Recap: Welcome to America in ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 4, Episode 4 “Milk”

Kaity - Co-Director
6 Min Read
Sophie Giraud/Hulu

Tragedy struck in The Handmaid’s Tale episode 3. Only June and Janine made it out with their lives in the runaway handmaids’ grand escape from Aunt Lydia and the newly formed Magdalene colony. Where will they go from here?


June and Janine are still on the run and Janine hasn’t accepted that the rest of their group is dead. It’s just them now, and June decides to go west to search for Mayday.

Hiding in the milk tank of a train, June and Janine remain unseen to the Guardians maintaining the train. June successfully drains the milk from the tank, making her and Janine’s journey feasible, at least physically.

In Canada, Rita has prepared Moira a meal, and Moira brings her bad news: there’s been no news on any of her missing family members. Moira reassures her the Catholics that had fled to Canada were exceptional at making fake passports and they could be living under those new assumed identities, making them impossible to locate. Moira also tells her that Serena has requested to see her.

Shockingly, Rita heads to the holding center to see Serena, where Serena tells her that she’s pregnant. She gifts Rita an ultrasound photo, letting Rita know that she has no intention of telling Fred about the pregnancy. Serena is excited that Rita has made it to Canada, now she can help Serena care for her little boy — just as if they were still in Gilead. She even tops it off saying how nice it is to have a friend in Canada.

The holding tank is frigid, and June and Janine are freezing and wet as the train rattles on. Janine is furious that June has no plan, nothing, they’re just sitting in this train car freezing to death. She tries to rationalize the deaths of Alma and the other handmaids; she’s devastated they’re gone. June has to confess the truth to Janine: she told the Eyes where the handmaids were because they had Hannah, and Janine blames her for the deaths of their friends.

In a flashback to pre-Gilead times, Janine is talking to her boss about swapping shifts for a doctor’s appointment. She’s pregnant and wants an abortion. The woman at the clinic doesn’t agree with her choices and exaggerates the rare complications to try and talk her out of it.

Back in Canada, Tuello has gone to see Rita. Serena is planning to use Rita as part of her defense, to defend Serena’s actions with the circumstances around June getting pregnant. Rita is not pleased. She reminds Tuello that she was once property of the Waterfords, not friends as Serena tries to make it seem.

Now it’s Fred’s turn to see Rita. The greeting is brief, but Rita went with one purpose. She gives Fred the ultrasound from Serena, outing Serena’s secret to her husband.

Sophie Giraud/Hulu

The train carrying Janine and June is under attack, and it isn’t Gilead shooting at them. June heads up to look at where they are and who they’re up against, and then pleads for her and Janine’s safety. The rebel group agrees to help them and takes them back to their base.

The outskirts of Gilead, also known as America, is in ruins, practically apocalyptic. Yet still, anywhere is better than Gilead. June and Janine go to speak with the leader of the rebel group, Stephen, and June gets him to agree to give them clothing and food. But it comes at a price, and the two have only one thing to offer — sex.

Originally, June agrees to stay and provide payment for the services they’re being provided, but she can’t go through with it. In that moment, she realizes this isn’t Mayday as she’d hoped it was. She finds Janine and tells her they have to leave.

In another Janine flashback, she’s at home with her toddler son, Caleb, still debating the decision of abortion before her. The next day, Janine goes through with it, the doctor at this clinic far more supportive than the place she’d visited before.

Rita is at peace with her decision to rid herself of the Waterfords, enjoying a meal of sushi in her home — a food she probably hasn’t had in many years.

Janine has paid the price for June and her to stay with the rebel group. June feels guilty for Janine having gone through that, but Janine seems almost happy. Happy to have helped, happy to be free, just … happy.

What will Fred’s reaction be to Serena when he sees her next for hiding her pregnancy? How will June and Janine fair with their new group? Episode 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale premieres Wednesday, May 12 on Hulu.

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By Kaity Co-Director
Kaity started with Harry Potter in second grade and it’s been a losing battle ever since, or maybe a winning one ... She lives in New England with a small herd of cats, two dogs, three chinchillas, and one daughter. You can definitely find her either watching anime, reading manga, or playing the same five video games over and over again. Contact:
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