The second series of the world-renowned Handmaid’s Tale began on Channel 4 on May 20th. The novel by Margaret Atwood sold 250,000 units in 2017, making it the twelfth biggest selling book of the year.
Having never watched the show and being a beer swilling, sport laden, Neanderthal who has no interest in issues of parturiency, infertility and moralistic complications, I dove straight into series two episode one. Here’s my impression of what’s going on.
Nuns have rebelled against the head nun (who comes across similar to Miss Trunchbull out of Matilda) for not saying their prayers properly!
To discipline them, and because she’s religious, compassionate and god-fearing, head nun Trunchbull has devised a despicable plan to hold a mock hanging at an abandoned sports stadium to teach them that if you ‘ain’t willing to spek to gawd y’all an’t willing to spek!’
The nuns are lined up (about a hundred of them) on the gallows and their heads are roughly placed in the noose by, I assume, priests (priests which in our dystopian future look like black-clad GIs with submachine guns swinging around their chests).
At the precise moment the shutters are pulled the hoax is revealed and a hundred nuns are left with a sigh of relief and a mess in their tunics. Instead of mass murder, they will be punished by having to endure standing in the rain for hours holding rocks in mid-air.
But one of the nuns is to be allayed of her accusation because she actually does say her prays to God and does a bloody good show of it and God really really likes her the best.
So she’s allowed to eat soup in the hall, which she refuses because she’s not hungry. So to convince her to eat the delicious soup that’s been prepared for her she’s shown a fellow nun locked in a basement chained next to a bed. Because the best way to encourage eating soup is to see a nun in a basement chained to a bed.
Then the nun, after enjoying her soup, is left a mysterious key which she uses to unlock a door and head through a maze of tunnels that eventually leads her into the back of a van which, ironically, has the image of a cow on its side.
The van takes the nun away from Miss Trunchbull’s evil convent and into the embrace of some young chap which she should have no affiliation with whatsoever because she’s a nun…
That’s basically the first episode of the show. But, of course, this is only the impressions of an uninitiated imbecilic ape that wants to watch the Football World Cup and (strangely contrary) A Very English Scandal.
To the fans:
The Handmaid’s Tale is a dystopian story of female oppression, misogyny, the decline of individualism and the threat to civil independence.
The maids are a group of women who hold healthy reproductive systems which are forced into the use of the ruling classes, overwhelmed with infertility.
The show is exceptionally presented. Eerie, mysterious, dark. Everything you’d expect to see in a world ruled by a totalitarian Christian theonomy.
The acting is first-rate led by the brilliant Elisabeth Moss. And the story? An absolute classic that gives counterpunches to the heavyweight champion of dystopian tragedy; Orwell’s 1984.
Watch Handmaid’s Tale series 1 and 2 on Channel4 catch-up now. The new series continues on Sundays C4 9pm.