'The Handmaid's Tale': Alexis Bledel on Emily's 'Crushing' Flashbacks & 'Contaminated' Colonies (Exclusive)

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WARNING: We're about to discuss events from the first two episodes of The Handmaid's Tale's second season. If you do not wish to be spoiled, leave now and no harm will come to you. Under His eye.

Season two of Hulu's Emmy award-winning drama is finally here. Praise be!

In just two episodes, we've discovered that Aunt Lydia has upped her vicious ways, pregnant Offred cut off her handmaid tracker and is attempting to flee the country with the help of the Eye, and we've finally been introduced to the most depressing part of this dystopian society: The Colonies.

A place where the water is full of E.coli, the ground is riddled with toxic waste and the unwomen are worked like slaves until their death, The Colonies are where the powers-that-be of Gilead send their most brutal offenders. Handmaid's Tale executive producer Warren Littlefieldrecently described The Colonies as "terrifying, haunting [and] also quite beautiful in a way."

In season two, fans quickly discovered that Emily, formerly known as the handmaid Ofglen, is one of The Colonies' newest residents. Although she's only been serving her death sentence for a short amount of time, the poisonous air and ultra-harsh conditions have already drastically ravaged her physical appearance.

Star Alexis Bledel revealed to ET that continuing her Handmaid's journey into The Colonies has been an "epic" experience as an actor. "I was just interested to see what came forth," Bledel dished to ET's Brice Sander last week at The Handmaid's Tale's premiere red carpet.

The Handmaids Tale Season 2 Colonies

"For Emily standing there, working in that soil that would be contaminated – I found that while she has lost some hope, she still had this sort of sense of personal dignity," she explained. "Because she knows that what is happening to her is not right! She's able to hold onto that piece, which is something that came to me."

Fans were also treated to a glimpse into Emily's past with a pre-Gilead flashback to her time as a professor, a wife and a loving mother.

"I was so excited to flash back and get to depict the story of who she was pre-Gilead," Bledel gushed. "Show her, kind of, in all her glory. Thriving, doing what she loves, working as a professor of cellular biology and loving being a mom. Her family life. That’s a very full life and how crushing [it was] to see her ripped away from all that. I think you really feel what a shame that is to take things away from a woman who is thriving."

The Handmaid's Tale Emily Janine

Despite her gut-wrenching past and the bleak future ahead, at least Emily now has a familiar face with her in The Colonies. At the end of episode two, Janine stepped off the bus and happily embraced her old friend before being wrenched from Emily's arms.

Actress Madeline Brew, who plays Janine, confessed that she was thrilled to learn that she would be spending season two in The Colonies.

"I had a vision of what The Colonies looked like in my mind just based on when I was reading [Margaret Atwood's] book and [the executive producers] nailed it!" she exclaimed on the red carpet. "Oh my god, beyond my wildest dreams. Just like so creepy and beautiful and sad. It was really, really touching to film that kind of stuff."

New episodes of The Handmaid's Tale's second season drops every Wednesday on Hulu.


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