25 of the most memorable TV teachers

13 of 26

Emily – The Handmaid’s Tale

This is a recent development in season 2 of The Handmaid’s Tale, so if you’re not caught up, better keep scrolling past the spoilers . Season 2 of the Hulu drama is completely off script, surpassing the narrative of the 1982 Margaret Atwood novel by the same name. There’s lots of backstory about characters other than June.

Alexis Bleidel’s character, Emily (Ofglen), identifies herself as a professor in the first season, but we didn’t get much detail about her job or her life, aside from being separated from her wife and child. In the second episode of the sophomore season, we learn that she was a microbiology professor, and we also learn how hard it became for her in the early days of Gilead.

As an out woman, the increasingly oppressive regime has deemed her “lifestyle” offensive, and invalidates their marriage. After a student reports her for having a picture of her wife and child on her phone, her department chair yanks her teaching privileges, citing “more time for research” as the cause. Ironically, he is also a gay man, but he’s less vocal about his home life.

Emily translates her education into her life in the colonies. She serves as the de facto doctor, offering advice about hand washing, Tylenol and general triage services. Even though she’s not exactly a medical doctor, her PhD and doctor title make her as qualified as you can get in the chemical wasteland of the colonies.

Season 1, in its entirety, is on Hulu, and new episodes for season 2 are released on Wednesdays.