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The Men of Gilead...and Beyond

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@Umbelina suggested this as the discussion of the male characters tends to lean towards the larger arc instead of individual episodes.

As I said in a post in the episode threads, I feel like this show is making me overly-suspicious of the male characters.  I mean, the Commander is pretty straight forward (no sympathy), but I'm battling with what to think of Nick and I'm not even entirely sold on Luke...

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9 minutes ago, OtterMommy said:

I'm battling with what to think of Nick and I'm not even entirely sold on Luke...

I think both the book and the show intentionally made/are making Nick ambiguous. Like in a war or under an oppressive regime, you never know who you can trust because the people who pretend to be your allies could be spying/informing on you, and can get you killed, especially if you belong to a persecuted group. We won't really know what Nick's intentions are until it's all over. 

As for Luke, I just see him as a basic bro, mostly oblivious to what's going on in the world unless it directly affects him. He tries to act sympathetic when he sees June gradually being stripped of her rights - frozen bank account, job loss, "permission slips" for her birth control - but doesn't take any initiative to change their situation. Their attempt to escape - even though it was much too late - was orchestrated by June, not Luke. I think he only became "woke" after he managed to escape, and saw and heard about the atrocities perpetuated by Gilead.

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I'm just going to bring over this post, with a few changes, rather than try to say it all over again.  ;~)  I've read many posts in the episode thread about Nick that question his motives, or feel that saying "our child" was possessive, or simply can't stand the guy.  Honestly they really surprised me, but it's good (for me) to look at it another way.

I agree the book was a bit ambiguous, but I always felt he was "one of the good guys."  I think he's both an Eye AND working for/with the Resistance, and that's a pretty damn tricky place to be.  As for the actor, yes, I'm kind of surprised by the casting, he just seems so fragile for such dangerous work, and that's against Elizabeth Moss, who is a tiny little thing.

Now I've always disliked Luke, but I feel like I was supposed to see him as just the average dude who didn't give much of a shit that all the women's rights were being taken away, because it didn't impact him.  He didn't care at all, UNTIL it finally DID impact him personally.  I never saw the reason for the connection between Luke and June other than a pretty routine tawdry affair with a married man.  In this last episode "June" I finally saw something to love in Luke, so I don't dislike him quite as much, and at least I finally saw the connection and a reason for June to love him.  I was actually relieved to see Luke be funny, warm, decent and sexy for a change.

The rest is the post from the episode thread, in answer not only to @OtterMommy's post about Nick possibly being shady and a new prison for June, but also to several other posts earlier in the thread from people that dislike, distrust, or downright hate Nick, for various reasons, and some questioning rather or not Nick was involved in June's escape at all.

Nick obviously just DID help June escape.

I think he was saying that escapes are not part of his duties as part of the resistance.  I think it's pretty obvious he's much more valuable to them being placed in the Commander's house.  However, he was obviously valuable enough to arrange for those in the resistance that DO help people escape to make that happen.  We've seen that duties in the resistance are kept secret, it's a "need to know" situation.  So the others certainly trusted him enough, or owed him enough, to get June out.

Now whether or not he's able to return to the Commander's house or not is problematic.  I'm guessing no, since he actually lives there, and has now been gone for a while, and didn't mention rushing back or show any urgency to leave.  So, perhaps he has a cover story, or perhaps he's going to escape with June, or perhaps he'll stay and fight for the resistance in some other way (be reassigned now.)  We'll probably find out soon.

I didn't see him saying "our child" as being threatening.  It IS their child, and a gift in this world he probably thought he'd never have, a child.  Men can love their children as much as women do, and given that they are such a rarity, it's easy for me to see Nick as overwhelmed and happy along with terrified for both June and their child.  I suppose anything is possible, but honestly, it never occurred to me that Nick is or would be any kind of prison for June.

He's never forced her to have sex, he's never even suggested she risk both of their lives to come and have sex with him.  That's been all June.  June prefers being on top with her men, she's nobody's possession, other than Gilead's.  There hasn't been a single time I've heard him tell her what to do.  Hell, even when she foolishly and emotionally wanted to just drive away?  He gave her the keys, AND he gave her his gun.  He waited and she realized he was right, but he didn't try to manhandle her or get her out of the car.

Edited by Umbelina
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I like Nick. He’s shown in a few different ways that he really cares about June with a look or a touch. I think that if he doesn’t stick around it’ll be because of June pushing him away, not him not wanting to be there.  Or, his assasination if he gets caught. I think he’s in a very difficult position right now, so he’s very reserved. Also, this show really centers on the female perspective, which is great but doesn’t allow much for the male characters to really get to be fleshed out. Yet, at least. Who knows what the future episodes will bring. 

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I'll agree that Nick is very ambiguously drawn, especially in the first season and in what we see of him throughout much of the book.  That feels intentional in this highly disorienting world where a handmaid is wise to never really trust anyone.

As I said in the episode thread, I don't know that it's possible to know anything for sure about him yet.  But he is giving some strong impressions, one being that the employer-mandated babymaking to not blow his cover has led him to a place where the potential child he conceived with June seems realer to him than it does to her.  He's referred to it a couple of times and he's obviously thinking about it and what he knows will surely happen to it if she's recaptured.  Right now, I'm not getting much sense that June's thinking much about it at all beyond how much it raises the stakes on her recapture.  There was a hysterical note in her asking "Weeks?" in response to Nick saying it might take that long to get her out that told me she's probably thinking the same thing I probably would be in her situation:  That time is not on her side as she gets heavier and slower as the pregnancy progresses.  Because it does effectively trap her there until after it's born when like Janine she becomes entirely expendable.  But I'm not reading any real possessiveness in Nick saying "my baby" either as much his acknowledging that that is a very real part of the puzzle to him in figuring out what to do until they can get her out.   

That ties into in my other impression I'm getting that Nick is entirely out of his depth on this.  He says upon meeting up with June in the newspaper pressroom that he had a tough time even getting anyone to tell him where she'd been moved.  He also says he's never worked on helping anyone escape.  That suggests he's low enough in the Mayday organization that while he's been spying and dealing in black market goods and information, he probably doesn't have the clout or pull to know any more than that.  His clapback to June that she's the one who forced the mini handmaid rebellion when she did also suggests to me that her doing that at the same time she turned up pregnant almost certainly by one of their own people may have caught them flatfooted and they weren't prepared to disappear a handmaid at that particular moment.  So now they're scrambling.  I'm highly curious to know if he's maintaining his cover in the Waterford house or if that's been now abandoned.  Either way, he's obviously in a position to know what the hunt for June is looking like from the outside, and while it seems likely he's as frustrated as she is to have to hurry up and wait, he has a much better understanding of just how daunting it's looking when she's demanding his keys and to do something RIGHT NOW.

Unless he's just doing a very good imitation of it I also think he's more into June than she is in him, which is certainly understandable given what she's escaping from.  She's been pretty blatant about using him for her own ends, and he's fairly passively accepted that.  Whether that's just because he's getting sex out of it or it means something more or that's just his personality I think is open to interpretation.  

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This is from "Inside the Episodes" but concerns the men, and there isn't a special place to put it otherwise.... I was surprised to find that both "Luke" and "Nick" are British actors. I'm always amazed when a British actor can convincingly do an American accent (as I just assume that an American trying to do a British accent would be "outed" immediately :) )

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4 hours ago, dleighg said:

This is from "Inside the Episodes" but concerns the men, and there isn't a special place to put it otherwise.... I was surprised to find that both "Luke" and "Nick" are British actors. I'm always amazed when a British actor can convincingly do an American accent (as I just assume that an American trying to do a British accent would be "outed" immediately :) )

Joseph Fiennes, who plays Fred, is also British. :)

Some American actors can do a convincing British accent, e.g. John Lithgow in The Crown, Renee Zellweger in the Bridget Jones movies, Gwyneth Paltrow in Sliding Doors and Shakespeare In Love, etc.

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