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A Guide for The Return of The Handmaid’s Tale

Warning: spoilers for season 1 of The Handmaid’s Tale.

Last year we saw the horrific reality of Gilead on our screens: the systematic processing of women based on their fertility in a militant theocracy after a civil war in the US. Based off Margaret Atwood’s renowned novel, The Handmaid’s Tale quickly became one of the most talked about TV shows of 2017.

Now it’s back with a second season.

And it is filled with fire and blood and pain.

The first two episodes aired on SBS On Demand on April 25th. Much like its predecessing season, it rings true in our political climate present day. To recap, the end of season 1 saw the protagonist Offred (Elizabeth Moss) being dragged into the back of a black van. She gazes at us, into the darkness encompassing her. Where is she going? Is it her freedom on the other side or a swift death?

Source: George Kraychyk/Hulu

The novel doesn’t go beyond this scene, hence some hesitation from viewers on the creative licence the showrunners will take. We can’t have a repeat of Game of Thrones.

For those of you viewing the second season, here are some tips on how to ensure you don’t end up in a dark place after each intense 50 minute episode.

Have some snacks and alcohol ready (if you’re over 18 thanks).

Comfort food is where it’s at. But stick to something solid or a glass of wine with some cheese and crackers because the intensity of the experience may cause some stomach problems. Also, beware of binge-watching because we all know that bag of Skittles will disappear within the first 30 minutes.

Watch it with a friend or have a messaging buddy.

This isn’t the kind of show to watch alone. You need somebody. The terrible experiences we witness as Offred and other women navigate their way through Gilead and its political restrictions will have you emotional and in need of someone to unload on. Needless to say, if you identify as a woman, this show will have a harder impact on you.

I usually spam a friend with messages as I watch it with them (co-watching something is also an option) and we generally express our feelings with multiple expletives. And crying emojis.

Offred in season two of The Handmaid’s Tale. Source.

Choose between binge-watching or not.

The choice is yours, but SBS Demand last year were able to air the entire first season due to a delay from the US. I have to admit I watched four episodes in a day and literally wanted to cry for four hours. This is not a pleasant viewing experience. It’s dark, it’s twisted, and it’s all too realistic for our liking. But what’s gripping is the determination of the human mind, and these characters are simply addictive. I chose to watch an episode a week after that.

So if you do binge-watch it, wait until the entire season is available which may be for some time as it will be aired weekly.

Have relief entertainment on the side to keep your morale up.

Whether it’s a funny book, show or simply going out with friends, don’t find yourself in a hole after watching this show. While it’s truly fantastic and quality TV, it will traumatise you so take care of your mental health as you view this. You might think you have a handle on this after watching season 1, but believe me, you don’t.

Season 2 is currently being aired on SBS on Thursday nights at 8:30pm and available on SBS On Demand.