Season 2 of The Handmaid's Tale is one we won't forget for a long time thanks to a particularly horrific scene. While the madness continued for Offred in the most recent episode of the season, Yvonne Strahovski, who plays Serena Joy, agrees that the rape scene between Serena, Offred, and the Commander in episode 10 is one that leaves the most traumatic mark.
"I just felt so dirty," the actress told The Huffington Post. "I never thought that in my career, as a woman, I would be playing the part of a rapist. I know the commander is the one physically doing the deed, but at the same time I’m holding Offred down. It’s a very jarring concept to think of it that way when you’re a woman – it’s the other way around, usually, in scenes like that."
That's a good point, and a question we've been asking ourself this entire series. Why would a woman watch — and even facilitate — such violent and sexist treatment?
"The way that I see it in her brain is that she is just so fed up with everything taking so long and Offred being so cheeky with her that she just wants the baby out and to be done with her," Strahovski suggested. However, she reasons that Serena didn't know how violent the ceremony was going to be, but the fact that she continues to go through with it in the moment is a reflection of her true, vindictive character — a character Strahovski says she weirdly enjoys playing.
"I love the complexity of playing her and portraying that," she told the outlet, but she understands the people who felt betrayed by Serena's hints of independence, only for her to turn around and do something like this.
"I don’t know if there’s anything that could actually help her cause at this point after doing something so barbaric," Stahovski concluded. "I don’t know, I don’t know."
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If you have experienced sexual violence and are in need of crisis support, please call the RAINN Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).