The Great – Season 3 Episode 5 “Sweden” Recap & Review


In Season 3 Episode 5 of The Great, Pugachev, by Archie’s guidance, riles up crowds against Catherine the Great while pretending to be Peter. The people start burning down towns and creating dolls of Catherine to destroy and disrespect.

Mariel knows exactly who’s behind Pugachev’s rebellion, and goes to confront Archie. Archie says Catherine is now humbled, which was his goal. If he can make her desperate and then swoop in and save her by getting rid of Pugachev, Catherine will start to listen to him again and learn that the church is first in people’s hearts.

Catherine and Elizabeth are one step ahead, however. They muse together that Pugachev must have a mystery employer, as he wouldn’t be acting alone. In the meantime, Catherine enlists Velementov to come up with a plan to stop Pugachev.

Agnes takes this as the perfect time to strike. She tells Velementov to find her in the forest, and he abandons his duties to chase after her. She leads him to the river. But during the chase, Velementov falls and hits his head. Agnes doesn’t wake him until the morning, causing him to be late to present his plan.

In his part of their plan, Hugo acts as if he’s going to shoot himself in front of Peter. He gives a performance of being sad over having no legacy–just like Peter. And Hugo isn’t the only one digging into his insecurities.

While Peter has been trying to be a good father to Paul and come up with a cure for his colic, the ghost of Peter the Great appears to him. Peter’s father tells him he needs his help; he’s become a terrible leader who’s ruled by his own wife.

After Elizabeth starts a fire in the palace, she and Catherine conduct a search through people’s evacuated apartments. Hearing this, Mariel worries for Archie and sneaks into his apartment to grab anything that would incriminate him. In the end, they don’t find evidence against anyone.

When Velementov finally arrives to present his plan, he’s drunk and incomprehensible. Catherine relieves him of his duties, and second-in-command Petrov takes on the task of finding Pugachev.

Later, Peter weakly suggests Catherine give the throne back to him. When that of course doesn’t work, he brainstorms ways to get his father’s ghost to leave. He gets Elizabeth to speak to him, but to no avail.

Peter the Great reappears to Peter, this time playing badminton with an older version of Paul. The 20-year-old tells his dad that he grew up and decided to be nothing like Peter, and instead to base himself on Peter the Great. Peter is hurt. He knows he was a good father, but Paul remarks that’s not what history remembers. 

Catherine barges in suddenly to complain about Velementov. Peter then asks her to make him head of the army so he can become a great military leader for the country and take Pugachev out (and impress the visions of his father and son). But Catherine denies him, reminding him that he messed up the plan with Sweden.

Hugo suggests that Peter and Velementov should prove themselves by taking back Sweden for him. He plays to their pride. Grigor sees what Hugo is trying to do, but Velementov and Peter like the idea.

In the end, Peter decides to tell Catherine he’s going hunting for a week. She thinks he just needs time to cool off. But unbeknownst to her, he’s going to steal her army to invade Sweden.

The Episode Review

Tension and conflict are brewing in Catherine and Peter’s marriage! Which of course means it’s brewing in Russia. While Agnes and Hugo have been a thorn in their side, surely, but I don’t think they’ll turn out to be the main source of conflict. 

Truly, no one has control. Not Catherine over Russia. Not Peter over himself. And I doubt Archie truly has control over Pugachev, who is the adversary (aside from Catherine and Peter themselves) I worry most about.

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You can read our full season review for The Great Season 3 here!

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