‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 2 finale: Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Bruce Miller and more chat shocking episode

WARNING: This report contains spoilers from the Season 2 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”

Hulu premiered the highly anticipated Season 2 finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale” for select audiences on Monday, July 9, two days before it streamed online. Gold Derby was on-hand at the Wilshire Ebell Theater in Los Angeles, CA for the exclusive sneak peek. A Q&A followed the screening with stars Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski, Samira Wiley, Alexis Bledel, Max Minghella, Bradley Whitford, Amanda Brugel and Madeline Brewer, creator Bruce Miller, executive producer Warren Littlefield, director Mike Barker, cinematographer Colin Watkinson, production designer Elisabeth Williams, and casting directors Sharon Bialy and Sherry Thomas, conducted by “Pod Save America” and “Lovett or Leave It” host Jon Lovett.

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Based on the book by Margaret Atwood, the series imagines a world in which women are forced to become concubines to high ranking government officials in a theocratic dictatorship. Season 2 found June (Moss), a.k.a. Offred, fighting back against oppression as the birth of her daughter approaches. She forms a testy alliance with Serena Joy (Strahovski), who will become parent to the baby thought to be sired by her husband, Commander Fred Waterford (Joseph Fiennes). At the same time, she’s trying to rescue her child Hannah (Jordana Blake) from a previous marriage.

“These two women could’ve been friends,” stated Moss of her relationship with Serena. “They’ve just been placed in extremely different circumstances in that world, but the thing that’s always united them, the thing that’s been the most important to both of them, is their children.” Throughout the season, Miller and the writers reminded the audience “that these children are going to grow up in this place that wasn’t going to be good, and June figures out that if she can get Serena to see that, that this isn’t going to be the best place for her daughter, then she can get her out.”

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Strahovski agreed, saying that for Serena, “her one and only thing is the child. It takes a minute or two for Serena to realize that her child isn’t safe at all,” which ultimately leads her to allow June to run away with the newborn. Still, it wasn’t an easy lesson to learn. “Bruce and the writing team have written so many amazing ups-and-downs this season for Serena to really learn that the hard way,” she added. “To really experience it and get onto the same page as June, and understand that if I’m not safe as a woman at the top of the hierarchy in this system, then nobody is, and my child isn’t either.”

The show has drawn uncomfortable parallels with current events surrounding misogyny, autocracy, and child separation. “Margaret Atwood wrote this book a long time ago, and every time I’ve read it, it’s seemed like it was written by a fortune teller,” divulged Miller, who serves as executive producer and showrunner. “When you sit in a writer’s room and you come up with the worst possible thing a government would do to its people, and then people say, ‘Oh, that has comparisons to real life,’ it’s awful.”

Yet there’s hope for the future, as Miller teased for the upcoming third season. In the finale, June decides to stay in Gilead rather than flee when the opportunity presents itself. “Next season is about fighting back,” he revealed. “[June] doesn’t go back to make friends: she goes back to hurt Gilead as much as possible, and get her daughter back.” The 1,000+ audience of guild members cheered wildly at hearing that.

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Following the screening and Q&A, the entire crowd was escorted by real-life “Marthas” into the exclusive after-party next door to the theater. Fans were seen snapping photos with Strahovski, Miller, Minghella and more as various props from the show — including a life-size portrait of Serena and the Commander (Joseph Fiennes) — could be found scattered throughout the venue. Drinks were served along with quick bites like sandwiches, pizza, vegan meatballs and popcorn.

“The Handmaid’s Tale” dominated the 2017 Emmys in its first season, picking up eight wins including Best Drama Series, Best Drama Actress (Moss), Best Drama Supporting Actress (Ann Dowd), Best Drama Guest Actress (Bledel), Best Drama Writing (Miller), Best Drama Directing (Reed Morano), Best Cinematography (Wilkinson), and Best Production Design (Williams joined in season two, so did not receive this prize). Wiley contended alongside Dowd in the supporting category, while Baily and Thomas were nominated for Best Drama Casting.

Season 2 is expected to prevail again according to our racetrack, where it currently holds a first place ranking with odds of 7/2. Both Moss and Dowd are predicted to win again with odds of 3/1 and 10/3, respectively. Wiley and Bledel are swapping categories this season, while Strahovski, Minghella, and Brewer compete in their respective supporting categories.

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