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     "It's hard making it in a society that only cares about profit and pleasure. No wonder God has turned His back on us. No wonder there are no children. He doesn't want them to grow up in this screwed-up world."
          - Pryce introducing his political conviction to Nick [1]


Commander Andrew Pryce is a recurring character in the TV series. He is a Commander of The Eyes and an early member of the Sons of Jacob. He is the supervisor of Nick and chairs a board of local commanders, called the "Council".[2]

Before Gilead

Pryce works as a career counselor. Nick is one of his unemployed customers who gets in a fight with another customer. After 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 Nick about a religious group he is part of called the Sons of Jacob that wants to "clean up" the country.[1]


After the coup d'etat

Nick is driving Commander Pryce, Commander Waterford and Commander Guthrie. The three men are discussing solutions for the decreasing fertility rates.

Pryce initially states they must treat "these girls (i.e. the remaining fertile women) respectfully, in a Godly fashion, despite the moral stain from their lives before". Guthrie rejects this as unaffordable "window dressing" and ineffective. By Waterfords request and to Pryce's resentment, Guthrie proposes to use all remaining fertile women as concubines, i.e. they should be collected and impregnated by men of superior status. Pryce then suggests the "Ceremony" scenario with the wife present for the act ("it would be less of a violation") and eventually agrees to the enslavement [1].

In the present

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 remembers Nick to "be chiefly reporting on the activities of his own Commander" and regrets the recent loss in the Waterfords' household. He concludes "We are going to clean up Gilead, son".[1]

Pryce is chairing the council of local commanders (among them Waterford) who are hearing the case of Commander Putnam. Waterford is all for leniency, reminding that no one is free of mistakes and that Warren Putnam has a family, a wife and a new child. Pryce replies that the council should always stand against sin, and that Mrs. Putnam herself has asked that her husband receive the harshest punishment possible, as she fears for his immortal soul and knows that he must make an offering to God to find redemption. Ultimately, Putnam's left hand is amputated.[2].

Commander Fred is out skeet-shooting with some other Commanders (among them Putnam, Pryce, and Cushing). He insinuates that he’d like to travel to Canada along with Cushing to "ease sanctions" and states to have his house in order, to which Pryce corrects "back in order"[3].

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"[4].

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[4].

Commander Fred inpects the almost finished construction site of the new Red Center, along with Aunt Lydia and the Commanders Pryce, Putnam, and Cushing. Aunt Lydia is pleased about the increasing number of "girls" they "can process here". Waterford assures a suspicious Pryce that the "finishing touches" on the site will be done within two days[5]. 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. Later, as Fred addresses the men who’ve gathered, a whole bunch of handmaids stand along the auditorium’s back wall. Ofglen#2 steps out of line and turns to face her fellow maids, raising one hand so everyone can see that she’s holding a detonator. The women start to run. Ofglen then walks into the assembly, holds up her hand once more and presses the buttom. As the red-clad women run for safety, a huge explosion rocks the center. This is where he dies and is replaced.[5].

Trivia

Pryce calls Nick "son".

Before Gilead, Pryce wanted to clean up "the country" (i.e. the USA). In the present, he wants to clean up Gilead, the result of this first "cleanup".

Notes

After the takeover, Pryce makes concessions to Waterford and Guthrie in the "handmaid issue". In the present, he spies on them and is Waterford's boss. This shows he's been gaining political power.

Pryce is planning a purge. In the novel, several characters who were alive during the timeframe of The Handmaid's Tale are described as "dying during purges" which occurred in the Middle Gilead Period [6].

Pryce used to prefer a "respectful" treatment of fertile women. The suicide of Offred's predecessor and Warren Putnam's misbehaviour (which caused Janine's suicide attempt) may have reconfirmed his initial point of view. A successful "purge" (orchestrated by him) could mean an improvement for the life conditions of Handmaids (who aren't usually treated respectfully and usually abused by both the Wives and the Aunts).

References

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 Episode 8, "Jezebels"
  2. 2.0 2.1 Episode 10, "Night"
  3. Episode 2.4, Other Women
  4. 4.0 4.1 Episode 2.5, Seeds
  5. 5.0 5.1 Episode 2.6, First Blood
  6. The Handmaid's Tale (Novel), Epilogue, "Historical Notes on The Handmaid's Tale"
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