For the book
- The fact that Offred, whether she survived or not, was able to leave a record of her time in the Republic of Gilead. Even if know-it-all professors are skeptical of her accounts, she was able to reclaim something that Gilead took from women: a voice.
- The Epilogue reveals a few things: that the Gilead regime had ended and a new world was brought up, one where women regained their rights e.g. Professor Maryann Crescent Moon.
- Similarly, the names of the professors and their respective universities also imply that Native Americans/indigenous Canadians have regained power, and developing nations like India have survived. In short, non-white groups have survived and the white-supremacist Gilead regime has not.
- In the movie: Kate/Offred ends up killing the Commander with Mayday later rescuing her. She was true to her word that no one would take her baby or control her, and the shots of the battle between Gilead and the Rebels is nothing short of amazing.
- In the book and especially the TV series, Ofglen is extremely brave. No matter what happens, she's determined to go down swinging.
For the TV series
- Offred spitting out the bite of the cookie Serena condescendingly gave her.
- This exchange from the TV series, which leads to Offred being clubbed in the head and electrocuted.
Aunt Lydia: Remember your scripture; blessed are the meek.Offred: "And blessed are those who suffer for the cause of righteousness for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven." I remember.
- Offred carving her own message in the wall of her closet, indicating that she wants the next Handmaid, the next Offred, to remember her.
- There's something subtly awesome about the fact that, in the TV series, we get to learn the Handmaid's names. No matter what the Commanders and Wives call them, these women are all individuals with their own stories and names, and Gilead can't take that from them.
- In A Woman's Place, Offred makes the decision to tell the Mexican ambassador exactly how awful the life of a Handmaid in Gilead is, fully aware of the terrible risk she's taking, and under the belief that the ambassador's attendant may be a supporter of the Gilead regime. After all the effort Gilead goes through to take away women's voices (and the extremely unconvincing charade they've put up to downplay this fact in front of the ambassador,) Offred is at long last able to use that voice to undermine it.
- Moira's escape from Jezebel's is fantastically uplifting, especially after seeing how defeated she seemed after reuniting with June.
- On a day out, Emily finally has enough and races into a car. She's ordered out but instead starts it up and drives around, the first woman to do this in years. The crowd is shocked as the Handmaids watch, all clearly doing their best not to openly cheer Emily on.
- When a soldier is knocked back, Emily stays in the car. She looks to Offred who gives the slightest nod. Emily proceeds to run the fallen officer over with the car, blood spraying everywhere. She's arrested but clearly is happy to have struck out at last.
- Serena Joy's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Fred, after she finds out about his secret meetings with Offred, whilst he blames her for his infidelities. She also doesn't hesitate to tell him that Offred's pregnant, but the baby isn't his and will never be due to his stupidity and sterility.
- Offred telling off Serena Joy after Serena not only takes her to where her and Luke's daughter is being held and doesn't allow Offred to see her, but also threatens her life if anything happens to Offred's unborn child or if Offred steps out of line.
Offred: What is wrong with you? What is wrong with you? How can you do this? You're deranged. You're...you're...you're fucking evil. You know that? You are a goddamn motherfucking monster! Fucking heartless, sadistic, motherfucking evil CUNT! Fuck you, Serena! You are gonna burn in goddamn motherfucking hell, you crazy, evil bitch!
- After Commander Putnam is brought forward to the Commanders for his extramarital affairs with Janine and promises to run away to Canada with Janine, which lead to her Bungled Suicide, one of them reveals to Commander Waterford and the others that Mrs. Putnam came forward and asked that he received the harshest punishment possible, which the viewer then discovers is that he gets his left hand surgically removed. It's grim, but it's also satisfying to know that even the Commanders can't always get away with their unspeakable behaviour.
- When the Handmaids are commanded to stone Janine, none of them likes it. Led by Offred and likely inspired by the Second Oglen's outburst, they refuse to, despite being warned there will be punishment for this. And the handmaids' Power Walk afterward.
- As Offred's being taken away by either The Eyes or Mayday, The Commander and Serena are losing their minds and constantly asking where their pregnant and abused Handmaid is being taken to, only to be ignored. Serena angrily confronts Offred, only to be met with a silent and defiant smirk. Offred has no idea if she's being saved or being punished, but after everything she's been through at the Waterford house, she's going with a smile on her face.
- The show practically sweeping the 2017 Emmys, winning 8 awards out of 13 nominations (across 11 categories), and taking every category it was up for on the main telecast. Further achievements included:
- The show winning Best Drama Series in what was considered (at least according to odds at Gold Derby) to be a slight upset against Stranger Things, which had won 5 Emmys at the Creative Arts Ceremony (including Casting). Margaret Atwood herself joined the crew onstage for the Best Drama win, to great applause from the audience.
- The fact that the Series win made Hulu the first ever streaming platform to win either Drama Series or Comedy Series in Emmy history, when, until then, it appeared that the honor might go to either Netflix (which had House of Cards, Orange Is the New Black, Stranger Things, The Crown, Master of None, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt in contention over the years) or Amazon (which had Transparent).
- Elisabeth Moss finally (in the eyes of many) winning the Primteime Emmy after years of coming up short for Mad Men and Top of the Lake. Her wins for Drama Lead Actress and Drama Series were her 8th and 9th career nominations. In her acceptance speech, she thanked her mother for teaching her to be a "fucking badass".
- Ann Dowd winning Supporting Actress for a Drama Series (another surprise, as the race was seen to be between Thandie Newton in Westworld and Millie Bobby Brown in Stranger Things), giving Dowd her first bit of industry recognition in over 30 years of work.
- Reed Morano's victory for Drama Directing making her the first woman to win the category since Mimi Leder for ER in 1995.
- Alexis Bledel's win for Drama Guest Actress helped to solidify the sense of She Really Can Act that had built around her performance. Additionally, it meant that the show had managed to take all three female acting prizes in the Drama categories.
- Showrunner Bruce Miller finishing out the Drama Series speech by encouraging everyone to pursue further activism against things they see as wrong.
Miller: Go home. Get to work. We have a lot of things to fight for.