‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Episode Recap: June and Janine Experience Chicago

On May 12, season 4 episode 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale, titled “Chicago,” premiered on Hulu. So far, season 4 of The Handmaid’s Tale has worked hard to challenge plots that fans have come to expect with the show, and “Chicago” is no exception.

[Spoiler Alert: This article contains spoilers for season 4 episode 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale.]

Madeline Brewer as Janine and Elisabeth Moss as June in season 4 episode 5 of 'The Handmaid's Tale'
Madeline Brewer and Elisabeth Moss in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ | Sophie Giraud/Hulu

June wants to fight in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Compared to past seasons, June Osborne (Elisabeth Moss) in the fourth season of The Handmaid’s Tale is different. Before, June’s priority was to get her daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) out of Gilead. Now, June is a soldier, and she wants to burn Gilead down.

She finds out that the camp she is staying at is planning to trade with another resistance camp and asks Steven (Omar Maskati) if she can accompany the team.

At first, Steven says no, but Janine Lindo (Madeline Brewer) convinces him that June can handle it. The two are allowed to join the rest of the camp on their mission, and June learns that their main goal is to simply survive, not fight.

Nick and Commander Lawrence want a ceasefire in Gilead

Back in Gilead, Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) learns that she has been stripped of her duties of working with Handmaids and is being pushed toward retirement.

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Commander Joseph Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) meets with the council to try and encourage a temporary ceasefire around Gilead’s borders ease economic sanctions.

While Commander Nick Blaine (Max Minghella) morally supports the ceasefire and is Joseph’s ally, he votes against it when he sees the rest of the council will not budge on their stance.

Joseph tells Nick that June is probably in Chicago and a ceasefire would give her time to escape. Nick decides to investigate and meets with two Marthas who tell him June most likely made it to Chicago.

June and Janine go separate ways in the new episode of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Wanting her position back, Aunt Lydia goes to Joseph and threatens to blackmail him with information she has. Joseph tells her that if she gives him information on other Commanders so he can gain his power back, he will reinstate her.

In Chicago, June decides that she wants to join the Nighthawks, a branch of rebels who make it their mission to kill Gilead soldiers. Janine wants to stay behind, as she has begun a relationship with Steven and does not want to leave him.

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The two share an emotional goodbye, and June sets out to find the Nighthawks. After she leaves, Janine finds her and tells June that she changed her mind and wants to come with her.

“I feel safer when we’re together,” Janine tells June. “Handmaids always walk in twos, remember?”

Season 4 episode 5 of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ ends with another plot twist

Before a council meeting, Nick finds Joseph and tells him that since June is in Chicago, he will give Joseph whatever he needs to keep June safe. It is then revealed that Joseph is now a member of the council thanks to Aunt Lydia’s intel.

Nick brings up the idea of a ceasefire again, and the Commanders agree a ceasefire is a good idea. However, they plan to bomb all enemy territories right before the ceasefire, and they have assigned Nick to coordinate the bombing.

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Tears in his eyes, Nick refuses and tries to negotiate his way out of it, but the Commanders insist. As June and Janine walk the streets of Chicago, Gilead planes fly overhead and drop bombs onto the city.

June wakes up in rubble and is found by none other than her best friend Moira Strand (Samira Wiley).

New episodes of The Handmaid’s Tale premiere every Wednesday on Hulu.