Confession: I’m not watching The Handmaid’s Tale. I tried but I couldn’t make it through the second episode—it’s TOO REAL. When I read the book in college it was like a warning to not take for granted the ground gained and keep fighting for more, but watching the show now, with everything that’s going on and women’s rights under attack—I legit keep a list of potential states I can live in, where my right to bodily autonomy is being protected and it is depressingly short—I just couldn’t stomach it. I’ll get through it eventually, but it will take some time and a schedule managed for emotional distress.
But just because I’m sitting out The Handmaid’s Tale doesn’t mean I have to miss Elisabeth Moss in a feminist drama, as Jane Campion’s Top of the Lake is returning for six-episode second series. Moss once again plays Robin Griffin, the New Zealander working as a detective in Sydney. This series sees Robin back in Australia, where a body stuffed in a suitcase washes up on a beach. Obviously, bodies in suitcases is right up my alley—I don’t know why bodies in suitcases doesn’t bother me but The Handmaid’s Tale does, but there it is.
A new trailer for Top of the Lake shows Robin going to see the body in the suitcase—I love the way she commands Gwendoline Christie to come with her. It’s my dream to someday point at someone and bark, “You’re with me,” and have them obey, immediately and without question. (Where is the adult fantasy camp for that?) The body turns out to be a young Chinese woman with ties to a brothel. Robin’s biological daughter also appears to have a connection to that brothel—the big casting coup of series two was Nicole Kidman, and it turns out she’s playing the adoptive mother of Robin’s daughter. Can we talk about her witch hair? Is she playing a witch? Is this an undercover sequel to Practical Magic?
Top of the Lake is the perfect combination of gripping mystery, drama, and feminist themes, and it puts Jane Campion behind a camera—series one was the first thing she’d directed since 2009’s Bright Star. For those (few?) of you who can’t quite handle The Handmaid’s Tale, like me, let’s all agree to watch Top of the Lake together, yes?
Attached - more shots of Elisabeth Moss at the 92Y event last night for The Handmaid's Tale.