The new season, which is also available on streaming service Hulu in the US, picks up immediately where the first left off, with June (Elisabeth Moss) being driven away in a black van, unaware of its destination.
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Without revealing too much, the van takes June to an abandoned baseball field. What transpires there proves a brutal reintroduction to Gilead's regime, and viewers have been reacting to the "powerful scene" and other moments in the episode.
"That was singlehandedly the most powerful and upsetting ten minutes of telly/film I've ever seen," one Twitter user wrote 15 minutes into the episode. Another felt they needed a break from the distressing viewing: "Instead of adverts can we have the breaks filled with soothing videos of puppies and kittens to sooth our nerves?"
Others found the viewing experience "brutal", and "addictive... yet traumatis[ing]".
Watch the trailer below.
While season one was based on the Margaret Atwood novel of the same name, the second run is written specifically for TV and moves beyond the novel's plot. If series one was all about “the building of Gilead, series two is the slight undoing of Gilead,” reveal the show’s writers.
Series one also focused mainly on the lives of the elite of Gilead's ruling party, like Joseph Fiennes’s Commander Fred Waterford, and their handmaids. Series two will introduce the Econopeople, Gilead’s working class, and show the Colonies, where Emily (Alexis Bledel) is now living.
The Handmaid’s Tale is on Sundays at 9pm on Channel 4. It is also airing in America on streaming service Hulu