Spoiler alert: This article discusses several plot points of Season 2 of "The Handmaid's Tale," including Wednesday's finale.
Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" ended its emotionally exhausting second season with a thrilling (yet baffling) finale released Wednesday, as upsetting and tense as any before it. I've heard from several viewers who loved the show at first - and in theory still do - but have decided that they can't go on. Mixed with the daily news cycle and its ensuing outrage and fear, "The Handmaid's Tale" easily becomes too much to bear. Supreme Court nominations are finale enough.
I get it, even as I urge viewers to somehow compartmentalize their anxieties and keep watching what remains a culturally relevant, impressively realized drama about resistance in the face of despair.
That said, this season was a grueling ordeal. A shortlist of the horrors we've vicariously endured in the fictional, post-American, fascist theocracy called Gilead includes a prolonged visit to a toxic wasteland (aka "the Colonies"), where infertile and/or rebellious women, including Emily (Alexis Bledel), are forced to shovel radioactive dirt until they die; a resistance bombing that claimed many lives, including several Handmaids; various beatings and tortures and executions; the public drowning of Eden (Sydney Sweeney), the child bride assigned to Nick (Max Minghella).