The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 finale will leave you gasping, swamped with speculation, and probably teary-eyed to boot. Here are a few hints for “The Word.”

Eden casts a shadow

Young Eden may have sacrificed her life for love in last week’s episode, but the shockwaves of her choice reverberate powerfully in The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 finale. Eden herself might be gone, but the people and things she leaves behind hold both lessons and challenges for the rest of the Waterford household.

Throughout “The Word,” Eden and Isaac’s devoted defiance acts as a goading force for Gilead, generating both for shocking evil, and unanticipated good. It may be cold comfort in the face of last week’s tragedy, but this is The Handmaid’s Tale — we’ll take what we can get.

Serena takes a risk

One character with significantly loftier ambitions in The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 finale is Serena Joy. With her daughter’s future front of her mind, Serena decides to roll the dice on one of Gilead’s most sacred tenets.

Serena’s choice is an act of brazen faith in the style that only she can manage, and it serves as a shattering climax to her story. What’s more, Serena’s actions serve to propel forward a series of events that will change Mrs. Waterford’s life forever.

Emily makes a decision

Speaking of lives changing forever, “The Word” finally gives us the Emily action that we’ve been waiting for. Continuing to seethe in Commander Joseph’s funhouse of horrors, Emily is driven as close to her original arc in Margaret Atwood’s novel as we have seen since season one. The fallout is violent, sudden, shocking, and inevitable, and will leave viewers guessing until the very end.

Rita takes action

The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 finale also offers an opportunity for Rita. Long in the shadows of the main action, Rita finally gets the chance to respond to the bloody chaos around her. Demonstrating the pure, desperate bravery of a consummate survivor, Rita steps out of the background and makes an indelible impact on the events to come.

June chooses a path

And just what are those events to come? Well, there’s not much I can say about the final act of “The Word,” but I can promise that June’s choices are every bit as enigmatic and iconic as the conclusion of Atwood’s novel.

Poised between her past and her future, June decides on a way forward that is sure to spark debate among viewers. Every bit the “point of no return” that is faced by Serena, Emily, Rita, and the other women of Gilead, June faces the impossible and comes out the other side… but exactly what her chosen future holds, we’ll just have to wait for The Handmaid’s Tale season 3 to find out.

The Handmaid’s Tale season 2 finale, “The Word,” begins streaming on Hulu on July 11.

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