Changes are afoot with the new season of The Handmaid's Tale.
The Hulu series, based on Margaret Atwood's 1985 novel, follows June (Elisabeth Moss) and her journey through the Old Testament-inspired hellscape of Gilead. It's scathingly affecting social commentary, but it's never been known for being particularly optimistic. But that could start to change with the show's upcoming third season.
**SPOILER WARNING: Mild spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 to follow**
As showrunner Bruce Miller told Variety, the tables will start to turn in June's favor now that "she has more tools in her toolbox and feels better suited to the game."
"She’s a very patient character and, especially the way [Elisabeth] plays her, she’s incredibly observant and she’s a great listener," Miller said. This, in turn, will influence her decisions throughout the new season. While Season 2 ended with June handing off her newborn baby to Emily (Alexis Bledel), Season 3 picks up with her back in Gilead determined to free her other, older daughter.
June's newfound confidence will also impact her relationship with others, particularly with Lawrence (Bradley Whitford), who she believes is a means to accomplish her plan.
"The fact that June stayed for her child — the fact that she actually went full-force and tried to get the kid back — [that’s] balls-out. And that kind of balls-out, very strong decision-making by June I think inspires and changes Lawrence over the course of the season. She’s not Emily sitting in the room; she’s constantly saying, 'Do this for me, do that for me, help me do this or that.' And he reacts in good and bad ways, as all of us would."
Speaking of Emily, the show will also spend time following up on her journey to Canada, where she's now living as a refugee.
"One of the things we’re exploring is that Gilead is within these people and it changes them forever," Miller explained. "To me, it doesn’t tell the brutality of the story of a place like Gilead if you get out of there and everything’s fine. That’s not the way it works. So for Emily, I loved the story of her in this season trying to figure out a way to be some version of herself again."
The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 premieres on Hulu this Wednesday, June 5.