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All of your ‘Handmaid’s Tale’ season 2 finale questions, answered

Blessed be the answers to these season finale cliffhangers.

"The Handmaid's Tale" season 2 finale saw Offred face a difficult, and controversial, decision. Photo Credit: Hulu / George Kraychyk

Warning: “Handmaid’s Tale” season 2 finale spoilers below.

The second season finale of “The Handmaid’s Tale” came with one blow after another to the structure of the crumbling Republic of Gilead.

Between Eden’s execution, Serena Joy’s attempt to take a stand and June’s last-minute choice to stay in Gilead when the opportunity to escape finally presented itself, the episode wrapped up a season that was arguably far darker than the first.

“I do feel like every episode where it ends and Offred is alive, June is alive, it’s a huge victory and a story worth telling,” says Bruce Miller, the showrunner behind the Hulu series.

Earlier this week, Miller hopped on a conference call to break down the finale’s biggest cliffhangers: Do Emily and Nicole really escape the regime? Was Emily’s backstabbing blow to Aunt Lydia fatal? And what will happen to Nick, Rita and the countless others who risked their lives to move June and her newborn through the shadows to safety? Praise be!

On Emily and baby Nicole’s escape attempt:

We have not seen the last of Emily and Nicole . . . We’ll follow them on their journey after they leave Offred in the tunnel . . . There are lots of people who want [Nicole] including a whole country of Gilead, if she happens to get out. It’s June’s child and just as much as Hannah has been a huge part of our show, Nicole’s gonna be a huge part of our show, whether it’s in influence or whether it’s in reality with someone holding them in our arc.

On Emily’s new commander, Lawrence:

I think we’re gonna learn a ton about him [in season 3]. I mean, I think the fact is, he’s our Oppenheimer character. The man who designed an atomic bomb and then saw what it could do. I mean, he’s a designer of Gilead, and now he’s seen what it can do. So he is a master of contradictions and dangers, so you never know what he’s willing to do, what he’s not willing to do.

He’s been protecting himself for a very long time. And his adventure to keep himself alive certainly is not always an adventure that’s going to keep the people around him alive. But now that June has crossed paths with him, she’s gonna cross paths with him a lot more in season three.

On the potential consequences for the rebellious choices made by Nick and Rita:

I think [Rita is] gonna have to do some very deft dancing to get around her comeuppance for her complicity in this . . . She is not invisible, and she’s not domestic. She is a woman in full, and you get to see kind of the power that brings to bear. And I think, in season 2, we’re gonna see some of the results of her coming out of her shell and becoming a little more visible.

Yes, there will be repercussions for Nick. The interesting thing about Nick and Fred is that power dynamic between the two men and the two positions that they hold . . . I don’t think it’s a hammer that the commander can bring down so easily on Nick, or would want to. Having a person like Nick on your side even he has, well, magic entanglements that cause him to be a little bit untrustworthy. That doesn’t mean there aren’t things that they can do for each.

On Aunt Lydia’s fate:

I don’t think there are forces in the world strong enough to kill Aunt Lydia. And by extension, the incredibly strong, fabulous Ann Dowd, I think is with us for a long, long time as well. Aunt Lydia doesn’t die, she’s transformed by this event: The fact that one of her girls . . . has literally stabbed her in the back.

On June’s “impossible” decision to stay:

I don’t think it’s a choice about whether you’re gonna stay behind to try to rescue your child, I think it’s a need to. I wouldn’t be able to leave one of my children behind. So, when we got to it, it felt very natural to the character. It is an impossible choice, but we are faced with those all the time, so it is interesting to see what she does.

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