Nick Blaine (Max Minghella) is one of the only men in The Handmaid’s Tale worth rooting for, but recent developments might change that. In Season 3, Episode 6, “Household,” it was revealed that Nick has been keeping secrets from June, and in a surprising turn of events, he was outed as a former soldier in Gilead’s Crusade.
Confused? Here’s what we know about Nick after watching Handmaid’s Tale Season 3, Episode 6, and how that twist could change everything moving forward.
Warning: Spoilers for The Handmaid’s Tale Season 3, Episode 6, “Household” below.
For the first time in three seasons, The Handmaid’s Tale brought Nick’s backstory into question. Season 1 delved a bit into how he wound up working as a Guardian and an Eye under the late Commander Pryce. Ever since Pryce gave him a job, Nick essentially became a double agent. By day, he was a driver working for Commander Waterford. By night, he was smuggling secrets back to Pryce.
During his post, Nick was tasked with keeping, well, an eye out for anything and everything that occurred in the household. That included spying on Waterford and reporting any shady business back to his commander. The thing is, Nick was pulling triple duty as it was assumed he had some form of contact with the Resistance, though the extent of which has never been revealed. Regardless, he’s helped June from the very beginning. Even the audience came to trust him.
However, “Household” called into question everything there was to know about Nick. In the process of making a deal with the Swiss government, June believed Nick could give them inside information about Gilead. In return, the Swiss government promised to keep Nichole safely in Canada.
However, June later learned that the deal fell apart because Nick couldn’t be trusted. Per the Swiss diplomats, he wasn’t much of an ally to the Resistance, and a final shot showed Nick walking past a group of saluting Gilead soldiers, suggesting he’s even higher-ranked in the army than we previously believed.
Episode 6 seemed to indicate that he didn’t just become a driver for Commanders Pryce and Waterford because of circumstance. It turns out Nick fought as a soldier in the Crusades, meaning he’s been supporting Gilead from the beginning. Has he been deceiving June this whole time? It’s possible.
The show may also be retconning Nick’s backstory to give him a bigger storyline in Season 3. Admittedly, Nick hasn’t had much to do in Season 3, so maybe this is a way for the writers to get him more involved in the main plot. Still, the twist came out of left field, especially considering who Nick has shown himself to be so far.
In the original book by Margaret Atwood, in fact, Nick is one of the leaders of the Resistance. However, in Season 3, The Handmaid’s Tale has deviated from the source material. Prior to “Household,” Nick was one of the commanders being sent to the front lines in the war with Chicago. The reveal showed him as more than just a commander, but a general to the troops and a leader given the utmost respect. It was a bit shocking, to say the least.
While his background has been less developed than other characters, Nick has always been portrayed as having the best intentions. He’s been helpful and kind. He assisted June in various Resistance plans. Nick even tried to get her out of Gilead on multiple occasions, endangering himself and his status in the process. Additionally, the love between him and June seemed genuine, but now we’re left to wonder whether any of it was real.
Has Nick been playing the long game this whole time? Has he been a higher-ranking official than we gave him credit for? After all, the other Guardians did call him “sir” even prior to his becoming commander. It’s definitely an odd way to address a driver within Gilead’s hierarchy. Whether or not Nick has been deviously plotting behind June’s back for three seasons remains to be seen, but there’s only so much betrayal June (and the audience) can take.
The Handmaid’s Tale airs Wednesdays on Hulu.