The victories on The Handmaid's Tale often feel too small to even begin to balance out the dystopian hardships and horrors the characters face — but in Wednesday's episode, progress actually seems to be made when Luke publishes the letters June received from the Mayday movement. Even this, though, could have horrible consequences, as it could mean trouble for those characters still trapped in Gilead. Nick put his safety on the line when he gave those letter to Luke. Will Nick get caught on The Handmaid's Tale? He fulfilled his promise to June, but there will likely be dire consequences for his actions.
Here's the downright Shakespearean domino chain set up in the latest episode: Nick meets Luke in Canada and gives him the stack of letters from women in Gilead. Luke, with Moira and Erin, leaks them to the press — disgracing and discrediting the Gilead diplomacy meeting. These eyewitness accounts shine a light on how Gilead is oppressing and abusing women, and Canada believes the women. This development is fantastic for bigger political reasons, but on a personal level, it could create problems for Nick, whose child bride Eden knew he had those letters. She may or may not have read them.
Were this story set in another universe, it would be almost inevitable that Eden would put two and two together and turn Nick in as a traitor. This is Gilead, however, and there are a lot of oppressive barriers in her way. First, there's a possibility that Eden really didn't read her husband's letters, as she says. Women aren't allowed to read in Gilead, after all. And how would Eden find out about the letters leaking in Canada? The news is likely to be suppressed in Gilead. There's also the matter of the vow Eden took to honor and obey Nick — and that's not a suggestion in Gilead; it is a command. Would she testify against him? Can she?
Eden could be empowered to act by the fact that Nick threatened her for touching the letters. If she feels vindictive, it might be enough to get her to speak out against her husband. Eden's secrets might even come out accidentally — especially given how many people tend to come by the house asking questions. What if Aunt Lydia starts poking around and Eden brings up Nick's threat about a hidden stack of papers in his trunk? All of these small moments seem poised to add up somehow.
Eden presents herself as meek and mild: the platonic ideal of everything Gilead wants a woman to be. But she's been taking everything in since she arrived at the Waterford home, and she has the potential to divulge a lot of dangerous information to the wrong people. Is there any chance she could also be a force for good? She was at the market when the Handmaids introduced themselves to each other by their given names, taking back a small dose of power for just a moment. Will Eden side with the system of Gilead, or could she be won over by the more rebellious women closer to home?
Regardless of what Eden does next, Nick has already complicated matters by telling Luke that June is carrying Fred Waterford's child, even though it's far more likely the baby is his own. While he was protecting Luke's feelings (along with June and, most importantly, himself), that little white lie could become a major source of conflict later on if Luke and Nick ever meet again.
Leaking the letters was a victory for what's left of America outside Gilead, but it left the Waterford household in a precarious situation. Nick could so easily get caught, and that would get everyone in the house in trouble: Nick for transporting the letters over the border, June for receiving them in the first place, and even possibly Rita, if it comes out that she kept the letters safe while June was on the run.
There are a lot of ways for this situation to fall apart: Eden could turn in Nick, or he could spiral further into that oppressive patriarchal rabbit hole and threaten her again, or worse, to keep her silent. For nearly two seasons on The Handmaid's Tale, Nick has been helpful to June, but he's also been a shrewd survivor. Nick has been playing too many sides against one another for too long. It remains to be seen how catastrophic the fallout is.