'The Handmaid’s Tale’ Leaves Character’s Fate Hanging in Limbo

The Handmaid's Tale kicked off Season 4 with a high death toll, but that didn't stop the Hulu original series from possibly adding another mark to that tally in Wednesday’s new episode. In "Chicago," one character's fate was left hanging in the balance following a jaw-dropping midseason cliffhanger that left viewers in shock. Warning: This story contains major spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 4, Episode 5, "Chicago."

Officially marking the halfway point of Season 4, "Chicago" picked up with June and Janine, who recently escaped from Gilead, still living as fugitives with a group of rebels on the frontlines in Chicago, where the crumbling city is constantly ignited with gunfire as the rebels and Gilead soldiers clash. The group leader Steven's refusal to take any real action, however, leads to a rift as Janine develops what she views as a consensual relationship with him and June's desire for vengeance leaves her seeking a violent rebel group called the Nighthawks, whose mission is to kill Gilead soldiers. Eventually, June makes the decision to leave the group to seek out the Nighthawks, with Janine initially choosing to stay behind.

Following a scene of Aunt Lydia orienting new handmaids, telling them they will form an unbreakable bond and will never be alone, June is seen walking through Chicago’s abandoned streets. Not long after, Janine appears, telling her, "I feel safer when we’re together. Handmaids always walk in twos, remember?" The two eventually make it to an outpost, which is recently abandoned, and as June realizes something is wrong, "Chicago" left fans speechless when bombs began to drop on the city. The episode ended with June waking up among the rubble, yelling out for Janine before, in another surprise twist, Moira emerges from the smoke. The end credits began to roll, however, before fans learned of Janine's fate, leaving viewers wondering whether or not she survived the attack.

Speaking about that midseason cliffhanger with The Hollywood Reporter, actress Madeline Brewer said it was "impactful," adding that she likes "that you think she's gone. Because it's so sudden." Although Brewer wouldn't divulge any details on her character’s fate, she teased, "I would say Janine has had nine lives up until this point and maybe she's got one left. Maybe not." With five episodes left in the season, fans will get an answer, with showrunner Bruce Miller promising, "we will find out what happened to Janine."

News episodes of The Handmaid's Tale arrive on Hulu, which you can sign up for here, on Wednesday. Season 4 consists of 10 episodes, with the season finale set to air on Wednesday, June 16. Stay tuned to PopCulture for all the latest updates!

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