June’s daughter, Hannah, has been one of her incentives to stay alive throughout the horrifying events of The Handmaid’s Tale. Her child was tragically ripped away from her as they, along with June’s husband, attempted to escape the country. A new season is about to debut on Hulu on April 25, so where is Hannah in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2?
For now, viewers can assume that she’s still back at whatever boarding school or children’s facility she was living at when Serena dangled her in front of June last season. In a particularly troubling scene, Hannah was paraded outside while June watched from inside a locked car, desperately trying to get to her daughter to no avail. Serena’s point in pulling this cruel move was to let June know that she knows who Hannah is and where Hannah is. She leverages that knowledge to try to ensure that June doesn’t do anything to harm the baby she’s carrying for Serena and Fred.
Star Elisabeth Moss told Entertainment Weekly that filming that scene was the most difficult of the entire season for her, not just because of the emotion, but because she put her entire body into it, like a mother who was truly trying to scrape her way to her daughter. "It was physically very difficult because we were in that car, and it was hot, and I was throwing myself around the car and screaming and banging my hands against things, banging my body against things, and I got all these bruises," Moss said. "I remember after the first take of it, which wasn’t even a close-up of me — it was a shot from behind, a quote-unquote wider shot in the car — I sat there and my whole body was sort of paralyzed, I couldn’t move."
The only consolation that June might be able to take from the entire situation is that Hannah is likely well taken care of, at least physically, despite what unsavory thoughts and beliefs might be planted into her brain. Children are the most sacred thing in Gilead, and apparently across the world, as people in this version of the near future struggle to conceive or carry babies to full term.
Though Hannah can technically be considered safe, it seems clear that June would never want her to grow up in the society that treats women in such a way, and that was evidenced when she managed to get a note to her husband, Luke, who miraculously escaped to Canada. When a delegation from Mexico was visiting Fred last season, one of the members insisted that he could get a message to Luke, and when June had to quickly decide what to scrawl on a notepad, she said to save Hannah.
June also appealed to Fred, an unlikely ally, to say the least, asking him if he would protect her daughter. It’s interesting that in a society that places so much value on motherhood and raising a family, that actual mothers would be ripped away from their children, but that just highlights the power dynamic and the disturbing rules that have emerged here. June might not be considered a mother with all the rights that come with that in the new world, but according to another Entertainment Weekly interview, Hannah and June’s unborn child will both drive her character throughout Season 2.
“The theme of motherhood is very, very powerful and important for year two,” executive producer Warren Littlefield said. “[June] seeks freedom for herself, for her unborn child, and for Hannah. In this explosive volatile chess game of Season 2, all of her moves are about Hannah and her unborn child and what the future will be for that child. Motherhood permeates the entire year.” Viewers will likely go through this season hoping that June finds a way to escape Gilead along with her unborn child and Hannah, but if the rulers of Gilead have proven anything, it’s that achieving any amount of freedom will be an uphill battle.
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