Waterfords are powerless to stop it.

End of season.

I cannot image a world with Offred dying, especially with the promise of season two already confirmed by Hulu. However, the ending leaves just enough mystery to keep me waiting on pins and needles to get back to Gilead.

At the end of this season, I realized how much I sincerely enjoy girl-badassery-television, which is difficult to come by. So I’m going to leave a suggestion to fill the void — and I would love to get some back in return. If you’re into SciFi, Battlestar Galactica is a great place to find some powerful lady stories. One of my all-time favorite heroines, Kara “Starbuck” Thrace, is a main character in this space epic. Following an apocalyptic event, the survivors of humanity are forced to outrun their attackers in a rag-tag fleet of ships. However, the robots that are chasing them don’t look like the Terminator; they look like you and me. In this world gender doesn’t exist and Starbuck is the hottest pilot in the fleet. Battlestar Galactica is also streaming on Hulu so you can catch up anytime.

Let me know your suggestions! What other shows can I watch that have the same Offred-leading-a-squad-of-Handmaids-down-the-street vibe? Email me at [email protected].

About The Author

Toni Jannel

Toni's a true Tampa native, equal parts Italian and Cuban — she's practically an ad for Ybor City. She's a USF graduate and a genuine enthusiast for anything with a script.

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