‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Serena Joy Waterford Named June’s Baby Nichole for a Passive-Aggressive Reason

Ahead of its Season 4 finale, The Handmaid’s Tale has managed to bring back a lot of questions that we thought we knew the answers to — but just may not have. With this Hulu hit series, there’s no doubting that everything isn’t as it seems, and now fans are questioning everything they know about baby Nichole.


From Serena Joy’s shocking pregnancy announcement to the most recent court date with June in Canada, whispers of Nichole’s true paternity have made their way into most conversations. Most recently, being the savage way Serena Joy may have passive-aggressively made a jab at Fred’s infertility with a nod to her biological father

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’: Baby Holly was renamed ‘Nichole’ by Serena Joy

Yvonne Strahovski
Yvonne Strahovski | Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images

As the story goes in the totalitarian society of Gilead, Offred, or as we know her best as by now — June Carter — is the one that actually gave birth to baby Holly in the final episodes of season 2, but it is Serena Joy who is crowned as the mother of the baby. This gave her reign over the baby’s name, to which she renamed her Nichole.

Taking it a few steps back, it’s important to note here, the story behind Offred’s pregnancy. As a handmaid, Offred has no right or control over her body. It is simply a vessel for producing babies for the leaders of Gilead. In this case, Fred.

The idea is that through sexual ‘rituals,’ or more accurately rape, Offred would bear Fred’s child, whom his wife Serena Joy will raise as their own. After many times of trying (and years of trying with Serena), the likelihood that Fred is infertile is considered — only to oneself, of course, because all men are ‘perfect.’

Desperate to become a mother, Serena sneaks June into Nick’s small home, so he can finally get her pregnant and give Serena the baby she has always wanted. Not long later, we find out Offred is pregnant!

The name could be a passive-aggressive dig at Fred 

Amid this terrifying fact in the series, The Handmaid’s Tale viewers meet baby Nichole — baby Holly to June as she makes no mistake of correcting when the baby girl finally makes her way into Luke’s arms in Canada. 

The best part of Serena Joy renaming Holly Nichole, however, is the much-deserved slap in the face aimed in Fred’s direction. This is most notably obvious in the mentions of the show’s closed captions that include the ‘h’ in her name.

The significance?

Nichole is the product of June and Nick‘s secret (but arguably forced at first) romance. Nichole is the feminine version of Nick (or Nicholas), who is Nichole’s real dad — making Serena’s choice of name an obvious jab at Fred’s infertility. 

This fan theory could change everything as we know it with Nichole’s paternity

Now that Serena is pregnant with Fred’s baby in season 4, fans have been going crazy over the possibility of Fred also fathering June’s baby. It was automatically presumed that Nick was the father — by viewers and June herself — since she fell pregnant shortly after making love to Nick. However, we also thought Fred was infertile!

Nichole’s true paternity now hangs in the balance with this shocking news, and there’s no real say on where the series might go from here. In fact, it has already been an intense and crazy ride since Nichole made it to Canada, and Fred has fought to get her back. 

While this could change everything as we know it, Nichole has made quite an impression on Luke since her arrival, reminding him that June isn’t the same woman he married years earlier.

It’s safe to say, this story is far from over, and we should be getting some good or bad news on the subject in season 5 of The Handmaid’s Tale.

RELATED:‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Showrunner Says Nichole Most Likely Had ‘a Paternity Test’ Done