Its become a beloved pastime for The Handmaids Tale fans to question just about every choice its heroine, June, makes. At times, the Hulu drama is asking for that scrutiny—like when June almost escaped with her infant daughter last season, only to send the baby ahead to Canada while staying behind in Gilead herself. But if you think the constant second-guessing rattles Elisabeth Moss, think again. The actress and producer laughed when the topic came up in an interview this week: “If they think that now, theyre going to have a real ride this season, because shes definitely going to do some stuff that people are going to question,” she said.
The first six episodes of Handmaids Tale season three have been made available to critics so far. We wont spoil anything here, but the general thrust—as foreshadowed by Junes decision to stay in Gilead, to the tune of “Burning Down the House”—hinges upon June becoming a revolutionary member of a resistance network. Those first half-dozen episodes find our red-cloaked warrior navigating the usual conversational minefields and working with the Marthas we met last season to foster rebellion. “The journey that she goes on is so unexpected,” Moss said.
“I think theres this idea, and I think June even has this idea, that shes going to just…thats it. That shes going to lead the resistance, and now theres Martha network, and now theres a Commander whos part of the resistance, and theres all these handmaids, and were all just going to go and put on our red uniform and march and everythings going to be fine. And its just not that simple.”
Instead, the journey ahead will be long and painful—and, Moss said, it will require June to tap into some darker sides of herself. “She needs to be one of them in order to beat them,” Moss said. “She needs to be not only smarter, stronger, but she needs to be more cruel. She needs to be more ruthless. She gets to a point where you could almost call things that she does insane…. Its like she needs to become the craziest person in the room in order to get done.”
“She does sort of lose her mind a little bit, but its in that insanity that shes actually able to do something that no one else can do,” Moss continued. “And shes actually able to make choices for the greater good that are questionable.” Sounds like some more controversial decisions are, indeed, on their way.
With each passing year, the real-life topics from which The Handmaids Tale draws its drama—womens rights, abortion rights, immigration issues—have become increasingly charged battlegrounds. With restrictive abortion legislation currently spreading across the country and nightmarish stories of child separation and various abuses continuing to emerge from the U.S.s southern border, its hard to watch The Handmaids Tale even for a few minutes without being reminded of some recent real-life horror. Perhaps its not surprising, then, that fans reactions to the series have only intensified since its debut in 2017.
“I think at first, it was kind of this realization of the relevance of it in this—Oh, wow, this is crazy. Its so similar, and everyone realizing it,” Moss said. “And then it became this feeling of intense connection…It kind of feels like its gone past, Oh, whats going to happen this week?”
“People take it really personally now, and they take these characters really personally, and their decisions really personally,” she continued. “And unfortunately, it feels like its only intensifying, which I dont think is a good thing. I wish it wasnt. I wish we were a fantasy. I really do. I wish we were just like straight-up Game of Thrones. If I had a dragon, I could just level the whole thing. It would be all over in minutes. But unfortunately, its not.”
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