'The Handmaid's Tale': Serena's Pregnancy Raises Question of Nichole's True Paternity

Amid her recently rumored and then confirmed pregnancy, Serena Joy has brought a whole new controversial outlook to The Handmaid’s Tale. Already at the dead center of a love/hate relationship with most (if not all) fans, it’s difficult not to feel sympathy for the woman we believed couldn’t have her own child — while despising her cruel intentions and actions at the same time.

That’s not what has fans raising eyebrows at the moment, however. Instead, everyone wants to address the big elephant in the room — IF Fred is Serena Joy’s son’s father, then what does this mean for Nichole?

The premise of ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’

Following the kidnaped, enslaved, and sexually abused June, The Handmaid’s Tale is centered around a woman who is not only taken away from her husband and child but doomed to produce another couple’s child as their handmaid and sit back as her child is raised by the same people who enslaved her. 

To make matters worse, several women are under this patriarchal and totalitarian government named Gilead and have no rights over their bodies or minds. They are simply baby machines who are ceremoniously raped and forced to bring children to the lives of the rich and seemingly infertile founders. 

June, the leading lady, refuses to give in to orders, though — leading to several rebellions (big and small) and presumably the ultimate revolt that will be led by none other than June herself. 

Nick is presumed to be Nichole’s father

Following several occasions where Fred has had “ceremonies” with June and even taken her outside the home and forced her into intercourse, June remained negative on her pregnancy tests. Frustrating the wife of the household, who intends to take her child as her own, and leading many to wonder if Fred was the problem the whole time.  

Nonetheless, Serena Joy is more obsessed and determined than ever to get her baby, so she takes June to Nick’s house to “force” them to have sex and give her the baby she so desperately craves. June does get pregnant soon after, making it blatantly clear that Nick is the father of Nichole.

Nichole’s paternity is less clear

The problem raised with the announcement of Serena Joy’s pregnancy is now fans are uncertain that Nichole is Nick and June’s child now. After all, if Fred can father Serena Joy’s child, who is to say he couldn’t father June’s child a little while earlier?

“It has always been assumed that Nick was the father since Fred was believed to be sterile, and June had sex with Nick far more frequently than she was forced to perform the handmaid ceremony with Fred,” Screenrant agrees. “While it still seems overwhelmingly likely that Nick is baby Nichole’s father and that Fred managing to get Serena pregnant is simply a one-off miracle, this new turn of events nonetheless casts doubt.”

This doubt will be significantly hard to shake too. The problem is, even if the show never addresses this possibility, how do we, as fans, forget that although Nick and June were regularly engaging in sex — June and Fred had their fair share prior to conception. It was easy to assume Nick the father amid infertility talk, but with Serena Joy’s pregnancy comes a whole new bombshell of a question.

Nichole’s paternity could have major impact on the show’s characters. If Fred is the father, he may fight harder to get his biological daughter back into his custody. If Nick is not the father, perhaps his sympathy for June and desire to protect her could disappear.

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