Handmaid’s Tale Recap: Chicago Hope
I probably still have ringing in my ears and dust in my eyes after that bombing at the end of the episode. Please help me, other viewers of Handmaid’s Tale Confirm what I saw at the end of this week: is June going to be saved somehow? And could it really be so perfect that Moira is the person who saves her from Gilead?
Blessed is it, it certainly feels like we’re getting closer and closer to the kind of payouts that the show’s executive producers’ teaser provides at the start of the season. So let’s not waste any more time: Here’s what’s happening in Chicago.
JUNE OUTTA HERE | Living with the Windy City rebels isn’t quite what June expected: Janine has become a giggling and willing bed buddy for warehouse manager Steven, while June is only allowed to join a trade mission if Janine steps in and speaks for her. While Stevens gang is out, they come across evidence from another rebel group: the Nighthawks. “They don’t care if they live or die, they just want to kill soldiers,” he tells June. “You would love her.”
From the empty storefronts and demolished buildings around them – as well as the elevated train tracks – it looks like we’re in or near Chicago. When a Gilead helicopter circles, Stevens’ group ducks into an abandoned shop front to hide. A soldier on foot passes very close to where June is crouching under a counter. She hisses at Steven for the clean shot before the soldiers escape, and he sharply orders her to be quiet. After the threat passes, he explains that killing a small number of soldiers would only lead to more patrols: in short, it wasn’t worth it. “What kind of resistance are you?” she asks in disgust. “The kind that survives,” he replies.
They finally make it to the trade market, where June rolls her eyes at Janine’s request, but allows her fellow maid to swap her cloaks for a Cubs baseball cap that Janine wants to give to Steven. Finally June does her pitch: she wants to join the Nighthawks, and she wants Janine to come with her. “We came here to fight,” she explains. “You came here to fight,” Janine shoots back, adding that she decided to have sex with Steven. “You have to stop trying to save me to make you feel better.” When June says she doesn’t want Janine hurt, Janine proves that you don’t need perfect eyesight to aim and get a kill shot Land: “Maybe you should have thought about it with Alma and Brianna.” OUCH.
June announces that she is leaving the next day. “Come with me or stay here and be Ofsteven. The choice is yours, ”she says.
AUNT LYDIA AND HER ‘TESTAMENTS’ | How are you doing in Gilead again? Well, Aunt Lydia is much better than the last time we saw her. She is healed from her torture and excited to be a tool of a misogynist regime again! But an aunt named Ruth lets her know that Gilead is taking her to pasture: “The girls are no longer your concern,” she says. “Now is your time to rest.” You may have guessed that, but auntie. Lydia. Is. Not. To have. The.
Lawrence tries to get the men to agree to a temporary truce on the Chicago, California and Texas borders. If international aid groups arrive in a matter of hours, relations with other countries will be easier, he argues, paving the way for Gilead to get the funds it desperately needs to win the war. Nick somehow supports him, but the other men don’t, and no one – not even Nick – votes for the proposal.
Afterward, Lawrence tells Nick that a truce could help June, which makes the young commanding officer ponder. And back at Lawrence’s house, he is visited by Lydia, who blackmailed him into having sources to prove his involvement in Commander Winslow’s murder. In fact, she has “wills” for his many abuses of power (which made me giggle in delight after hearing Ann Dowd slay the audio book version of Margaret Atwood’s sequel to Handmaid’s Tale) and for his June collaboration. And she will take it to the relevant authorities, threatening … “unless you arrange for my immediate reinstatement.”
He agrees, especially after discovering she’s tainted a few other commanders as well – her information will help him regain his seat at the table. “Let’s fix this land. Let’s get everything right again together, ”he says. And she agrees, provided a rested June is taken into her care “to be disciplined and treated my way”.
And just like that, Aunt Lydia is hired again and goes back to her old business of yelling at new maids when they walk into the Red Center courtyard. After learning that two maids were out near Chicago, Nick lets Lawrence know that he will “give him anything you need”.
And just like that, the council – which includes Lawrence – decides to support the ceasefire. Oh, and they want Nick to coordinate a bombing that will happen just moments before the armistice goes into effect. At Nick’s dismay, another commanding officer remarks, “You can’t hunt the cockroaches while they’re in the walls, son.” Yes, Lawrence was there from the start, and yes, Nick’s face lets us know he realizes how really crazy he is.
“HANDGIRLS ALWAYS GO IN TWO” | Back to June. Janine won’t come, which makes her farewell very sad. Janine says in her flibbertigibbet way she thinks she might want to have a child with Steven. “Well this baby will be very happy to have you,” says June, barely able to keep herself from crying. “And these rebels are so lucky to have you,” replies Janine, sunny as always. They hug and Janine gives her friend the Cubs hat she wanted to give Steven. “Something I can remember,” she says with a smile.
But June didn’t get very far before Janine finds her and says that she changed her mind. “I feel more secure when we’re together,” she explains simply. “Maids always go in pairs, do you remember?”
As the women continue on their way, they pass a checkpoint that is a ghost town. “Where are all the soldiers?” Janine wonders when June realizes that Gilead’s military presence is in a hurry because of the huge pile of food that has just been left open. “Janine, something is wrong,” says June … just as bombers fly over us and pillage the city. The women run, bombs fall around them, then everything goes black.
June wakes up, full of rubble and shaken, but (it seems) not seriously injured. She hears screams, sees people helping others. She calls for Janine but cannot find her, dazed and stumbling through the fire and smoke that seems to surround her. Suddenly a helper steps through the smoke – and it’s MOIRA! June looks at her friend and doesn’t seem to know who she is or what she’s doing there.
Now it’s your turn. What do you think of the episode? Sound off in the comments!