The first three episodes of "The Handmaid's Tale" are full of gasp-inducing shocks, but one of the biggest surprises I experienced didn't involve the horrifyingly dystopian plot at all: It was Alexis Bledel's impressive acting chops.
Don't get me wrong, I'm a hardcore fan of many shows and movies Alexis has starred in.
I think "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants" is great and I've watched and rewatched every episode of "Gilmore Girls" to the point of obsession. But despite loving her major projects, I always found myself underwhelmed by Bledel's roles.
It always just kind of felt like she was... coasting? Like, the most important part of her job was to look innocent and widen her big, blue eyes and attempting to put real emotion into her roles was just an afterthought.
I mean, her entire role in "Sin City" was basically just staring into the camera so Frank Miller could contrast her blue eyes with the black-and-white film. Not that that movie didn't have many other issues, but its use of Bledel really highlights what her early acting style boiled down to, in my opinion.
But gone are the days of the strangely impassive Rory Gilmore. Now we are in the age of Ofglen, Bledel's secretly badass character on Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale." And honestly, Alexis is killing it in this role!
SPOILER ALERT: I'm going to be discussing plot points from the first three episodes of "The Handmaid's Tale."
In the pilot episode, I pretty much got the Alexis character I was expecting: a soft-spoken, restrained woman who doesn't seem to have any real edge. But when Ofglen shows off her rebellious side in episode two, Alexis meets the wild new role head-on.
We learn Ofglen is secretly working to overthrow the oppressive new religious authority of the land, and that she is also engaged in an illicit romance with another woman. Obviously, it's a meaty role for Alexis, and she absolutely delivers on all accounts.
She goes from a quiet, passive handmaid, to a smirking, cursing conspirator, to a tragic, tear-drenched mourner in the span of these three episodes, showing off an incredible range I honestly could have never predicted coming from Rory Gilmore.
Where Alexis truly shines most is the final moments of episode three. Ofglen is forced to watch her lover publicly hanged and then is taken to a lab where she wakes up to find she's been the victim of female circumcision.
Ironically enough, in the final scene, it's those same big, blue eyes staring at the screen that were the centerpiece of her role in "Sin City," but now there's a hurricane of emotion behind them. If you don't find yourself clutching your chest watching that moment, then you aren't human.
"The Handmaid's Tale" is streaming on Hulu now.