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Handmaid's Tale: Nick Dies Saving Hannah From Gilead - Theory Explained

ScreenRant logo ScreenRant 1/20/2023 James Hunt
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Nick Blaine has largely been separated from June Osborne in The Handmaid's Tale, but he may still be able to play a big role in her life by saving Hannah from Gilead — and dying in the process. So, does Nick die in Handmaid's Tale, or should he at all? June escaped Gilead back in season 4 and has moved on into Canada, where she has a newfound sense of freedom and can begin to move on with her life. However, she will remain somewhat tethered to Gilead for as long as her daughter, Hannah, is there. Nick is similarly bound, having to play his part as a Commander for his own self-preservation, with seemingly little hope of making it out. Those two factors combined, though, could be what plays into the endgame for Nick's character on The Handmaid's Tale.

So far, Nick doesn't die in Handmaid's Tale. Following June's escape from Gilead, Nick informed June in a phone call that the plum dress Hannah wore at Fred Waterford's funeral means she's ready to attend "wives" school. What's worse, Gilead has made numerous attacks on June since she's gotten away, and Nick has been tossing and turning over her safety. After punching Commander Lawrence at his wedding, Nick is thrown in jail, and Rose abandons him after she realizes he still harbors feelings for June. Nick's season 5 ending has led to speculation that Nick will end up doing whatever it takes to save Hannah, even if it costs him his own life. Of course, Nick didn't end up meeting his demise in The Handmaid's Tale season 5, but there's still time for major elements of this theory to end up ringing true before the series' conclusion. And based on the trajectory of his character arc and his love for June, it would be a fitting — if tragic — ending for Nick.

Related: Handmaid's Tale: How Bad Is The World's Population Crisis (Outside Gilead)?

Nick Could Save Hannah From Gilead In The Handmaid's Tale Season 6

"Does Nick die in Handmaid's Tale?" is a fair question, but the answer is no — or at least, Nick hasn't died in Handmaid's Tale yet. Unlike most in Gilead, Nick has shown a lot of kindness and decency throughout The Handmaid's Tale, and he genuinely cares for June. That is now at odds with his role as Commander though, essentially pitting his duties within Gilead against his love for her. That's led to a delicate balancing act that cannot last, so something ultimately has to give. In addition, now that his love for June has been proven to both Lawrence and his wife Rose, he's put in a very dangerous position.

One option would be for Nick to simply put June behind him and go on as a Commander, but it's hard to imagine that happening. His love for June is too strong, it wouldn't fit with his story (or make for a particularly compelling narrative), and, if Gilead does threaten Hannah as retribution for June's recent actions and escape to Canada on The Handmaid's Tale, he wouldn't be able to stand by and let it happen.

Nick was in a position of some power and influence, though that's in question after Lawrence's wedding. He may say that getting Hannah out is impossible, but that really just feels like setup for attempting it — establishing the stakes of the mission, and how much of a risk it will be. Getting Hannah out of Gilead is not necessarily impossible — Nick has access to many of Gilead's resources and all the intel necessary, and is June's greatest possible accomplice on the inside — but getting both himself and Hannah out alive may well be. It's possible that The Handmaid's Tale season 6 could conclude with Nick getting out of jail and attempting to make a daring dash to the Canadian border, with others in Gilead alerted to his deception.

Why The Handmaid's Tale Needs To Kill Off Nick

So, does Nick die in Handmaid's Tale? Nick getting Hannah to safety but being killed in the process would very much fit with how The Handmaid's Tale operates, as well as providing a satisfying conclusion to his arc. He and June almost certainly can't be together, both because of his life in Gilead and because June's with Luke again, but the show needs to find a way of cementing their love and paying off both their relationship and his work against Gilead. And, as shown time and time again, it's incredibly difficult to escape Gilead's borders alive. This story would tick all of those boxes.

Related: The Handmaid's Tale: Every Character Who Has Escaped From Gilead

In addition, without June and the pair's daughter, Nichole, Nick doesn't have anything else left for him in Gilead. He's stuck there playing the role of a powerful and well-respected Commander on The Handmaid's Tale, but he doesn't even truly believe in the cause that he's forced to feign investment in. The two people he loves are gone, one of which (June) was his only lifeline for meaningful, authentic human connection in a dystopian land that's largely devoid of it. So, on top of the other evidence in favor of this tragic, yet heroic, Handmaid's Tale theory, Nick doesn't seem to have much left to live for (aside from saving Hannah and getting her back to June and Luke) in his current predicament anyway.

Of course, even with highly-important developments in season 5 — like Nick's imprisonment and Serena Joy's escape — there's still a great deal up in the air regarding how the show will tie certain characters and plot points up. There are questions over whether Hannah does make it out, largely because Margaret Atwood's Handmaid's Tale sequel book, The Testaments, suggests she doesn't. It could also be that Nick dies trying and doesn't succeed, making it even more tragic, but the show could easily diverge away from that book too. Either way, Nick's death coming as a result of one final act of love for June, and protecting those in need, seems like the best way to bring his Handmaid's Tale story to a close.

Why Nick Didn't Escape Gilead With June

The question "does Nick die in Handmaid's Tale?" looks like it'll be answered pretty soon, but the bigger question is why didn't Nick escape Gilead with June in the first place. After all, the only happiness that either of them experienced in Gilead was each other, so it doesn't make sense that they would separate. Nick's reasoning for staying behind was finally revealed in The Handmaid's Tale season 5 finale, in a conversation he had with American agent Mark Tuello. What Nick basically says is that while he loves June, he's aware of the fact that there are other people outside of Gilead that do too.

Nick understandably thinks that June only fell for him because of her circumstances. In addition, he also knows that his position in Gilead as a Commander in Handmaid's Tale makes him the perfect spy for the Americans, and he can only use that power if he remains in Gilead. Finally, Nick will be the key to saving Hannah from Gilead as well, as June as left, and he's one of the few with anti-Gilead sentiments in the lion's den and has a stake in Hannah's survival. That being said, Nick's status in Gilead has come into question thanks to his actions against Commander Lawrence, and the results of this will be further explored in The Handmaid's Tale season 6.

Next: The Handmaid's Tale Season 5 Ending Explained In Full


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