Alone at Last
In Episode 3 of The Great Season 2, Tarzinsky’s death comes to light, and Catherine knows exactly who murdered him.
Peter’s friends are busy plotting how to destabilize Catherine, but Georgina is frustrated with their lack of focus. Peter’s main concern at the moment is missing the first day of truffle hunting season.
Furious about the murder, the empress locks Peter in his room and kicks everyone else out. This concerns Elizabeth, who knows that his mother used to lock him in for days. Grigor, too, remembers. He tries to cheer Peter from outside his window, like he did when they were boys.
But Georgina is less concerned about Peter than she is about her own safety. She asks if Catherine would “exile” her and her husband to France for their disloyalty. The empress agrees, but Grigor struggles with the idea of leaving his best friend.
In the meantime, Catherine is worried about preventing a war with the Ottomans. Velementov says they may be readying to invade. They were allies of Peter’s and won’t like a woman on the throne.
Catherine clashes with Velementov further when she wants to repeal laws that allow for murder. Velementov doesn’t understand the need for change and believes it would be too difficult. As it turns out, there are many situations that make it legal to kill.
Catherine tortures Peter further by putting his mother’s corpse in the room with him. To add to offence, Grigor and Georgina leave for their exile. Peter starts to spiral. He accuses his mother of mistreating him, getting so worked up that he accidentally breaks her skull.
Orlo is dealing with his own difficulties, invisible to everyone else. Now that he has esteem at court, his family and region want favours from him.
Catherine continues to stew in her anger for Peter and refuses to mourn Leo. Noticing this, Marial tries to convince her to cry.
Instead, she snorts a mysterious substance from the doctor to keep her from sleeping and to help her get more done. She appoints Father Basil archbishop at court and goes over laws to repeal with Orlo and Velementov—all in the middle of the night. Again, Marial urges her to slow down and mourn Leo.
Catherine decides she’ll let Peter out. But when he reads her an unintentionally offensive apology about Leo, she locks him in again.
The empress storms into the woods around the same time Peter escapes to go truffle hunting.
In the woods, Catherine senses Leo’s presence and is finally able to grieve. Peter, on the other hand, unexpectedly bonds with Velementov—after the general tried to shoot him for escaping, that is.
In the two closing scenes, Grigor returns to Peter, having chosen his friend over his wife. And Catherine, letting go of Leo, regains hope for the future.
The Episode Review
This episode explores a couple of prominent themes. Both Catherine’s mourning Leo and Peter’s reckoning with his mother have been a long time coming. A lot of tension leads up to both of those extremely emotional breaking points.
There are several unexpected but touching moments here too. Not to mention loads of character development. I’ve been looking forward to Orlo obtaining his own storyline as well, and this episode delivered.
So far, season 2 has been slightly more serious in tone than season 1. This episode is no exception, but The Great really hits its stride and embraces the change in tone here—all without sacrificing its trademark grim sense of humour.