Following Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement announcement in early July, the already popular comparisons between American politics and Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale were kicked up a notch. Or as Alex Zaragoza wrote for The Daily Beast, “The current season of The Handmaid’s Tale has been brutal. And so has America as of late.” But what can we expect from The Handmaid's Tale season 3?
The Handmaid's Tale season 3: What to expect after the season 2 finale
Whether or not these comparisons are too far-fetched or too on-the-nose, one thing is clear: The Handmaid’s Tale has become a pop cultural phenomenon. Even if watching it is as “masochistic” as Zaragoza claims, critics and Hulu subscribers alike can’t take their eyes off of it. Which is why, as the second season concludes with “The Word,” it should come as no surprise that a third season is on the way.
In May, Variety reported that Hulu had renewed the Emmy and Peabody Award-winning series for a third season. Elisabeth Moss and the other major cast members who survive the second season finale’s events are all expected to return, but aside from the renewal itself, nothing is known about The Handmaid's Tale season 3.
Considering what happened in last week’s penultimate “Postpartum,” however, we can make a few guesses as to what “The Word” has in store for the willing and unwilling residents of Gilead. Who knows? There might even be something there that hints at what’s to come next season.
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The second-to-last episode of season 2 ended with the execution of Nick’s child bride Eden Spencer, and her lover Isaac, one of the Guardians. Though Nick and Eden forgave each other for their sleights, she and Isaac refused to renounce their sins before the community and were summarily drowned. It’s not one of the most shocking images produced by The Handmaid’s Tale, but it has a surprisingly strong effect on Offred/June (Moss) and the other Handmaids.
As writer and producer Eric Tuchman told The Hollywood Reporter, witnessing Eden’s death brings June and Serena Waterford (Yvonne Strahovski), the wife of the former’s handler Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), together.
“It’s only Eden’s execution, with both of them witnessing this horrible crime, that brings these two women together,” he said. “It’s such a lovely image of the two of them, these two women who are so often in that opposition, together with [June’s] baby after the execution.”
Viewers will have to wait until Wednesday’s “The Word” to see precisely how this new dynamic between June and Serena alters the course of the entire series, but judging by Tuchman’s hints here, Eden’s death is going to trigger massive ramifications for The Handmaid’s Tale. Not just for season 2, but for whatever he and the other writers cook up for the guaranteed third season sometime in the next year.
The Handmaid's Tale season 2 finale streams Wednesday on Hulu. The Handmaid's Tale season 3 will premiere sometime in 2019.