Is The Handmaid's Tale the most disturbing show on television? Can’t say for sure, but I know one thing: It is the most disturbing show I watch.
Season 2 continues the dreary, depressing tale of June/Offred as she tries to survive the absolute hell in which she finds herself. This show has been criticized for the glacial pace of the episodes, but I do not mind the unhurried storytelling style of “The Handmaid’s Tale”. I believe the pace of the show would mirror that of a handmaid’s existence. Think about how slow time must be for a handmaid, stuck in a drab, featureless room for hours on end, knowing that at any moment a burst of terror will wash over you from the latest rape, stoning, or hanging. The viewer can intuit feelings of dread, hopelessness, and helplessness simply by reading the body language and facial expressions of this excellent group of actors.
What a distressingly joyless society the Gileadians have created for themselves. Gilead is an extreme consequence of crossing radical religious fundamentalism with radical environmental zealotry. Predictably, the result is a terrifying, totalitarian dystopia where freedom has gone to die. So, why watch it? Well, in “The Handmaid’s Tale”, the performances are excellent, and the chasm between good and evil is clearly defined. Who doesn’t like to root for good to triumph over evil?
This is one of those shows that either you like it or you don’t. No in-between.