What This Week's Shocking 'Handmaid's Tale' Cliffhanger Means For Gilead

Sabrina Lantos/Hulu

Spoilers ahead for the May 23 episode of The Handmaid's Tale. In Episode 6 of The Handmaid's Tale — to no one's surprise — things got worse! The show left viewers in its last few minutes with one of the more heavy-handed cliffhangers they've seen thus far in the series, and it was a doozy. Ofglen — the one who'd replaced Alexis Bledel's Emily — stepped into a meeting of Gilead's leadership and detonated a bomb. And right now, the effects of Ofglen's attack on The Handmaid's Tale are unknown. The episode cut just as the other handmaids were shown sprinting away from shattering glass, and the possible casualties could prove to be any number.

One thing seems certain, though — things are going to get even more unpleasant for the handmaids. At this point, it feels like that sentence is going to appear in every article anyone writes about this show for the foreseeable future. Now that it'll be difficult for anyone in Gilead to pretend that handmaids aren't communicating with the rebellion underground, scrutiny of their behavior will be even more ruthless, and that's really saying something.

It remains to be seen if the family Ofglen's been serving will receive any punishment on their end. The commanders will probably not look too fondly on anyone who might have knowingly harbored a fugitive, so if the family noticed anything was awry and chose not to report it in order to solidify their chance at pregnancy, it could end badly for them, too.

The bombing does prove that the resistance is reaching even the most unlikely of allies. Ofglen 2.0 was always shown staying in her "rightful place," and she wouldn't entertain any of June's antics. Yet she was the one who ended up committing a violent act against Gilead. Of course, maybe her impeccable behavior on the outside was a way to fly even further under the radar as she worked diligently behind the scenes. But this just means that June can't possibly fathom who might be involved in some under the table dealings.

It also proves that other people must be assisting the handmaids, and those allies apparently have access to roam Gilead — they may even be commanders or guards themselves. Somebody had to plant the explosives, and something tells me that any handmaids — or women in general — wouldn't be left alone long enough to set up something so devastating.

Sabrina Lantos/Hulu

It's worth noting that the bomb is really the first time viewers have seen a handmaid commit any overt, intentional crime against the people who control her, and that could completely change things. Emily ran over people with a car, but that was more of a desperate attempt to flee. The commanders and their wives haven't previously been legitimately afraid of the handmaids themselves, and now that one of them has potentially killed or seriously injured some of their ranks, that sense of unquestioned power over them could be out the window. The handmaids might not outnumber the guards that fill Gilead, but the commanders also know that they can't just kill all of them — they need them. And while they're still alive, there will definitely be some of them plotting to escape.

The most likely course of action from here will be stricter supervision of handmaids. And that probably means that June's life, along with the lives of other handmaids, will become even more miserable, in true Handmaid's Tale fashion. But it's still, in a way, a win for them. Gilead's leaders have failed to extinguish the rebels who seek to tear down their twisted society, and even at an event like this one, which should have had a greater security presence, the commanders were not safe. The handmaids, no matter how meek and innocent they may appear on the surface, could still be scheming against Gilead, and right now, the government doesn't seem to be able to stop it.