The Handmaid’s Tale recap: June and Janine pursue new purposes in Chicago

In last week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale, Rita made a big decision about the Waterfords and leaving her past behind in Canada, while June and Janine made a treacherous escape toward a murky future in Chicago.

June and Janine try to find their place in the Windy City, while Aunt Lydia, Nick, and Commander Lawrence all navigate their precarious circumstances and statuses in Gilead.

Excited, Lydia tells her apparent superior, Aunt Ruth, that she’s recovered and ready to return to aunt service.

She says she will help them through such trials, and adds that the handmaids’ bonds with one another will be strong and they’ll never again walk alone.

If they issue a temporary ceasefire along contested borders — Texas, Chicago, and California — to allow international aid to be given to people there, the sanctions will be lifted, thereby giving Gilead a revenue stream.

Afterward, Lawrence tells Nick his proposal could have helped June, but Nick isn’t worried because June isn’t near a border — if she was, he’d know.

However, there’s a new catch: Gilead will stand down from all contested areas for 24 hours, during which NGOs will provide aid to civilians… but just before the ceasefire, Nick will lead a bombing of the insurgent fronts.

Their love scene segues into June lying in bed in the Chicago rebel base, listening with disgust as Steven and Janine have sex nearby.

June looks for Steven to ask to join the run, and finds him and Janine flirting while he teaches her to shoot a gun.

Steven says it was a violent rebel group called the Nighthawks, who seek to kill Gilead soldiers at all costs.

Despite her concerns that Steven is taking advantage of Janine, June winds up helping Janine get a baseball hat for him, to make Janine happy.

In the ensuing argument, June criticizes a comment Janine makes about the world needing more baby Americans, and in turn, Janine says June is bossy and judgmental, says she should stop trying to save her, and again throws the deaths of Alma and Brianna in her face.

It’s a heartwarming moment, but it’s also complicated; It’s good Janine won’t be trying to live out a fantasy with Steven, but it’s scary because June tends to get people around her killed.

Later, just after the women notice Gilead soldiers fled the area abruptly, they hear planes.

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