When you think of The Handmaid’s Tale, shipping is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. After all, the Handmaids of Gilead are a little too busy fighting for their survival to go on dates. However, despite it all, Offred/June (Elisabeth Moss) and Nick (Max Minghella), have managed to forge a relationship — one that’s only bound to get stronger now that they are expecting a child together. But with June’s husband, Luke (O-T Fagbenle) still in Canada trying to find a way to reunite with her, it’s sure to leave fans with conflicting loyalty.
Well, How Did We Get Here?
The Handmaids’ sole job is to have a child, which is difficult to do if your Commander is infertile, like it is hinted that Fred (Joseph Fiennes) may be. In her desperation to have a child, Serena Joy (Yvonne Strahovski) decides to have Offred sleep with the family’s driver, Nick. Eventually, a relationship forms between the two brought together by a combination of their circumstances and actual feelings for each other. During The Handmaid’s Tale roundtables, Minghella called Nick and Offred’s relationship, “an unbreakable connection that sort of survives in these very dire circumstances” and said there is “real love” between the two.
Meanwhile, Luke has escaped to Canada with only the knowledge that his wife and daughter are still alive. Luke is now joined in Canada by Moira (Samira Wiley) who has information about how bad things really are in Gilead and is still recovering from the trauma she faced there herself. Fagbenle says, “That’s a big anxiety I think for Luke as a character: what Moria has been through and seeing the effects of that.” He may now have more information about the dire situation June is in than he ever wanted.
Nick is a character whose motivations are hard to read. Is he just an Eye — a member of the secret police force who spies on the members of Gilead to make sure everyone is staying in line? Or is he a double agent working for Mayday as well? “I love this challenge of playing this character which is that he’s forced to wear a mask. He’s a very messy and complicated person underneath,” Minghella says.
But at least when it comes to June/Offred, it appears that Nick’s motives are genuine. Minghella explains the reasons for Nick’s actions going forward.
“I think at this point June is definitely the driving force. I don’t think he has any personal ambitions to rise in the ranks of Gilead. I don’t think he endorses Gilead at all. By the time we’re in Season 2 this is all about trying to protect his child on a very kind of primal level. Whether he always does the right thing or not is a totally different question, but I think he’s always trying to.”
Nick was last seen in The Handmaid’s Tale Season 1 finale “Night“, helping Offred into a black van heading towards an unknown destination. If his motives are to help her and their unborn child, maybe there is some hope for the two yet. However, the question of Luke and the hope for a family reunion, along with daughter Hannah (Jordana Blake) still remains.
So should we root for Nick and Offred? “I can’t answer that question for you. I root for it, but I play Nick,” Minghella replies.
The Handmaid’s Tale Season 2 premieres April 25th on Hulu. Season 1 is available now on Blu-ray and DVD.