There were some pretty disturbing moments throughout The Handmaid’s Tale but the following events below are by far the worst.
Season 1 of The Handmaid’s Tale came to a conclusion last week and while I have many questions desperately needing answers about that finale I wanted today to look back on the events that happened throughout the season and why they were so disturbing.
Before we start with this list I just want to quickly point out that this is in no particular order or ranking.
1) The Handmaid’s Names
If you hadn’t read the book before watching the show then this may not have been obvious at first. I certainly hadn’t realised the full extent of their given names but I had realised that they obviously were not their birth names.
However, it did take me a while to realise the significance of the names and that they were not randomly chosen. I realised just before it was confirmed within the show that the names Offred or Ofglen literally meant Of-Fred and Of-Glen, aka they ‘belong’ to Commander Fred and Commander Glen.
How I missed this at first I am not sure, it may have been everything else going on that made me miss this little detail but, what was truly disturbing was the way they would just be given a new name as they moved from house to house.
That was a disturbing moment for me that, in this world, The Handmaid’s are just passed on and renamed like nothing more than a used up object.
2) The Ceremony
Watching this happen was just uncomfortable. Having to watch it more than once throughout the season was disturbing.
The first time ‘the ceremony’ was performed I just watched in utter shock muttering under my breath WTF over and over again.
I’m sure I wasn’t the only one starting to question what they were watching but it wasn’t just the actual rape scene that was disturbing it was the entire build up to that event. The ritualistic gathering and reading of text, to Offred lying between Serena Joy’s legs, the whole experience was just disturbing to watch.
To later learn about how it came to be as we watched flashbacks of the regime rising and how it was so calmly decided just made it even more worse.
3) There Are No Sterile Men
Sticking with the whole ceremony part this next point was, in my mind, both disturbing and laughable.
For those that are unsure by the title, there is a moment where it is proclaimed that “there are no sterile men”, aka it’s the woman’s fault if she does not fall pregnant.
I almost screamed at my TV and burst out laughing when this was declared. It is just so ludicrous to have this belief but also a scary and disturbing one to have, especially in this dystopian world as it suddenly dawned on me that in this hell Handmaid’s are not only forced into this medieval ritual but if they don’t succeed in bearing children they are given the blame.
4) The Red Centre
A place that if ever comes to light should be the number one target of any resistance force. The Red Centre, a place for a fertile woman to be ‘groomed’ into a Handmaid.
Watching what went on in here was not comfortable. Watching the brainwashing and violent techniques used as they turned ‘sluts’ as they were called into handmaids was just stomach turning.
Worst of all was we revisited this place several times and it only got worse as we learned more.
When Janine received ‘punishment’ and had her right eye removed for being outspoken I thought that was pretty extreme. Ha, how wrong I was.
As we revisited we learned of the other disturbing methods the Aunts would use in the centre, such as Offred having the soles of her feet whipped for running away to how they were all given the infamous red tag.
5) The Mexican Government
Not sure about you but I was left stunned at the end of this episode and not for the fact we found out that Luke was alive.
Again I am going to point out that I had not read the books or anything so had no pre-existing knowledge.
When the Mexican government appeared I honestly started to think, aha, this is how things will change, this is the turning point.
Missed judged that, didn’t I?
I couldn’t believe how this one ended. When the ambassador Mrs Castillo learned the truth of the Handmaid’s role and refused to help I was stunned.
It was disturbing to see how another government would weigh up and decide that another human being should be subjected to this type of cruelty. Not that but to also, knowing what happens to them, negotiate a trade in Handmaid’s as though they were nothing but cattle.
This was a moment that really left a stale taste in my mouth as it was disturbing in so many ways.
6) Ofglens Fate
Before talking about this and why it was disturbing, even though it doesn’t really need much explanation, I just quickly want to give my praises to the actress who played Ofglen, Alexis Bledel.
In Episode 3, ‘Late’, Bledel gives one of the most impressive acting performances I have ever watched.
If you hadn’t noticed during that episode Bledel had no lines. She did not speak an entire word during the episode and every emotion of what her character was experience was felt through her eyes and if you didn’t notice the first time go and watch it again.
However, I digress and return to the original point, her fate.
The ending of that episode was the most chilling and disturbing moment throughout the entire season.
After having to watch her wife be dragged away and hung to death she is then spared due to the simple fact she is fertile. Yet she doesn’t go without ‘punishment’ she awakes to find that she has been operated on and that she has had parts removed in her private area.
Disturbing to watch and even to write was her fate.
7) The Mass Sacking
Lastly on my list of disturbing moments is the scene where we watched all woman lose their jobs and have their bank accounts frozen. This may shock you as it is nothing like The Ceremony or Ofglen’s fate but it still equally deserves its place on this list.
It earns it place because of how easy it happened and if this hadn’t happened none of the rest of the disturbing moments listed and not listed would have probably occurred.
I watched completely mind boggled at how this happened but it was so simple really. Nobody did anything about it and because nobody did anything it was allowed to go on.
That age old saying;
“The Only Thing Necessary for the Triumph of Evil is that Good Men Do Nothing”
Is so relevant in this case, I would change Men for People but that’s a discussion for another day, but, the point still stands that because society did nothing it allowed for all of these disturbing acts I listed before to happen.
So that’s it everyone. That is my list of the most disturbing moments that happened in The Handmaid’s Tale.
What did you think? Would you have added anything else to the list? Leave a comment below to let me know your thoughts.
Image Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SAXy_NyUN6k
Author: Alexandria Gunn
Introducing the chief blogger of FanNews, Alexandria is an Ontario freelance writer, blogger and journalist who does all that while being a wife and mother of two girls.