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The Handmaid's Tale: 8 Best Characters Introduced After Season 1

The cast of The Handmaid's Tale is second-to-none, with veterans in acting making up the main cast that has been part of the show since the beginning. Many of the most pivotal characters were introduced in the first season of the series, which is gearing up for its fifth season. But through the subsequent three seasons, several other major players were introduced.

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Some of them were "good guys" and some were not-so-nice characters. But each of the most interesting newbies contributed to the storyline and made their mark in a big way, no matter when they first appeared or how long they lasted.

8 Joseph Lawrence

The Commander is not only one of the best characters introduced after season 1, but also one of the most interesting supporting characters on The Handmaid's Tale, period. An architect of Gilead, he soon began to question what it had become under the rule of other commanders. He recognized that things were getting out of hand.

While he initially believed the totalitarian society could become what he had hoped, he also went out of his way to risk everything to help June and the children. He continues to show that he is, deep down, still a good person as well as cunning, manipulative, and crafty.

7 Mark Tuello

Appearing first in season 2, Mark Tuello, a representative of the U.S. Government-in-Exile, is a hero on the show as the person who worked to get both Serena and Commander Waterford in custody. He then went on to help all of the people who escaped on the plane as well as June.

While he disappointed June in the end by ignoring her personal pain in order to serve what he believed to be the greater good, he will likely continue to play a pivotal role in taking Gilead down, regardless of what he has to do in order to make that happen.

6 George Winslow

High Commander Winslow was only a minor character who appeared in the third season. But what makes him worthy of note is the fact that June brutally murdered him after he tried to take advantage of her.

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Played by Law & Order star Christopher Meloni, Commander Winslow first appeared in Washington DC during the quest to get baby Nichole back in Gilead. But when he popped back up at Jezebel's, it was game over thanks to June stabbing him multiple times with a pen followed by fatal blow to the head.

5 Eleanor Lawrence

Eleanor represented a side of Gilead that hadn't yet been explored: the republic did not believe in mental illness nor treating it with medication or even therapy. Eleanor was clearly suffering from mental illness, and her struggle was, in part, what opened her husband Commander Lawrence's eyes to the wrongs of Gilead.

Her life being cooped up in the house to deal with her situation without any medical assistance at all was heartbreaking. And Eleanor's eventual death from an overdose was one of the saddest deaths on The Handmaid's Tale.

4 Eden Spencer

Eden Spencer, later known as Eden Blaine, was a young woman who was forced into a marriage with Nick despite being a teenage girl. She was terrified of the situation, particularly when Nick showed no interest in becoming intimate with her. She was, after all, just a child. But Eden did believe that she was doing exactly what she was supposed to do.

Seeing Eden's pain as a child bride, particularly when her husband wasn't acting as she expected him to which made her suspect that he might be a gender traitor, was intense. Adding to the drama was seeing June panic at the situation since she was in love with Nick (and he with her).  While Eden's eventual death was symbolic, she is one of the former characters that fans wish was still alive.

3 Holly Maddox

Played by veteran actor Cherry Jones, Holly was only seen in flashbacks as June's activist and feminist mother. Classified as an "unwoman" in Gilead, she was a doctor prior to that.

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What makes Holly so interesting is that Gilead represents the exact opposite of everything she stood for: in the world before, she believed strongly in women's rights and desperately encouraged June to do the same. Her last known whereabouts were working in the Colonies.

2 Esther Keyes

Exhibiting some terrifying behavior, Esther appeared in season 4 as the former wife of a Commander. After it was discovered that she helped June and other handmaids, Esther was sent to be trained as a handmaid herself.

A young, impressionable woman, June was able to manipulate Esther, which proved useful in her quest to take down Gilead. Esther is the new rebel handmaid who, ironically, is being coached by Janine who is trying to convince her not to act out for fear of what the aunts might do. It seems Esther will have a much bigger and more interesting role to play in season 5.

1 Aunt Ruth

Only appearing in a few episodes, Aunt Ruth is like a younger version of Aunt Lydia. She is fierce and confident, but also not as experienced in her job. She also demonstrates some immaturity and cruelty when giggling and talking behind Aunt Lydia's back.

Ruth seemingly has her eye on Aunt Lydia's job, so she could become an even more interesting character going forward. Aunt Lydia continues to try to hold on to her power as she nears the age of retirement. But, Aunt Ruth's potential rise to power is a matter of whether she can be as cunning and cruel as Lydia.

NEXT: Marisa Tomei & 9 Other Actors You Forgot Guest-Starred On The Handmaid's Tale 

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