In a surprise cameo, Oprah Winfrey played an important role in the latest episode of The Handmaid's Tale, "Holly."
In the episode, Winfrey's voice can be heard on an abandoned car radio heard by Offred (Elisabeth Moss) as she debates whether to drive away from Gilead forever. Winfrey's voice, broadcast "from somewhere in the great white north," relates news about what's going on in the outside world, including the American government in Anchorage receiving economic aid from China and India. "In the United Kingdom, additional sanctions on Gilead were announced, as well as plans to raise the cap on American refugees relocating in Canada," she said according to The Hollywood Reporter. "Now a tune to remind everyone who's listening--American patriot or Gilead traitor--that we are still here. Stars and Stripes forever, baby." As Winfrey spoke, Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart" started playing.
This has led many to assume that she could perhaps be voicing an exiled U.S. president. Could she really? Well...we don't know for sure.
The Handmaid's Tale creator/showrunner Bruce Miller talked to The Hollywood Reporter about Winfrey's unnamed and uncredited role. "We heard Oprah was a fan of the show, and had a story idea, and thought wouldn't it be wonderful if... So we asked and she said yes, and it was a lovely, easy process," he said. "The radio segment she recorded was inspired by the free radio of the Allies from WW2. It was an absolute honor to have Oprah featured on the show, and especially thrilling as she was the one who presented us with the Emmy last year."
"It's an inspiring voice for anyone to hear, but especially for June in that moment," said co-executive producer Kira Snyder. "It's a moment of utter inspiration and hope, hearing that America is still out there and patriots are still out there. It's incredibly powerful."
No word on if Winfrey will feature again in the series, or who Winfrey's character is. But, despite the mystery, Winfrey's voice was a cool, unexpected Easter egg for Handmaid's Tale fans.