This post discusses plot points from the first three episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale.
It’s a startling moment in the first episode of The Handmaid’s Tale: At a violent gathering known as the Salvaging, Offred (Elisabeth Moss) is told that her friend Moira (Samira Wiley) is dead—or at least presumed dead. The unnervingly cheery Janine (Madeline Brewer) explains that Moira attempted to run away, was caught, and sent to the Colonies where she probably met her end.
But Wiley knows you probably don’t believe that’s true. “I think the collective feeling, for me and people who I’ve talked to who have seen it, is that you just can’t believe it, and not in the way of not in the way of like, ‘Oh my gosh, I can’t believe it.’ But literally people don’t believe that that is true,” Wiley tells The A.V. Club. “Rightfully so. Because of the person that she is. I’m so attracted to playing a character like this. I think there are so many things about her that I want for myself to be able to live my life in that way. She’s just such a person that is going to survive.”
For the rest of the first three episodes, which debuted today on Hulu, Moira is only seen in flashbacks. We see her and Offred in a world that looks an awful lot like ours. Even when that begins devolving, as it does in the third, it has an eerie resemblance to our present. Stripped of their rights, Moira and Offred take to the streets in protest. “There are so many protests being executed at the same time that we’re filming this. And you have a person like Moira who is literally on the front lines,” Wiley said. “She’s going to be the one that’s making a speech at the Women’s March. She’s not just going to be attending. Going through that and realizing how close we were to what is going on in our real world—to be honest, it was quite scary and it made it maybe a little too real.”
As for what actually happens to Moira, those viewers that have read Margaret Atwood’s novel may know something of her fate. “I think that people who are just fans of the book and are fans of the story and of Moira, let’s just say they won’t be disappointed by what happens,” Wiley said. “She doesn’t succumb. You’ll be proud.” Beginning May 3, new episodes will debut weekly on Hulu.