This One Detail In 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2 Finale Has Fans Completely Puzzled

by Ani Bundel

The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 was full of twists and turns throughout the entire season. The premiere started with the reveal that the van was taking Offred to a faux hanging to punish her and the rest of the handmaids for bad behavior. The mid-point of the season saw Ofglen 2 stage a terrorist attack on the new Red Center. The handmaid letters sent a shockwave through Canada. But there was one possible rebellious moment that went unexplored. What was the fire in The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 finale? Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale's Season 2 finale follow.

Offred's escape with her baby was made possible by the fire, that much viewers know. The timing was too perfect. The fire started and consumed the entire house catty-cornered to the Waterfords in a very few minutes. But before Offred could find out what was happening, Rita barged into her room. This was it, the moment to escape.

Was it another offer from Mayday? No, not unless Commander Lawrence is a one-man Mayday. Somehow, the one-eyed Martha at Lawrence's got word down to Rita that there was a car coming. The next thing everyone knew, there was a convenient fire causing enough chaos to get Offred out of the Waterford mansion to rendezvous with it.

Coincidence? Somehow, it seems doubtful.


With Mayday effective out of the picture, the Martha network is now the most effective communications back-channel in Gilead. Showrunner Bruce Miller described Rita's character and her relation to it in an interview with TV Guide. He said,

Amanda Brugel has really done a remarkable job with Rita. The fact that she's both incredibly strong and invisible in the house is just, it's a miracle of acting that she really has made her both a powerful force and you just completely forget that she exists. And I mean, and that's supposed to be mirroring the way the Waterfords and the people in Gilead just let her fade into the woodwork, on purpose, because that's the role that she's supposed to play. But it's great that she uses it strategically, and so everybody forgets about her, and then all of a sudden she has this freedom to build this network with all the other Marthas. They trade things back and forth, information and cinnamon and cheese and all sorts of stuff. And so they have a life going on there and a resistance network. You know it's used for other things, black-market things, gossip, but now she's turning it and using it as a resistance network.

The best assumption here is news came down the Martha Network that Lawrence was ordering an escape. Rita, knowing how desperate Offred has been to get her child out of Gilead, springs into action. But is the fire related?


Here's what we know for sure: The fire was conveniently timed with the car to get Offred out. The chaos was such that Nick declared the streets "too dangerous" for Commander Waterford to go downstairs and catch Offred leaving. Now, Nick could just be lying through his teeth. But if the fire was started by a rebellious Martha who has warned to burn her situation to the ground, it could start a riot.

The fire could also provide other opportunities for servants, or guardians, or even other handmaids to escape. Assuming said Martha made sure everyone who wasn't the house's owners got out ahead of the danger, there could be multiple escapes currently happening, causing Gilead's soldiers to start putting the place into lockdown and shooting everything that moves.

Either way, chances are The Handmaid's Tale Season 3 will pick up when Offed returns to the Waterford mansion. Someone will likely give us a report of what started the fire and who, if anyone, burned.