[Warning: This story contains spoilers from the entire first season of Hulu’s The Handmaid’s Tale.]
One of the biggest frustrations for fans who read Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel The Handmaid’s Tale is that, other than the Historical Notes chapter at the end of the story, there is no clear-cut answer on what happened to Offred (Elisabeth Moss) after she was extracted from the Waterford household, or any clues as to what became of her unborn child.
But while the first season of the Hulu series wrapped in much the same vein as the novel, the series has already been renewed for a second season. And so it plans to answer some of those questions in the near future as it veers a little further from the source material, giving viewers answers they’ve been waiting more than three decades to find out.
Given the extended storylines and the open-ended nature of the first season, however, Offred’s future isn’t the only thing to consider. Here are nine burning questions heading into season two.
1. Is Janine Alive?
Poor Janine (Madeline Brewer). Gilead was harder on her than almost every other handmaid, and considering how awful things are for everyone that’s saying something. After losing an eye, a baby and her sanity, Janine was sentenced to death by stoning in the finale. But when the other handmaids were unable to complete the task, Janine’s fate was left up in the air. Will she be shown mercy, or something worse in the near future?
2. What About Ofglen/Emily?
It seems pretty obvious that the punishment for killing a guard would be death, but if the offender is a fertile handmaid does that sentence then get put on hiatus for the sake of potentially having children? Would this system attempt to reform someone like Emily (Alexis Bledel) again, or was she actually executed following her joyriding scene in the market?
3. Where Did They Take Offred/June?
Much like in the novel, June was shockingly extracted from the Waterford household, causing both Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) and The Commander (Joseph Fiennes) to demand to know what she had done. Nick (Max Minghella) appeared to know where Offred was going, but was it for good or bad? Did he report that he was concerned about her safety following The Commander and Serena’s behavior? Or were the guards coming to take Offred actually resistance members in disguise? Or, was she really being dragged off to be punished for failing to stone Janine? Her whereabouts will undoubtedly be the biggest question heading into the new season.
4. Will Nick Meet Up With Her?
Viewers can’t forget that June is pregnant with Nick’s baby, so he has something of a personal investment in her welfare (and that investment extends beyond their short-lived fling). If he did have some hand in helping her to “escape,” will he meet up with her, or will he continue to serve and spy in the Waterford household?
5. How Will That Affect the Waterfords?
Just when Serena was about to have a pregnant handmaid, it was all taken away from her. She learned that her husband hadn’t changed his straying ways, and that he was still causing plenty of psychological damage to the women in this world (at this point in the story, it seems pretty clear the first Offred hanging herself was a direct result of his behavior). Will they find out what happened to Offred? Can their marriage be repaired? Will they get a new handmaid? Or could they suffer a fate similar to the Putnams after what happened to Janine?
6. What Will Rita Do With Those Letters?
A fringe character from the beginning, Rita (Amanda Brugel) grew on viewers as she and Offred came to an understanding in the Waterford household. She seemed like the only person Offred could entrust with those letters once she was unceremoniously marched to the van, so all of the stories of the women whose lives had been ripped away now fall in her hands. Will she join the resistance? Burn them out of self-preservation? Get them shipped to Canada? Whatever happens, it seems like having possession of such written material is akin to holding a live grenade.
7. Will Moira and Luke Look for June?
If there was one happy ending from the finale, it was Moira (Samira Wiley) escaping to Canada and reuniting with Luke (O-T Fagbenle). But now that June’s husband and her best friend have reconnected, what happens next? Do they continue the search for June? Can Moira even help given that she has no idea that June was “arrested?” And won’t they each have a ton of personal demons and feelings of guilt to wade through before they’re even in a position to help anyone else?
8. What Will Happen to the Baby?
One of the biggest question marks is: What happens to the unborn child that June is now carrying? If she was arrested, does it go back to the Waterfords? Will it be placed in another household? Could June go on the run with it? Or will it even survive all nine months and the birthing process? Given the low birthing success rate in Gilead, getting pregnant is just the first of many battles to come.
9. Will June’s Mother Ever Show Up?
June’s mother was such a huge and influential part of Atwood’s original story, yet she wasn’t present in the TV version. The only mention of her came when June and Luke were attempting to escape, and her existence was brought up in passing. Given how much the second season looks to focus on motherhood, pregnancy and fertility, it seems inevitable that she could show up. Whether that’s in the present-day colonies, a past-day flashback or something else entirely remains to be seen.
Thoughts? Sound off in the comments below.
All 10 episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale are currently available on Hulu. Bookmark THR.com/HandmaidsTale for full coverage.