"I'm trying to keep you alive. You and our baby."
- Nick Blaine
Commander Nicholas "Nick" Blaine is a major character in The Handmaid's Tale. He was a Guardian and driver serving Commander Fred Waterford and Serena Joy Waterford, and presumably June Osborne's lover.
Nick is originally from Michigan, and was recruited into the Sons of Jacob prior to Gilead. He is revealed to be a plainclothes operative of the Eyes with loose ties to the resistance. He is currently serving as a Commander in the Gilead military in Chicago. Nick is the biological father of June's second-born daughter, Holly.
- 1 Appearance
- 2 Personality
- 3 Story
- 3.1 In the past
- 3.2 Present, season one
- 3.3 Present, season two
- 3.4 Present, Season 3
- 4 Photo Gallery
- 5 Trivia
- 6 References
Appearance[edit | edit source]
Nick has black hair, brown eyes and olive skin. He is of average height and average build, and is described as "attractive in a boyish sort of way". He is often seen in a navy blue Guardian uniform. After his promotion to the Commander rank, he wears an all-black Commander uniform.
Personality[edit | edit source]
In general, Nick is patient and loyal with a strong moral code. He is intelligent, cunning, and always thinking one step ahead. He has a quiet demeanor and doesn't talk much, which leads to his motives appearing somewhat ambiguous. But he is fiercely dedicated to his loved ones, and we see this particularly in his love for June and their daughter Holly.
While he began as an early member of the Sons of Jacob, he does not appear to share the same beliefs as Gilead. As a victim of poverty, his ideals made him a prime target for recruitment. He keeps his head down and navigates the politics of his position strategically. But he became very disillusioned after witnessing Waterford's first Handmaid commit suicide, so much so that he joins the Eyes deceitfully as the only way to use Gilead's system against its own.
Prior to Gilead, Nick appeared to be an outwardly emotional person. He has since learned to disguise his true feelings behind a mask in order to survive. But ultimately, he always wants to do the right thing.
Story[edit | edit source]
In the past[edit | edit source]
Before Gilead[edit | edit source]
Nick grew up in the west side of Detroit, and attended Renaissance High School, during the economic collapse due to the infertility crisis; both his Dad and older brother lost their jobs at a steel mill, resulting in Nick becoming the primary caretaker of the family.
Nick is unemployed and sitting in a career center. He is talking to a counselor, 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, who is an alcoholic and often disappears for extended periods of time. Pryce expresses sympathy for Nick, and tells him about a religious group he is part of called the Sons of Jacob that wants to "clean up" the country. He offers Nick an invitation to a meeting and even alludes there may be a job in it for him. While Nick does not respond verbally one way or the other, future events demonstrate the choice he made.
Serena to Nick's role in the rise of Gilead
After the takeover[edit | edit source]
Nick, presumably in his new job, is driving Commanders Pryce, Guthrie, and Waterford. The three men are discussing women's roles and The Ceremony in the new society they want to build. When asked for his opinion in this "handmaid issue", Nick replies that the three men's idea was right as "not to form attachments" would be "better for everyone". This also evidently indicates the first time Nick meets Mr. Waterford.
Though not shown on-screen, Nick is later hired by the Waterfords as their caretaker and driver. This is probably also the period when, on his (presumably frequent) visits with Commander Waterford to the brothel "Jezebel's", he and the kitchen maid Beth engage in a friendly sexual relationship, to which she later refers as the "old times" . It is quite possible that Beth introduces him into the Mayday network (though not confirmed, see Beth/Notes).
Before the main storyline[edit | edit source]
Nick and Rita discover that the Waterford's Handmaid hung herself in her room. He quickly tries to cut the rope and gets her down only to find that she was dead. Nick is rocked by this tragedy and it opens his eyes to the true rot in Gilead.
Shortly after the death of the Handmaid, Nick joins the Eyes in an effort to keep a check on Waterford by offering intelligence to Commander Pryce. Nick reports to 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. As Guthrie is being arrested by the Eyes, Pryce briefs Nick that his duties are to "be chiefly reporting on the activities of his own Commander" and offers his condolences for the loss in Waterfords' household. He concludes "We are going to clean up Gilead, son."
Present, season one[edit | edit source]
We should have driven away
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, and Nick apologizes that 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.
Serena Joy calls Offred outside to tell her she's asked Nick to try to impregnate Offred. She suspects the Commander is sterile. 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.
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 truthfully 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.
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.
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 concludes the exchange, saying "the Eyes thank you for your service". He refuses her advances and spends the evening lamenting what Offred is being forced to do, and reflecting on the events that led to the death of the Waterfords' first Handmaid.
Serena Joy returns from her mother's house the next morning. As Nick helps carry her bags into the house, Offred stops him and asks if she can see him later. He hesitates, so she presses him to tell her what's wrong. Nick explains that they can't see each other anymore because it's too dangerous. Offred retorts that if she is murdered for her actions, at least someone will remember her. In her frustration she deplores the fact that she knows so little about Nick because he won't tell her anything. Regretting his decision, he follows Offred to tell her that his full name is Nick Blaine and he is from Michigan. Unsatisfied, Offred leaves the room.
After driving Fred and Offred into Jezebel's a second time, Nick revisits Beth in the kitchen. Nick is curious whether 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.
In Night, Nick finds a distressed Offred in the kitchen with a scar on her forehead. When he asks if she is 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 share a brief tender moment before being 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.
Present, season two[edit | edit source]
June[edit | edit source]
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.
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.
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.
After June's recapture, Nick tries to assure her he "tried everything" to get her out. June, in her Offred role, replies "we've been sent good weather."
Seeds[edit | edit source]
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. They welcome Eden and Nick reads Corinthians 13:4-7. Serena leads Eden into Nick's apartment and kindly advises her to enjoy the "act" she’s now required to have.
In the meantime, Nick and the Commander share a “celebratory” drink to end 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.
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.
Commanders from all of the districts attend the opening of the new Rachel and Leah Center. 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.
After[edit | edit source]
After the bombing, Waterford 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.
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.
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".
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.
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.
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 June'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.
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 lying 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, Nick asks her what happened but she doesn't respond. They arrive at a house inside which Hannah, renamed Agnes, is waiting.
June tells Hannah that she has to go and that she loves her. Hannah leaves, with 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.
Commander Waterford 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. 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 Offred 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.
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 Isaac and Eden must have ran 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 swimming pool, chained, accused of adultery, and ordered to repent. They refuse to give in. As Eden recites 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 instead, she and Isaac are pushed into the pool and both of them drown and die.
Offred goes downstairs and finds Nick sitting at the table. She tries to offer comfort but he gets up and walks away.
Offred and Rita are doing the laundry. Rita confesses that she treated Eden badly. Offred reveals that she slept with Nick. Rita says that she should've tried harder. Offred continues to go through Eden's things. She finds a Bible. Offred goes to see Serena and shows her the bible and how Eden wrote notes in it. Serena says that Eden has been hiding a multitude of sins. This upsets Offred who asks Serena how she'll raise Nicole. Serena Joy says that she'll be raised properly and understand the Word of God. Offred says that she won't be able to read it, and leaves, upset.
Nick gets visited by Eden's father who apologizes for Eden. Commander Fred asks if he has another daughter and he says yes. Commander Fred tells him to make sure that their other daughter is raised better. Eden's father tells them how he was the one who turned Eden in to the authorities. This shocks Offred who asks Commander Fred what he'll do when they come for his daughter. He closes the door and slaps her. She slaps him back. He grabs her by the face and shoves her down. Later, Rita helps Offred by giving her an ice pack. Nick arrives so Rita leaves.
Offred tells him that it's okay. They hear the baby downstairs so both of them go to check on her. Rita is holding her but gives her to Offred. Offred in turn gives her to Nick. She tells him to look at what they made and that she loves him.
Offred is feeding Nichole when she hears a commotion outside. Rita comes in and tells her that they can get her out but that she needs to leave now. Rita tells her where to go so Offred hugs her and then leaves. Inside, Fred watches what's going on from his office. He goes and asks Rita what's going on but she says she doesn't know. Realizing something is up, he runs upstairs to check on Nicole. Nick follows him up and when Fred tells him to put together a search party Nick tells him to stay inside.
Present, Season 3[edit | edit source]
Scene changes to Serena Joy, focusing on her missing finger. She walks to Offred's room where Commander Waterford is waiting and tells her to call 911. Serena looks him in the eye and says, "We should give her more time to get away," as Nick watches from the doorway and Fred comes to the realization of what happened. Fred is left alone in the room and looks at the carving, "Nolite te bastardes carborundorum," on the wall. A small moment in the stairway occurs between Nick and Serena. Nick offers his cigarette to Serena and she takes the cigarette and takes a drag.
When June enters the study of Commander Lawrence, which is now full of commanders, she is surprised to see Nick sitting among them. The men are discussing a "shipment" of females from Chicago bound for the Colonies. As a discussion about the difference in gender abilities comes up, Lawrence mocks June's former profession as book editor and then commands her to fetch Charles Darwin’s "The Descent of Man" from his bookshelf. She retrieves the book in question and kneels to give it to him, and he dismisses her remarking "Women can be useful".
Nick reappears at Commander Lawrence’s home. He wants to say goodbye since, as a Commander, he’s being deployed to the front at Chicago. June is annoyed and leaves the room but returns after a quick change of heart. She draws him back into the room and closes the door.m
Household [edit | edit source]
Scenes with Nick in DC
June and the Waterfords travel to Washington to participate in a public prayer to implore the Canadians to return Nichole. While posing for shootings, Nick enters the chamber and speaks with Fred. He has been sent by Commander Lawrence to keep watch. While posing for a photo, Commander Nick stands beside June and the two hold hands briefly.
In a conversation with three Swiss diplomats, one of them asks June for intelligence about Gilead. June offers to put them in contact with a Commander, hinting at Nick. Mattias is doubtful this will succeed but June says that she will persuade Nick. Sofia asks if she is still in a relationship with Nick. June says it is complicated. Mattias says that if "Commander Blaine" talks with them it will help them to protect Nichole. He tells June to bring them Commander Blaine and they will have a deal.
June later meets with Nick outside the Winslow household and embraces him. She tells Nick that she made a secret deal with the Swiss to pass them information. Nick is reluctant and says the Swiss are politicians with their own agenda. June replies she also has her own agenda. June tells Nick that this is his one chance to be a father to their daughter.
The following day, June is surprised to see Lena, one of the Swiss diplomats, at the Winslow household. The diplomat tells her that they are recommending that discussions continue. June is opposed to the idea of bringing Nichole back to Gilead. June is upset that Nick won’t be part of the discussions. Lena replies that June does not know who Nick is and who he was. She says that their research indicates that he is not to be trusted. June offers to talk to Nick but she tells him that he has left for Chicago.
Fred and Serena arrive. Fred asks Lena if she wants to see the tape but she replies that she will wait for the finished product. June asks Serena what Nick did before he worked as their driver. Serena replies that Nick served Gilead. When June asks for details, Serena tells her that Nick served as a soldier in the Crusades and that they wouldn’t be here without him. Serena senses that June is shocked that Nick never disclosed his past.
Meanwhile, Nick passes through the compartments of a train where he is saluted by Gilead soldiers.
Photo Gallery[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Nick appears to be of substantial rank in the Guardian hierarchy (even before his promotion), as he was referred to as "sir" by other Guardians. The title of "sir" is associated with commissioned officers, though he was still a step below a Commander.
- Nick joins the Eyes to keep a check on Fred Waterford because he doesn't have a lot of ways to strike back at Commanders.
- Nick had a brother named Joshua, who struggled with addiction. Joshua died at some point after Nick's recruitment into the Sons of Jacob. Though the details of his death are unknown, Nick feels responsibility for "letting his brother drink himself to death".
- Nick's favorite season is summer and his family used to own a summer cabin on Mackinac Island.
References[edit | edit source]
- Episode 8, "Jezebels"
- Episode 9, "The Bridge"
- Episode 2.2, "Unwomen (TV Episode)"
- Episode 3.3, "Useful"
- Episode 10, "Night"
- "Pilot" Script
- Handmaid’s Tale: Max Minghella Understands Nick, Even If You Don't
- The Art and Making of The Handmaid's Tale
- Men Should Watch 'The Handmaid's Tale' No Matter How Uncomfortable It Makes Them, According To Max Minghella
- Episode 1, "Offred"
- Episode 2, "Birth Day"
- Episode 3, "Late"
- Episode 5, "Faithful"
- Episode 6, "A Woman's Place"
- Episode 2.1, "June"
- Episode 2.3, "Baggage"
- Episode 2.4, "Other Women"
- Episode 2.5, "Seeds"
- Episode 2.6, "First Blood"
- Episode 2.7, "After"
- Episode 2.8, "Women's Work"
- "Jezebels" Script