The Handmaid's Tale spent all of Season 1 focused on Offred, the titular handmaid of the tale. This second season, the plot has spread out to encompass women of other ranks. Not only did Emily and Moira each get a backstory episode, but Serena Joy has been receiving a sympathetic edit as a Wife, and the new character, Eden, is giving a look at what it is to grow up in Gilead and be married off to someone expected to rise high in the government like Nick. So what's going on with Eden and Isaac? Because Eden is suddenly kissing a man who is definitely not her husband. Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 2 follow.
Waterford's household has grown this season, from last year's three-person staff of Offred, Rita the Martha, and Nick the Chauffer. This year Commander Waterford has added Eden by marrying the 15-year-old girl to Nick. Not only was Waterford's way of removing Nick from the Offred equation, but she functions as an assistant in the kitchen during the day to Serena Joy and Rita.
He also added Isaac, a young and cruel man, who is brought aboard to "watch over things" while the Waterfords were in Canada last week and has yet to take his leave.
The key word for both these characters is "young." Gilead has only been in existence for a few years, but already both of them see it as "the way things have always been." Eden, who spent most of her life as an only child on a farm, dreams of becoming a Commander's Wife, as if there's no other option for her. Isaac clearly believes in the system and has demonstrated he sees handmaids as less than human. As Rita notes, he's a 20-year-old kid who can order her to do anything, and she has to obey. The system works for him.
But they're also lonely children in a screwed up world, who are suddenly both living in this great house, away from their families for the first time. Eden is sad and miserable. She just wants someone to pay attention to her, and her husband sure isn't. Meanwhile, Isaac has shown himself to be the kind of guy who likes feeling big and powerful and manly. Is it really so surprising he's developed a crush on Eden, a damsel in distress in a miserable marriage to a fiend who doesn't love her?
It seems like the two of them are up to something, but in reality, it's nothing more than teenage relationship drama in a different setting. It's not even clear Eden is attracted to Isaac, as much as he was a ploy to make Nick jealous, one that didn't work.
That being said, their innocence, and their belief in the system make them both incredibly dangerous.
Eden left her farm and her home to come to the city with dreams of a better life, an easier life, a life of a woman who is a Commander's Wife. She's a true believer, and she's too young to understand everyone in the world doesn't see things in such stark shades of black and white. That Nick is not in love with her is the end of her universe. That he might not want to grow up to be a Commander would blow her mind.
Issac does want to grow up to be a Commander. He believes in the system, and he believes Eden is a woman worthy of his affections. There's just one thing in the way: the man she's married. How long before Isaac and Eden both see Nick as an obstacle to be removed, the only thing keeping them from happiness? The only problem is this isn't a romance novel, and Nick's no bad guy. Someone's going to get really hurt in this drama before it's all over.