A bit of Nick's backstory is revealed on The Handmaid's Tale Season 1 Episode 8, ensuring us he's one of the good guys, at least as far as guys can exist in the incredibly mucked up world of Gilead.
Nick is struggling with himself because he feels for June and enjoys their time together as much as she does. But he also knows being close to her puts her in jeopardy.
Did the last Offred kill herself or was she killed? It's a matter of semantics. There are unsavory things happening with the women of Gilead outside the scope of their bizarre laws, and not all of them are strong enough to survive.
Nick's past was interesting. He came from a hardworking family who was down on their luck as the country fell apart. They were out of work and unable to cope well with it. Nick's career counselor took a liking to him that stood all the way through present day Gilead.
Mr. Price invited Nick to join him in a group he belonged to, suggesting there might even be a job in it for him. He wasn't kidding.
Mr. Price was one of the founding fathers of Gilead, but it's hard to imagine 30 chapters of the Sons of Jacob were filled with others like him. The handmaid system and the intricacies thereof were determined in the backseat of Nick's car as he was driving three commanders.
Commander Price: We must treat these girls respectfully in a Godly fashion, despite the moral stain for their lives before.
Commander Guthrie: Price is up. We can't afford all that window dressing. The human race is at risk. What is important is efficiency.
The Commander: So what do you propose:
Commander Guthrie: It's not rocket science. All remaining fertile women should be collected and impregnated, by those of superior status, of course.
Commander Price: You're talking about concubines!
Commander Guthrie: I don't CARE what you want to call it.
The Commander: The wives would never accept it.
Commander Guthrie: Well, that's a non-issue.
The Commander: No, we won't succeed without their support. You know that.
Commander Price: Maybe the wives should be there. For the act. It would be less of a violation. There is scriptural precedent.
The Commander: "Act" may not be the best name, from a branding perspective. "The Ceremony"?
Commander Guthrie: Sounds good. Nice and Godly. The wives would eat that shit up.
The conversation was off-the-cuff and disturbing on many levels, not the least of which it determined the most fundamental rights and intimacies of women in such an offhand manner and considered their feelings so worthless.
Price originally wanted the conversation to be more referential but acquiesced to the group level of thinking instead of demanding the women who would create more commanders be taken more seriously.
Whether a man who caved so easily could be one of the good guys is debatable, but that's Gilead for you.
Nick had already learned by then to keep his mouth shut and say what people wanted to hear. That behavior lent to people confiding in him and ultimately made him an exceptional Eye.
What was unexpected was an internal affairs Eye. Price trying to clean up Gilead (whatever that means) by making it safe for Handmaids is an interesting take.
But while Nick is spying on Waterford for what he's done to the Handmaids of the Waterford house, Nick has gotten close to them, too. That must be why he's reconsidering his relationship with June.
On June's part, she's all in. She knows Luke is alive and in Canada, but she's going willingly to Nick and soaking him in while the memory of Luke fades.
Nick, though, realizes it might be a little hypocritical to call out Waterford for wanting something else with this woman with whom he shares a life inside of his life if he's going to connect with her, too.
The whole Jezebels experience was god awful. It's frightening that the very men who set the entire shit show into motion are the ones who set up the black market on their desires.
One moment they're blaming society and women within it being whores, not taking being birthing beasts to heart and the men not respecting them and allowing them to get away with being in the workforce, etc., as the cause of the hell on earth that came over them, and the next? Jezebels.
How can men who created a new, God-fearing society where women have no rights because they were lustful and independent allow someplace like Jezebels to exist?It shows how little they care about what they created and how false their beliefs in that creation were in the first place.
If June hadn't gone to Jezebels, she wouldn't have seen that part of society, and it's better to know about it than not.
We also now know there is an alternative, however repugnant, to the colonies. If there is one alternative, there are bound to be others. I still want to know more about the colonies, but I'll accept seeing Moira again as a great booby prize.
Moira lays everything on the line, and her candor is a refreshing change of pace for June. June can get lost in the Waterford home wallowing. Now she's reminded there are worse things than a Handmaid, and her best friend is suffering it.
It was also appreciated that Moira told June not to give any credence to Luke being alive. Even if he hadn't gotten out of Gilead by now, things still wouldn't be as bad for him because he's not them. Women in Gilead are treated like garbage no matter their station.
At least June knows where to find Moira for the immediate future.
It's time for June to figure out what is going on in that home of theirs and how she'll fit into it. If Nick knows anything more about the death of the Handmaid before her, June needs to discover it as soon as possible.
The way Serena Joy sneered at Fred after the other(s) taken away was either an indication she knew what was going on between them and her husband and put a stop to it or she expected the girls to go to such great lengths because of the cringeworthy things he did with them.
Either way, Nick was there for the entire situation and shouldn't let June get any more entangled between the couple than she is already.
Serena Joy gifting her childhood musical jewelry box to June didn't sit well with the Handmaid, but it was a very sweet gesture overall.
A perfect gift. A girl trapped in a box. She only dances when someone opens the lid, when someone else winds her up. If this is a story I'm telling, I must be telling it to someone. There's always someone, even when there's no one. I will not be that girl in the box.June
The Waterfords are vying for June's attention out of loneliness and a desire to befriend the person who may be the mother of their future child. Sadly, that's something they should be doing together, but the commanders created a society where that doesn't even make sense.
Instead of a loving couple welcoming a woman who will become a part of their family and gift them with a child, they've kidnapped a slave, raped her and are holding her hostage until (when and if) she gives birth to their child.
It's an ugly world.
This season is wrapping up far too fast. What do you hope to see in the final two?
Carissa Pavlica is the managing editor and a staff writer and critic for TV Fanatic. She's a member of the Critic's Choice Association, enjoys mentoring writers, conversing with cats, and passionately discussing the nuances of television and film with anyone who will listen. Follow her on Twitter and email her here at TV Fanatic.