'The Handmaid's Tale' Reveals If Janine and Esther Survive

The Handmaid's Tale returned to Hulu Wednesday night with an all-new episode of Season 5, and Episode 3, "Border," gave fans a somber update about two beloved characters who were left on the brink of death: Janine and Esther. Warning: This post contains spoilers for The Handmaid's Tale Season 5, Episode 3, "Border."

During the second half of last week's two-episode season premiere, both Janine and Esther's lives were left hanging in limbo, leaving many fans in a panic. Switching back and forth between life in Canada and life in Gilead, the premiere took fans to the Red Center, where McKenna Grace's Esther, a former wife, completed her training as a handmaid and was set to receive her first placement. However, following a visit to Commander Warren Putnam's house, things took a turn for a worse when Esther gifted Janine poisonous chocolates, which left them both coughing up blood and their lives hanging in the balance. It is in "Border" that fans learn their fates.

(Photo: Sophie Giraud/Hulu)

Throughout the episode, fans watched as Aunt Lydia kept a watchful eye over Janine and Esther at the hospital, neither of them in good condition. Both Esther and Janine are alive, but unconscious, with Aunt Lydia later revealing, "the doctors aren't too optimistic." The extreme that Esther was pushed to and the result of her actions have clearly taken a toll on Aunt Lydia, who in an emotional moment begs god to let Janine live, promising that she will do better and acknowledging the mistakes she has made. Although the episode ends with Esther's fate in limbo, by the final moments of "Border," Janine is alive and awake, albeit in a wheelchair, having survived. Fans, however, will have to wait and see if Esther also survives.

Speaking to Elle about the heartbreaking scene in Episode 2, "Ballet," Grace shared that she "got sent the script that day, and I was reading it, and I was flabbergasted, for sure. I could not believe it. 'I do what? Why am I yelling right now? Why is my character freaking out? Oh my God. Am I dead? Do I die two episodes in? Oh my God. Esther!'" Meanwhile, Janine's survival isn't necessarily much of a surprise. Madeline Brewer told PopCulture.com that she believes her onscreen counterpart is "a cat. I think that she's a jungle cat," as she has survived multiple near-death experiences and seems to have nine lives.


New episodes of The Handmaid's Tale air Wednesday's on Hulu, which you can subscribe to here. Stay tuned to PopCulture.com for the latest streaming news!