George Kraychyk / Hulu
Fear and fear. Fear and fear.
We hear these terms so often that it's easy to forget how different they really are. Fear is an answer to what's happening, while fear is your anxiety about what you expect to happen. The Dystopian Hulu Series Handmaid's speech adapted by Bruce Miller of the Margaret Atwood novel has been promised as an accusation of authoritarianism and theocracy, as it is. It has been called a gloomy echo of true historical abuse of the past and perhaps the future, which it is. But in addition to these things, it may be TV's best study of the corrosive, inhumanizing effects of chronic fear.
June (Elisabeth Moss) finished the first season that climbed into the back of a van, pregnant with a child she would be expected to abandon her cruel prisoner, Waterfords, unsure if she was rescued or led to slaughter. She and the other officials – born women are held against their will and rapeseed by men whose children they are expected to wear – had rebellion by refusing to kill one of their own on Lydia (Ann Dowd) aunt. June, as leader of the spontaneous uprising, is expected to be punished severely. She could have should have been seized by fear. But she was not. She had lived in fear at this time for so long and was raped and punished and failed and the constant decline of her humanity that she was almost the one for it. What's more to do than just see what happened?
June, called Offred by her plagues, because Fred (Joseph Fiennes) is the man to whom she has been sent for sexual slavery, is a picture of the never-sure. She is always supervised, she is always in danger and she is valued so little that she knows quite well that the government who has complete control over her (and a local monopoly of violence) will not hesitate to kill her. Her body has value, but her person does not. In fact, it often seems to be aunt Lydia's job to remove it – to replace Jun with Offred, which is an exploration of identity that becomes more attention during the second season, which became available on April 25.
One of the show's visual motives has always been the back of the June head. This is because, among other things, the officials' broad bonnets, which create a uniformity among them, not like a military force or rockets, are interesting from all angles, as well as the red robes they wear. But after the back of the June head also gives the opposite effects of adopting her point of view and concealing her. Her story is deeply personal, but she is also a short while away. Vulnerability mixed with some unsurpassed quality is a strength that Moss took with Peggy Olson on Mad Men as well. June, like Peggy, never really gives everything, despite how often she is seen in prolonged, spell-binding close-up.
As Handmaiden's speech the second season is progressing (now writing the story beyond the end of the novel), juni's control over her response appears to be a defense of despair and forgiveness which aunt Lydia and Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) want to create in her. During the first season, she experimented with hope and often had it lost. She experimented with insurgency and was affected by consequences. Now, with his situation, not as easy as saving (which could be fully rescued in a completely changed country?) Or destruction (remember, she is pregnant with a baby Serena Joy and Fred wants to take care of her), what's next ?
Saying that much prestige television before dealing with the issue of brutal violence is an understatement. But often it is interesting primarily in what is violently doing to us – the way that dehumanizes people like Walter White or Tony Sopran or Rick Grimes must kill. Var Handmaids differs from many of these shows that its focus is on what the constant presence of state sanctions violence is against humanity among the people who fear it – and who can not even complain that they fear it because The fact that they are supposed to fear it is baked in their governments and their social impacts. This violence is not violent violence, but institutional violence. Officials have no one to ask for help, because this is how their lives are supposed to be. You can not call the police when the police are afraid to throw you into a van behind and wreck you to get your hand or foot or tongue cut off.
And so they live in fear, but forever – in horror. In chronic, abrasive fear. It drives some of them crazy, it drives some of them to become violent, and some of them simply go awry and they, because human bodies and minds are not meant to live for so long. So echoes of The Handmaid's Tale is not limited to their specific condemnations of cruelty and sexual violence. They are increasingly expansive enough to comment on any population at any time or place that is in a state of danger that does not disappear.