10 times The Handmaid’s Tale got way too real

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THE HANDMAID’S TALE — “Offred” – Episode 101 – Offred, one the few fertile women known as Handmaids in the oppressive Republic of Gilead, struggles to survive as a reproductive surrogate for a powerful Commander and his resentful wife. (Photo by: Take Five/Hulu)

The protests

You never see exactly what led to the creation of the Republic of Gilead in The Handmaid’s Tale. You get the idea that there was war, and political turmoil overseas. Probably nuclear issues, given the “colonies,” and there are hints in the book.

But the way everything unfolds in the show, you never quite know just what was being protested, or just what everyone was so upset about. You never grasp how the reins of power were handed off from normal, civilized adults to religious nutjobs intent on bringing society under an Old Testament style of order. But the protests you see nonetheless look frighteningly like ones we have now.

I’m sure part of this is due to them visually taking cues from real life events, but there’s more to it than that. The threat of violence, the groups you can see represented in the crowd protesting, and the panic when everything goes south. It’s scary in the show, but scarier because it’s all happened before. We’ve seen this type of outbreak at protests, but the blame is spun constantly to those protesting, so we never point the finger at the atrocities being protested in the first place.