(if it makes a difference, I'm talking about the show in general, watching in season 2, so I don't remember the specifics of every season 1 ep, but there is an escape attempt. I haven't read the book.)
It's bleak, but I find that the characters continuing to endure and find some way to emotionally survive is hopeful. A lifetime of cultural messages about how female (or other groups) = weak/inferior can take a toll on a person's confidence, leaving one wondering "What if it's true, or else why would this oppression have been 'allowed' to continue for so many centuries?"...yet, you can't watch these characters and call them weak, even if they are held captive, and outside forces are trying to break their spirits and the pressure is cracking them, or attempts to rebel fail. Regardless of how much Gilead tries to rob them of self-determination, it's impossible to completely own and control someone.
Even if one doesn't belong to a marginalized group or live in a authoritarian dystopia, who hasn't, at one time or another, felt trapped in a bad situation (maybe debt or a soul-sucking dead-end job), angered and frustrated by the world's shortcomings (inequity, unfair laws, bad things happen to good people and vice versa), or by fixed attitudes (self-doubt, fear of failure, anxiety)? The audience is anticipating "how will the characters survive this?" and if the characters can show that it's possible to do so, then the audience can also survive whatever traps them.
I think a lot of dystopian fiction would have some plot about big giant heroics of trying to topple some evil government, but even if you did, the scars would remain. Social change, or making changes in one's life or attitude, are often slow and grueling, maybe without clear direction. Even epic heroes, like the common people just trying to get by like the audience tries to get by (though hopefully in less dramatic fashion), would be forced to find a way to cope with the depression and anxiety of daily life between coups and battles, which sounds like an even bigger challenge than blowing up a target. I struggle w/ anxiety and negative thinking, so I can relate to a tenuous relationship with hope and wanting to find direction, and feeling/fearing being unable to reach my potential. I'm suddenly reminded of the shows "Last Man on Earth" and "MASH."