There are very few people fans hate more on The Handmaid’s Tale than Fred Waterford. Not only does he abuse, humiliate, and degrade women — which would be enough to write anybody off forever — but he’s also a murderer.
His actions create extreme terror in Gilead, which is why he has so much power. From the first time we saw him kill anybody to punishing his wife, here are five fast facts you need to know about Commander Waterford (Joseph Fiennes) on The Handmaid’s Tale.
License To Kill
Fred is clearly not a nice person, but fans of the show never saw him kill anybody until Season 2. In a flashback scene, we saw his wife Serena (Yvonne Strahovski) get shot by a sniper, Fred finds the person who shot Serena and kills him. He brings the man and his wife out to the woods and decides to kill the wife first, before shooting the man.
Though it’s never explicitly said, it’s definitely implied that Fred is infertile. He tries to get June (Elisabeth Moss) pregnant multiple times, but it never works. It’s only when June finally has sex with Nick (Max Minghella) that she gets pregnant. Fred also knows the baby, Nichole, is not his, but he pretends like she is.
Shocking Act of Decency
It is forbidden for women to read or write in Gilead, but for some reason Fred allows June to do both. He brings her into his office to play Scrabble and he even gifts her a magazine, which she knows she’s not allowed to read. It’s believed he does all of this in order to develop intimacy with June.
A number of Commanders from different districts gathered at the opening of the new Handmaid training facility called The Rachel and Leah Center. At this gathering, one of the Handmaids runs towards the men and shoots off a bomb, killing many. Though Fred ultimately survives, he’s seriously injured and has to spend a lot of time in the hospital.
Despite allowing June to read or write, Fred is not quite as lenient with his own wife. When Serena approaches the Commanders to ask about changing the law to allow women to read or write, Serena gets punished by having her pinky finger cut off. Though Fred could have prevented this, he wanted Serena to learn her lesson.