(Major spoiler alert: Please do not read ahead unless you’ve seen “Unwomen,” the second episode of Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”)
The Colonies of Gilead — radioactive wastelands being cleaned up by condemned criminals — are not places women are meant to survive. And the fastest way to cut your life expectancy even shorter in these toxic prisons is to get on Ofglen/Emily’s (Alexis Bledel) bad side. Too bad no one told that to Marisa Tomei when she guest starred on “Unwomen,” the second episode of Season 2 of “The Handmaid’s Tale.”
“Well, Emily has been traumatized again and again to such a degree that you know, I think part of her spirit has broken,” Bledel told TheWrap in an interview ahead of the Hulu series’ sophomore premiere Wednesday.
“She’s really decided to take justice into her own hands. So when Marisa Tomei’s character arrives, a wife — which is very unusual in the Colonies — it does sort of trigger something in her mind and she does sort of formulate this, not so much a plan, but she makes a decision to kind of take her down. You don’t know that until the end of the episode.”
The installment saw Emily (Bledel) — a former handmaid banished to the Colonies for several acts of rebellion — meet a Wife (Tomei) who has also been sent there for cheating on her husband. Emily was a cellular biologist before the creation of Gilead and now serves as an ad hoc medic to her fellow prisoners. That background comes in handy when she decides to get her revenge on the Wife for the part she’s played in promoting and supporting Gilead’s misogynist nightmare.
Emily tells the Wife that the water in their barracks is full of E. Coli, and gives her pills to take to stave off infection, saying it’s because “a mistress was kind” to her once.
Later that night, Emily finds the woman vomiting and reveals that she has actually given the Wife poison. “Every month you held a woman down while your husband raped her. Some things can’t be forgiven.”
Bledel said that the episode had her on her toes as Emily, “has this care-taking energy one moment, and little do you know she’s plotting this violent act at the next. She’s an extremely complex character.”
Watch Bledel’s interview above and check back at TheWrap next Wednesday at 10:10 am PT for a new interview with “The Handmaid’s Tale” actress Samira Wiley about Episode 3, “Baggage.”
New episodes of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale” drop Wednesdays on Hulu.