From the very beginning, The Handmaid’s Tale has been about sisterhood. The series began with patriarchy teaching women not to trust one another. But as June discovers, when women break down those divisions, they’re stronger together. By Season 4, June had built a found family of sisters: Janine, Alma, Brianna, and Dolores, all of whom were handmaids like her, looking for freedom. But the road to getting out of Gilead isn’t easy, and more than a few have already died trying to escape. The tweets about the train scene in The Handmaid’s Tale show the series isn’t about to let anyone forget the cost.
Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4, Episodes 1-3 follow. June nearly died at the end of Season 3. But it was this crew of friends who, at the risk of their own lives, found her, lifted her up, and carried her to safety. Season 4 opens with June spending a couple of weeks getting back on her feet while all of them hide, disguised as Marthas. But without June’s driving force, the girls were already falling back into old patterns. Perhaps they can stay here, stop running.
But June was never going to let that happen, and it isn’t long before she’s taking risks, killing Guardians and Commanders. By the time Episode 3 arrives, she’d been caught, though her friends escaped. June tried not to give up their location, but no one says no to Gilead. By the end of the episode, the whole group was back under Lydia’s thumb, in a van bound for a Magdalene Colony.
But then a disturbance outside the van distracted Lydia, and the Guardians, while the van was stuck waiting for an oncoming train to pass. In desperation, the girls make a break for it. But only June and Janine make it across the tracks. Alma, Brianna, and Dolores were struck by the train and killed.
Twitter was devastated.
Episode 3’s final scene was doubly hard for people who caught the episodes right when they first arrived on Tuesday evening. Three hours of The Handmaid’s Tale, and this was the moment to end it on and go to bed.
But not everyone was willing to grieve and let go. After three seasons of June leaving a trail of destruction from her choices, some people were done with her after seeing most of the handmaid crew die.
Hopefully, Janine will be fine for at least a bit longer. At least she and June are on the road together, hopefully heading somewhere safe.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 4 continues with one episode a week every Wednesday on Hulu.
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