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     "No one's above the law, Commander."
          - Nick to Commander Pryce [1]

Nick is a major character in The Handmaid's Tale. He is a Guardian serving Commander Fred and Serena Joy, who later becomes Offred's lover. In the television series, he is portrayed by Max Minghella.

In the novel Edit

Nothing is known about Nick's life prior to the rise of Gilead, or even after that. All that is really known about him is that he became a Guardian and was assigned to the household of Commander Fred Waterford. Nick lives in the household with the Waterfords over the garage. Offred suspects that Nick is an Eye because she believed he was too casual for a Guardian.

Offred finds Nick attractive. He is described by Offred to have 'a French face, lean, whimsical, all planes and angles, with creases around the mouth where he smiles.' The night after the Ceremony, Offred slips out of bed. Nick approaches her in the sitting room, alone, and speaks with her, which is forbidden. They shared a moment but did not last because both thought it was too risky. Nick told Offred that the Commander wanted to see her the following night. Nick escorts her to see the Commander in his study, the Commander trusts his silence and drives them to Jezebel's.

After Offred's night at Jezebel's, Serena Joy secretly arranges for Offred to visit Nick in his rooms and sleep with him to conceive a child. Offred sleeps with Nick willingly. She quickly develops feelings for him and he seems to reciprocate. Offred opens up to him, telling him a great deal about herself and her life prior to Gilead. Towards the end of the novel, Offred believes she's pregnant and tells Nick, as the baby is almost certainly his. Nick seems happy and saddened by the news as he will not be able to play an active role in the child's life.

When the Eyes come for Offred, Nick comes to her room to collect her, making Offred believe he has been an Eye all along, which she had secretly feared. However, Nick tells her that he is a member of Mayday and the van is here to take her to safety. Offred doesn't know if she believes him, and it is not confirmed if Nick is truly a member of Mayday or not. However, in the epilogue, it is mentioned that one Commander Fred Waterford - who may have been Offred's Commander - was arrested and executed by the regime in the early years of Gilead for harboring an infidel in his household, who could've been Nick. This would imply Nick was indeed a rebel and helped Offred escape, though what ultimately became of him is unknown. 

In the Hulu series Edit

Nick is portrayed by Max Minghella. He is originally from Michigan and his name before the rise of Gilead was Nick Blaine. He had a brother named Joshua. He is revealed to be a Guardian of the Eyes in plainclothes[1], while his contacts to the resistance appear rather loose[2][3].

In the past Edit

Before Gilead Edit

Nick is unemployed and sitting in a career center. He is talking to a counsellor, Andrew Pryce, when he gets in a fight with another customer. Nick is thrown out, Pryce follows him and invites him out for coffee. Nick tells him about his brother and the hard times they've had, and Pryce tells him about a religious group he is part of called the Sons of Jacob that wants to "clean up" the country.[1]

After the takeover Edit

Nick, presumably in his new job, is driving Mr. Pryce, Mr. Waterford and Commander Guthrie. The three men are discussing women's roles and The Ceremony in the new society they want to build. When asked for his opinion, Nick replies that the three men's idea of the new society was right and would be best for everyone. This also evidently indicates the first time Nick meets Mr. Waterford. [1]

Though not shown on-screen, Nick is later hired by - or assigned to - the Waterfords as their janitor and driver. This is probably also the period when he, on his (presumably frequent) tours with Commander Fred to the brothel "Jezebel's", and the kitchen maid Beth engage in a friendly sexual relationship, to which she later refers as the "old times" [2]. It is quite possible that Beth introduces him into the Mayday network (though not confirmed, see Beth/Notes). Nick also keeps working for Pryce, now Commander of the Eyes, by evaluating reports of snitchers, in particular about Commander Guthrie[1].

Before the main storyline Edit

Nick and Rita discover the Waterford's handmaid hanged herself in her room. He quickly tries to cut the rope and gets her down but only to find that she was already dead.

While watching Guthrie being led by two guards into an office building of the Eyes, Nick reports to a pleased Commander Pryce that Guthrie has been sleeping with his last two Handmaids and is skimming from the transportation budget, according to his aide and his Martha. Pryce then remembers Nick to "be chiefly reporting on the activities of his own Commander" and regrets the loss in Waterfords' household. He concludes "We are going to clean up Gilead, son".[1]

Present, season oneEdit

Offred describes Nick as  "the Commander's driver, lives over the garage, low status, hasn't even been issued a woman. Maybe he's lonely. Maybe he watches me. Maybe he's an Eye." [4]

Nick warns Offred not to get too close to Ofglen because it's dangerous. [5]

While driving Offred home from the Putnams, Nick is asked by Offred about Ofglen's arrest, and he advises her to remember she "can't change" this and "being tough or brave" won't work because "everybody breaks", and she should "tell them everything". They then see a black van parked in the drive, to which Nick apologizes he "couldn't stop them". Inside the house, Offred is interrogated and electrotortured by an Eye and Aunt Lydia about Ofglen. Nick later brings her ice for her injuries. He confesses he wished he'd just driven away with her [6].


Serena Joy calls Offred outside to tell her she's asked Nick to try to impregnate Offred. She suspects the Commander is infertile. Serena Joy secretly brings Offred to Nick's apartment, where she waits as they have sex. They finish, and Serena Joy tells Offred to lie down in her room, after saying a prayer to encourage her to become pregnant.[7]

After an emotional conversation with Fred, Offred gets sick and goes to throw up in the kitchen sink, where she runs into Nick. She asks him if he's an Eye, and he tells her yes. He apologizes for earlier, and explains that he couldn't say no to Serena Joy. Offred later sneaks into Nick's apartment to share a passionate night with him.[7]

After the dinner with the Mexican delegation, Offred visits Nick, fiercely blaming herself for keeping quiet about the brutal truth of her fate. Nick tries to calm her down and calls her Offred. She reveals to him her real name June.[8]

Nick drives Fred and Offred to Jezebel's. In the brothel, Nick visits Beth in the kitchen to trade illicit goods, such as prescription drugs and pregnancy tests that are used by the customers or working girls, for bottles of alcoholic beverages and additional contraband. Nick formally comments the trade with "the Eyes thank you for your service". He refuses her advances. [1]

Serena Joy returns from her mothers house the next morning. As Nick brings her bags through the kitchen, Offred notices Nick's aloofness and asks if she can see him later. When he says he doesn't want to see her anymore because it's too dangerous, she demands a reason stating that if she indeed is murdered for her actions, at least someone will remember her. She mentions that she knows nothing about him and he tells her that his full name is Nick Blaine and that he is from Michigan, but that is all. Offred leaves the room upset. [1]

After driving Fred and Offred into Jezebel's a second time, Nick revisits Beth in the kitchen. Nick is curious if she "asked around at the bar" that "nobody's planning anything stupid", and Beth replies that the girls in here are not "in the shape for a rebellion". She confirms that Offred's identity has not been discovered, warning Nick about the dangerous consequences of "poking around, asking questions", or "being sweet" on a handmaid. [2]

In Night, Nick finds a distressed Offred in the kitchen with a scar on her forehead. When he asks if she was okay, Offred reveals that Serena Joy found out about Jezebel's and that she is pregnant. Nick is shocked but still convinces Offred that the pregnancy is not a terrible thing. They shared a brief tender moment before interrupted by Serena Joy.

In the last scene of Season 1, Offred is in her room waiting for someone to come and punish her for her defiance. Nick comes in, tells Offred to "just go with it" and insists that she trust him. Two armed guards come in and lead Offred away, much to the surprise and horror of Serena Joy and Fred. Offred walks off willingly, unsure if this is her end or a brand new beginning[9].

Present, season two Edit

June Edit

A butcher leads June into an empty corporate building and asks her to stay until someone comes for her. Nick is there waiting. He tells her to get out of her clothes and to cut her hair. She uses the scissors to remove the tag from her ear[10].

Unwomen (TV Episode) Edit

June is hiding in the abandoned building of the Boston Globe newspaper. When she hears noises, she hides but it is only Nick. She asks him to get her out of here because it's a slaughterhouse. He tells her that she has to wait a couple of weeks but he doesn't know details and has never done this before. She tells him that they need to find Hannah but he says no. She asks for him to give her his keys to the car. He gives them to her and he gives her a gun. She goes to the car and gets in to leave. Nick stands there watching her. She starts to hit the steering wheel because she knows she isn't going to leave. She gets out of the car and gives him back the keys and the gun. They begin to kiss and have sex. They finish and she looks at him. He tells her he can't anymore. She says to try[3].

Baggage Edit

Nick revisits June in the Boston Globe facility and gives her coffee. He tells her that he should probably get going. He tells her that she might be leaving the Boston Globe soon. He promises to come back on Tuesday. June says that she can't leave. Nick says it will be better for everyone. She replies better never means better for everyone. They hug[11].

After June's recapture, Nick tries to assure her he "tried everything" to get her out. June, in her old new Offred role, replies "we've been sent good weather"[12].

First Blood Edit

At night, Offred starts burning the letters from Rachel's package in the kitchen sink and is interrupted by Nick, who takes the remaining letters to himself[13].

In a Gileadean office building, Commander Waterford suggests Commander Pryce to reward Nick for his loyal service by a job opportunity in Washington. Pryce replies he should "find a way to keep him around"[13].

The Waterfords head to a Prayvaganza chaired by Commander Pryce in which the handmaids and wives sit in rows while a ceremony takes place down below. Nick, among other Guardians, is escorted out to the main floor. Young brides, their faces covered by veils, then march onto the floor and stand opposite the men being “honored.” As Nick lifts his bride's veil, he sees a girl, Eden, who is much younger than him. The Waterfords with Offred, Nick, and Eden return from the Prayvaganza. Serena leads Eden into Nick's apartment and kindly advises her to enjoy the "act" she’s now required to have[13].

In the meantime, Nick and the Commander share a “celebratory” drink to close out the night, toasting “to good women.” When heading back to his quarters in the pouring rain, Nick finds Offred outside, passed out and covered in blood, and screams for help[13].

Another evening, Nick and Eden have dinner at their apartment, where she tells him that her mother taught her "about everything" that would be expected of her as a wife. Nick steps outside to smoke. The next day, Nick runs into Offred. She insists he has to deflower his wife. That night, Nick and his new bride have sex for the first time[14].

To the opening of the new Rachel and Leah Center, Commanders from all of the districts are there. When Nick sees Commander Pryce, he begs for reassignment and says there’s a lot he hasn’t divulged about Fred. He then asks Pryce to promise to "protect the handmaid", to which Pryce replies he has his word[14].

After Edit

After the bombing, Commander Fred is lying half-conscious in his hospital bed. Nick offers to take Serena home for sleep and a change of clothes. She refuses his offer. Commander Putnam enters the room with a visibly injured Commander Cushing and announces Commander Pryce "has gone home to God" and Cushing will be taking on Pryce's "security duties". Cushing promises he will find everyone responsible for the gruesome attack[15].

Offred gets to the hospital and sees Nick. She cries on his shoulder saying the Martha was just reaching for her pass when she was shot, and that Cushing wants to know who helped June when she ran. Nick promises he won't "let anything happen" to her[15].

When Nick returns to his apartment that evening, he finds Serena inside waiting alone. She learns from him that submitting warrants to the "Consular of Divine Law" needs the Commander's signature. Nevertheless, Nick agrees to help Serena "walk through the process"[15].

Nick exchanges glances with the guards in front of the Waterfords' house and heads to the front door. As Cushing comes up to the house, a van of the Eyes stops by and guardians surround him. Commander Putnam explains he's being arrested for treason on the word of Commander Waterford, due to the "overwhelming" evidence submitted by the Eyes[15].

Women's Work Edit

Eden asks Nick if she can spruce up their home and he tells her to do whatever she wants. Nick comes home to Eden and finds that she's organized the house. He sees the stack of letters Offred was burning on the nightstand and asks her if she read them. She says no and he forbids her from ever touching his things again[16].


Smart Power Edit

The Waterfords head to Canada. Nick loads up the car with their luggage when Eden shows up and gives him some cookies to take with him. She tells him that she's going to miss him but he says he's only going to be gone a couple of days. Serena goes to see Offred before she leaves. She tells Offred that she'll be leaving the house as soon as the baby is born.

When Nick and the Waterfords arrive at the Canadian hotel, there are protesters at the front door. Luke confronts Commander Fred. He's taken away by the police but not before Serena and Nick realize that he's Offred's husband. Serena and Fred head up to their room where Fred says that they've made progress with the Canadian government. Nick goes looking for Luke and finds him in a bar. He tells Luke that June is alright but Luke says that she isn't fine. Nick tells her that June is pregnant. This upsets Luke and he tells Nick to get out but then changes his mind and goes after him. He asks about Hannah but Nick doesn't know if she's okay. Nick gives Luke the stack of letters June gave him and tells him to get them out somehow. Luke asks Nick to tell June that Moira got out.

Back home, Nick visits Offred and tells her about how the letters were leaked to the public, how he met Luke, and how Moira got out. She starts to cry and he says that he loves her before he heads back to Eden.

The Last Ceremony Edit

Eden takes out the trash and runs into Isaac. They share a kiss as Nick watches from the balcony. Eden realizes this and runs up to the house to apologize. He says not to worry about it and Eden asks why he doesn't care that he just caught her cheating on him. He doesn't say anything and Eden realizes that he likes June. Nick tells her that he'd never get involved with a handmaid. She realizes that he just doesn't love her and starts to cry.

June is laying in bed when Fred comes into her room. He tells her that he's planned a surprise for her. He puts her in a car and instructs Nick to bring her back in 3 hours. On the drive to where they're going, Nick asks her what happened but she doesn't respond. They arrive at a house where inside Hannah is waiting.

June tells Hannah that she has to go and that she loves her. Hannah leaves leaving June kneeling in the snow as she cries. Suddenly, Nick hears other cars approaching so he puts June into the house. He tells her to go inside and hide while he waits outside to see who it is. Two men appear and attack Nick, taking him hostage and leaving June alone. She's left alone in the middle of nowhere.

Postpartum Edit

Commander Fred is seen setting up his office when Nick walks in. Apparently, there was a misunderstanding with some overzealous guards but he's been returned safely to work. Commander Fred tells him opportunities are going to open up for Nick and Nick says he appreciates that. Nick hangs up a picture on the wall and it's of Serena, Fred, and the new baby.

The next day, Nick is looking for Eden but can't find her. Nick tells her that their baby is so beautiful and that he wishes he could hold her. Offred says her too. Offred tells him that she wants to name her Holly after her Mom. Nick tells her it sounds right.

Commander Fred walks in telling him that guardian Isaac never showed up for his shift this morning. Nick puts two and two together and realizes that they must've run off together.

Rita wakes up Offred and tells her that they brought Isaac and Eden back. Nick tries to convince Eden to lie on the stand but she won't. She asks him to forgive her but he asks her to forgive him because he wasn't kind to her. Eden and Isaac are lead to a pool. They are both chained. They ask them to renounce their sins and plead for mercy but the two of them don't. They are pushed into the pool and the both of them drown.

Offred goes downstairs and finds Nick sitting at the table. She tries to offer comfort but he just gets up and walks away.


ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 1.6 1.7 Episode 8, "Jezebels"
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Episode 9, "The Bridge"
  3. 3.0 3.1 Episode 2.2, "Unwomen (TV Episode)"
  4. Episode 1, "Offred"
  5. Episode 2, "Birth Day"
  6. Episode 3, "Late"
  7. 7.0 7.1 Episode 5, "Faithful"
  8. Episode 6, "A Woman's Place"
  9. Episode 10, "Night"
  10. Episode 2.1, "June"
  11. Episode 2.3, "Baggage"
  12. Episode 2.4, "Other Women"
  13. 13.0 13.1 13.2 13.3 Episode 2.5, "Seeds"
  14. 14.0 14.1 Episode 2.6, "First Blood"
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 15.3 Episode 2.7, "After"
  16. Episode 2.8, "Women's Work"