"The Handmaid’s Tale" is digging deeper into its characters’ pasts, but viewers might not be so pleased with all of the backstories season 3 uncovers.
"Household," which hits Hulu Wednesday, takes June (Elisabeth Moss), Serena (Yvonne Strahovski), Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes), Nick and others to Washington, D.C. — a trip that serves as a drastic ploy to get baby Nichole back from Canada. The trip leaves several key players on rocky ground, and consequently brings to light a crucial part of Nick’s past.
"I think we’ll shock a lot of audience members," says Warren Littlefield, the series’ executive producer. "We’ve come to love Nick just as June has, and Max Minghella. What’s not to love?"
The episode will give readers a glimpse into what Nick’s life may have been like before being employed as a driver for the Waterford household. The reveal, which potentially puts Nick among the key players in the creation of Gilead, is one Littlefield describes as "distancing."
"He did have a past. He was on the other side of the battle," Littlefield says. "It’s going to be really difficult for June and for the audience. Yet, I think that’s a part of what we learn in times of war. Who are you? It will be pretty compelling."
Nick, who’s now a commander himself, had been sent to Chicago to fight for Gilead in an active war. "Household" marks his passionate reunion with June.
"What we’re getting to see in season 3 is a real expansion of the world of Gilead — stuff I genuinely didn’t even know about," Minghella says. "I think it’s just a curiosity thing and we’ve really just scratched the surface of these characters and where they can go. They’ve managed to go three seasons without having to really get into it, so this season we’re revealing what might be outside a small and contained area."
Minghella teases the third season of "Handmaid’s" will provide "a little bit" of clarity after dropping its Nick bombshell.
"The thing about a lot of these characters is people have done terrible things and they’re trying to reconcile them. Almost everybody in this show has at some point done something regrettable. They’re like human beings, they’re dark and light."
In its third season, "The Handmaid’s Tale" has an Aunt Lydia (Ann Dowd) backstory sequence set for the eighth episode, and has already opened up a bit more about June’s relationship with her mother and Luke (O. T. Fagbenle) pre-Gilead.