'Series Regular' Podcast: 'Handmaid's Tale' Creator Bruce Miller on Season 3's Dark Path

The Handmaid's Tale - Household- Episode 306 - Elisabeth Moss - H 2019
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Elisabeth Moss as Offred in 'The Handmaid's Tale'

Welcome back to Series RegularThe Hollywood Reporter's weekly podcast dedicated to diving deep into hit TV shows. 

Every episode of Series Regular comes courtesy of Josh Wigler (that's me!), taking a closer look at a new corner of the genre television space. This week, Series Regular launches the first of a two-part podcast focusing on the endgame of The Handmaid's Tale season three, which unleashes its finale on Aug. 14. Creator, executive producer and showrunner Bruce Miller joins the podcast to discuss the events of the season through the penultimate episode.

Needless to say, this podcast features spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale all the way up to season three's most recent installment, "Sacrifice," directed by Deniz Gamze Ergüven and written by Eric Tuchman. "Sacrifice" contains one of the most devastating decisions made yet by June Osborne (played to Emmy-winning heights by Elisabeth Moss), as the woman formerly known in Gilead as "Offred" allows Eleanor Lawrence (Julie Dretzin) to take her own life, all in an effort to preserve a top secret act of resistance. It's June's most extreme measure yet, but far from her only extreme action in season three; indeed, just one week earlier, she murdered Commander Winslow (Christopher Meloni), a visceral way to signal the huge shifts within June through season three.

"She started out the show as one of us," Miller says about Moss' character, speaking on this week's Series Regular. "She's smart, she's been learning her lessons, and she's taken punishment. [As writers], we want to see where she's going to lead us in season three. At the end of season two, she wanted to get her daughter back, but she also wanted to fight from the inside. It's a nice idea, but it's hard to figure out what that practically means. This whole season has been not just her figuring out how to be a rebel, which is a nice word, but also it means fighting and killing people, and sending some others to their deaths. It means making some morally difficult choices. She's learned more and more not only what it means to be a warrior, but also what's her space to navigate in Gilead. 

"One thing I like about June is over time, she can see an opportunity in a way she was not able to before," he continues. "What we get as we move to the end of the season is to see the flower from the seeds we planted earlier in the season. From the beginning, she tries to be a rebel, and she fails, getting people killed. It's that lesson coming to bear. What can she do now that she's learned all of these things and put together all of these pieces? What can she do when push comes to shove? What would she do that would horrify and surprise even herself?"

In addition to June's arc through season three, Miller also discusses the recent Emmy nominations for The Handmaid's Tale season two, as well as offers a tease of what's to come in the season three finale. What's more, Miller will be back on Series Regular in the next episode of the podcast, as we dive even deeper into season three, with the added context of the finale's climactic events.

Hear it all now on Series Regular. Be sure to subscribe to the podcast to never miss an episode. Follow Wigler on Twitter at @roundhoward, and send suggestions for future topics and questions to SeriesRegular@THR.com.

Series Regular is part of THR's roster of podcasts, including TV's Top 5, the weekly TV news analysis podcast hosted by West Coast TV editor Lesley Goldberg and chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg; Awards Chatter, Scott Feinberg's weekly in-depth (and award-winning) interview show focusing on the most interesting talents of the Oscar and Emmy seasons; crafts expert Carolyn Giardina's weekly series, Behind the Screen, which explores the top artists and technologies creating film and TV magic; and Seth Abramovitch's monthly series, It Happened in Hollywood, which revisits indelible moments from 90 years of THR's entertainment history. Other podcasts are in the works.