‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Moments That Prove Janine Is One of the Show’s Most Complex Characters
On Hulu, The Handmaid’s Tale is filled with nuanced and complex characters. Perhaps one of the most beloved characters is Janine, who is played by Madeline Brewer. In the show, Janine is a Handmaid in Gilead who is friends with June. Here are five moments in The Handmaid’s Tale that demonstrate how Janine is one of the show’s most complex characters.
Janine was rebellious when she was first captured
Several flashback scenes show that before becoming a Handmaid in Gilead, Janine was quite rebellious. In the first episode of the series, “Offred,” flashbacks show Janine in the Red Center with the other Handmaids in training.
Aunt Lydia tells the women how they are special due to their fertility, and Janine sits with her arms crossed and stifles her laughter.
“Welcome to the freakin’ looney bin, right?” Janine says under her breath.
Aunt Lydia approaches Janine and tells her, “Welcome to the Rachel and Leah Center. Up.”
Janine replies, “F*ck you.”
Janine has a complicated relationship with Aunt Lydia in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
After Janine talks back to Aunt Lydia in the first episode, Aunt Lydia has Janine’s right eye removed as a punishment. This leads Janine to suffer a mental breakdown, and she reverts to a childlike state at times as a coping mechanism.
However, Janine also develops a complicated and complex relationship with Aunt Lydia as a result. After having Janine’s eye removed, Aunt Lydia is typically much kinder to Janine than the other Handmaids. In Season 3 Episode 9, “Heroic,” Aunt Lydia gives Janine a special eye patch.
As Janine tries on the eye patch, Aunt Lydia watches on like an excited parent, and Janine appears gracious the way a child would.
“I look like a pirate,” Janine says with a smile.
Aunt Lydia laughs and says, “Indeed.”
She has a sense of humor
Throughout everything she has been through in Gilead, Janine still manages to have a sense of humor in The Handmaid’s Tale. While it’s a small moment, in Season 2 Episode 8, “Women’s Work,” Janine makes a witty remark that ended up becoming a favorite among fans.
June and Janine greet each other while walking to the grocery store.
“Blessed be the fruit,” June says.
Janine laughs and replies, “May the Force be with you.”
Janine always helps out when she can
Due to the fact Janine sometimes acts childlike, June will try to protect her in The Handmaid’s Tale and look out for her the way an older sister does. In Season 3 of The Handmaid’s Tale, June comes up with the plan to rescue children from Gilead and send them to Canada.
Despite the dangers of the plan, Janine is one of the first Handmaids to volunteer to help June. In the season finale, “Mayday,” June separates from the group to distract two guards so the children can make it to the plane in time. Janine is the first of the Handmaids and Marthas to join June and distract the guards.
Janine has one of the most heart-wrenching scenes in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’
In the first season of The Handmaid’s Tale, Janine is manipulated by Commander Warren Putnam into having an affair. After she gives birth to her daughter, she is placed in another Commander’s home. Because she is separated from Commander Putnam and her daughter, Janine suffers a mental breakdown.
She tries to escape Gilead with her daughter Charlotte (who the Putnam family named Angela), but she is caught in the ninth episode of the first season, “The Bridge.” Janine stands on the edge of a bridge holding Charlotte, threatening to jump while people fearfully look on.
“Come with me,” Janine tells June as June tries to talk her out of jumping. “It can’t hurt very much. Just for a second, and then we’ll be free.”
June manages to convince Janine to not jump with Charlotte, but Janine still attempts suicide and jumps from the bridge. While she survives, Janine’s desperation in the scene is one of the most heartbreaking scenes in the entire show.