Warning: Mild spoilers for the first episode of Season Two
The first season of The Handmaid’s Tale was intense, groundbreaking, and award winning. The second season promises to be even darker, taking viewers not only deeper into the dystopian patriarchy, but also into the world before Gilead, as women’s autonomy starts to crumble.
But there’s one scene in the first episode of Season Two that doesn’t just belong in a fictional near future—it’s something that has likely happened to every single working mother. In a flashback scene, June’s daughter runs a fever, but when the school calls, June misses the call because her phone is in her purse. Instead of calling her husband, the school sends the daughter to the hospital in an ambulance. When June arrives to pick up her sick child, she is confronted by an official who insists on calling her by her husband’s last name instead of her own name–something that many women who didn’t change their name after marriage can also relate to.
The guilt-laden questions are all ones that working mothers hear regularly:
- You work full time?
- You gave her Tylenol so you could go to work?!
- You went back to work when she was a baby? That must have been hard for you. (It should be noted that June says she took a 10-month maternity leave, something very few women in the U.S. get.)
Of course, her husband’s role as a working parent is never questioned. It may have been one of the tamest moments in the episode, but for millions of women, it was certainly the most relatable.