The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 5 recap: Chicago

The Handmaid's Tale -- "Unfit" - Episode 308 -- June and the rest of the Handmaids shun Ofmatthew, and both are pushed to their limit at the hands of Aunt Lydia. Aunt Lydia reflects on her life and relationships before the rise of Gilead. June (Elisabeth Moss), shown. (Photo by: Jasper Savage/Hulu)
The Handmaid's Tale -- "Unfit" - Episode 308 -- June and the rest of the Handmaids shun Ofmatthew, and both are pushed to their limit at the hands of Aunt Lydia. Aunt Lydia reflects on her life and relationships before the rise of Gilead. June (Elisabeth Moss), shown. (Photo by: Jasper Savage/Hulu) /

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 approaches the pivotal and crucial moment that fans have been waiting years for–and it was just as glorious as we would have imagined. Hoping to meet up with the Mayday rebels, June (Elisabeth Moss) and Janine (Madeline Brewer) find themselves amidst another group. They’re not absolutely horrible, but they’re not the rebels June was hoping to team up with.

With the intention of finally seeking out those fighting against Gilead, June makes the decision to leave the compound. Janine, however, isn’t as eager to leave, especially after striking up a romance with the guy in charge, Steven (Omar Maskati).

Back at Gilead, Commander Lawrence (Bradley Whitford) makes a move to propose a ceasefire but meets resistance from the other Commanders. But with the help (and blackmail) of Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd), he figures out how to make it happen.

Things are getting chaotic in the world of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, to say the least. And this week’s episode, “Chicago” lays the foundation for the whirlwind that is headed our way. Now, let’s break down all the major events of the episode, and be sure to tell us your favorite moments in the comments below!

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 5 recap: Aunt Lydia is back!

After losing some of the Handmaids, Aunt Lydia finds herself back in Gilead. You know, just jogging on a treadmill while looking off in the distance at the new Handmaids arriving. With a new group to train and teach, Aunt Lydia is ecstatic about getting back to her Aunt duties but is promptly told that she’s being forced to retire.

With no other place to go, Aunt Lydia looks to Commander Lawrence for help with reinstatement. He’s not jumping at the opportunity to help, but when she begins threatening him, things take a turn. Commander Lawrence does her one better by offering to help if she helps him get dirt on all the councilmen that turned down his ceasefire proposal.

By banding together for the benefit of mutual destruction, Lawrence feels that they can fix the country and gets things back to “normal” again. Lydia agrees to go along with the plan, but only if she gets to punish June when they capture her once again.

All plans go off without a hitch, and before we know it, Lydia is back to her Aunt ways and preparing the Handmaids for what’s to come. And by that I mean, she’s informing them that men will push them towards sin, and they will have to seek out her support.

Is it just me, or was that bird’s eye view shot of the Handmaids going off in pairs the creepiest thing ever?

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 5 recap: A dirty plan for Gilead

As mentioned previously, Lawrence approached the council to suggest that Gilead have a ceasefire. Their economy is in trouble with the trade sanctions, so if they stop firing along the borders (Texas, Chicago, Florida), then perhaps those sanctions will be lifted. And then things can go back to normal for Gilead’s economy. Especially if international aid can be given to those in need around those particular areas. Seems like a win-win, right?

Not for the councilmen.

They weren’t too keen on helping “terrorists” and Lawrence’s proposal is voted against by the majority, even by Nick (Max Minghella), who doesn’t seem too rattled that this ceasefire could help June as Lawrence points out. Instead, he boasts that June isn’t near a border, because if she was, he’d know by now.

Nick picks up on Lawrence’s doubt and meets up with Mayday Marthas to get the scoop on June. All he finds out is that two Handmaids had entered Chicago recently. This guy really is connected to everyone, isn’t he?

With the intel he receives, Nick lends his support to Lawrence, at least for the sake of June. With the information he got from Lydia, Lawrence is well prepared to find success with the council this time around. In fact, he even snags a seat! Clever, clever man.

There is a new addition to the plan, however, one that Nick was not made aware of. Gilead’s ceasefire will occur for 24 hours, but right before it happens, Nick is instructed to bomb all the fronts. Nick doesn’t look too pleased with the whole plan, especially since he was left out of the plan, to begin with. Plus, it increases the chances of June getting hurt, wherever she may be.

But with no choice but to go along with the plan, Nick agrees.

The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episode 5 recap: A reunion for the ages

June is eager to get out of the mess she and Janine have found themselves in, but while she’s over it, Janine and Steven are having sex right next to her. But as bombs go off around them, June is officially convinced that she needs to do something rather than sitting around.

When she finds out that Steven’s group is going to trade supplies with rebels in the city, she asks to join. At first, he refuses to, but with some convincing by Janine, it’s officially a go for June. Walking around the city, June learns of a rebel group called Nighthawks, a much more violent version than the Maydays. But their violence is geared towards Gilead soldiers who they are willing to kill at a moment’s notice.

Before they make it very far, a troop of Gilead soldiers arrives and they are forced to hide out in a nearby store. They’re almost made, no thanks to June, but she simply got fired up because Steven didn’t shoot them down.

After a day of trading and more awkward “Janine loves Steven” moments, June decides she is going to leave and find the Nighthawks. She’s ready to fight and if she has to burn down Gilead to eventually get Hannah, then so be it. Janine, on the other hand, doesn’t want to go with her and would rather stay back with Steven and perhaps have a normal life.

June is annoyed at Janine’s reluctance to leave and the two get into a fight, with Janine making some rough comments about the Handmaids that died. I understand how June is feeling because sticking with Steven’s group feels like more of the same. And they didn’t leave Gilead behind only to get stuck with another power-hungry male. Despite their argument, the two friends come to an understanding and have a tearful goodbye the next morning.

Watching June walk through the desolate, war-ridden streets of Chicago is awfully frightening, and the silence is so deafening it gives you goosebumps. There is a moment in which June feels someone is following her and quickly finds a place to hide. Lo and behold, it is Janine who pops up out of nowhere and declares she feels safest when she’s with June. And after all, Handmaids must stick together, right?

As June and Janine make their way through Chicago, there is an eerie silence in the air and they notice that Gilead soldiers recently left their posts in a hurry. And while we know it’s because the attacks are about to being, June and Janine have no idea.

They hear planes flying above as bombs begin dropping all around them. The street blows up as they run down it, knocking the both of them out. When June comes to, she can’t find Janine anywhere and begins to look for her through the cries of hurt people and a thick fog of smoke.

In the near distance, she sees an aid worker emerging out of the smoke, and when we finally get a good glimpse of who it is, we realize it’s…Moira (Samira Wiley)!!!

This is quite the shock and twist that we weren’t expecting to get, at least not in this way. And it leaves us with so many questions. Is Janine alive? Is June going to Canada? What about Hannah? We need to know everything!

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Next week can’t come soon enough!

What did you think of this week’s episode of The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4? Tell us in the comments below!