Hulu's mightily acclaimed drama The Handmaid's Tale wrapped up its first season last week with a stunning finale that shined a new light on everything viewers had already seen, as well as opening up a brand new avenue for the story to go, now that it won't be tethered to Margaret Atwood's original novel. And it's been announced that Alexis Bledel, who played the name-changing Emily-Ofglen-Ofsteven, will not only return for Season 2, but she has been promoted to a series regular. While that's good for audiences, I can't imagine that character's upcoming story will be a joyful one.
Hulu put out the glorious confirmation that Handmaid's Tale fans will once again get to touch base with former-Emily, presumably still during her fraught-filled time within Gilead. As a somewhat heavily used guest star, Alexis Bledel appeared in 5 episodes of Season 1, and they were the first five, so viewers went through the entire second half of the season with neither hair nor hide of Ofsteven to be found. Largely understandable, given how others' stories were getting beefed up, particularly where Offred's past and family were concerned, but still disappointing.
But those disappointments can now be swept under the rug (inside a room where one's significant other has to knock before entering). The conversation can now flip from "Where is Ofsteven?" to "How horrifying is Ofsteven's life going to be when she returns?" Spoilers below for anyone who hasn't yet finished the entirety of The Handmaid's Tale Season 1.
Though initially pegged as a pious prude, then-Ofglen revealed her rebellious motivations to Offred not long before being carted off by the haphazardly protective Aunt Lydia and her soldiers, where she was forced to suffer a female genital mutilation surgery. She soon returned with a new family and a new name, as well as a more reserved manner of communicating. But once again, she was overtaken by dramatic impulses and, after stealing one of the guards' cars, she shockingly used it to intentionally run one of those same guards down. She was soon dragged away and put into a van, and her fate has remained a mystery ever since.
The Handmaid hasn't put a baby in harm's way, but Ofsteven's actions would almost definitely usher in some heinous form of punishment, since Aunt Lydia isn't someone who likes to let people get away with shitty behavior. So how will she return, and are viewers being set up for a tragedy here? My pessimistic side can easily see the producers promoting Alexis Bledel to be a series regular specifically so they can kill her off in a surprising manner at some point before the 13-episode season is wrapped. We hope it won't come down to that, though.
Unfortunately, we won't be seeing Ofsteven, Offred, Aunt Lydia or anyone else until some point in 2018. Season 2 is currently being mapped out between showrunner Bruce Miller and author Margaret Atwood, and production is set to kick off this fall, with next year's debut likely happening in the spring. There's a lot of TV coming between now and then, though, and you can discover a ton of it with our summer TV schedule.