The Great – Season 3 Episode 7 “Fun” Recap & Review


In The Great Season 3 Episode 7, Catherine and Georgina brainstorm a festival at court to make Catherine’s goal of enlightenment seem more fun to her people. Georgina sedates a grieving Grigor and locks him in his room so she can focus on her plans for the festival day.

Petrov tells Catherine that he’s found Pugachev holing up inside a church. The word is that he’s rallying today. Archie and Petrov argue with Catherine over whether they should kill him (Petrov’s idea) or negotiate with him (Archie’s).

Maxim and Mariel arrive at the church where Pugachev is riling up people against Catherine. Mariel goes in to kill him, but Pugachev spots her and gives an emotional speech directed at her. Mariel, realizing she agrees with his revolutionary words, decides she can’t kill him.

Maxim decides differently. Making an excuse of needing a bathroom, he goes inside to shoot Pugachev. He and Mariel then make their escape. Maxim doesn’t stick around long enough to see that he failed to kill the man, however.

Back at the palace, Elizabeth notices that Catherine seems unwell, but they both convince themselves that she’s worried about Peter going to war. But Elizabeth can’t explain why she grows colder and colder throughout the day.

Archie and Petrov ask Catherine again what they should do about Pugachev. She decides Petrov should surround Pugachev so he can’t escape. Archie will then negotiate with him. If all goes wrong, Petrov can kill him.

For the festival, Georgina convinces Katya to put on her treasonous play that pokes fun at Catherine. Before the play, Georgina acts like she has no idea what the play will be about. 

After the play, George starts spreading the “rumor” of Peter’s death and Catherine’s refusal to tell people about it. She unlocks the door to Grigor’s chambers, allowing Mariel to check in on him and learn of Peter’s death herself.

She then swoops in to “support” and advise Catherine, telling her she can’t allow people to degrade her like Katya just did. But Catherine knows the progressives would hate her if she went back on her word of allowing people to tell the truth.

Whatever she decides, Georgina insists she will stick by her as her friend. She then brings up the small problem of a rumor regarding Peter drowning and says Catherine will have to tell everyone it’s a lie.

Catherine is reassured herself that it is a lie when Maxim tells her that he killed Pugachev. The empress assumes that people only think Peter is dead because the fake Peter is dead.

Meanwhile, Elizabeth meditates in the forest, surrounded by her butterflies. And suddenly her mind knows what her body has been trying to tell her. Peter–the real Peter–is dead.

Catherine goes down to join her people. First, she tells Katya she’s sending her on a writer’s retreat to Siberia (a punishment in disguise). Then, she assures everyone that it’s Pugachev, not Peter, who is dead.

But when the palace chef administers a tasting of Peter’s salted desserts to Catherine, the empress starts to break down. Grigor then comes rushing in, yelling about Peter’s death. And Catherine continues to cry.

The Episode Review

Elle Fanning has long been brilliant in her role as Catherine the Great, but her performance in this episode exemplifies her range. She is so much rolled into one character here: an intelligent leader, a mad woman, a grieving spouse, a scared young girl.

I love Tony McNamara’s approach to writing the onset of Catherine’s grief as delayed, because it affects how we experience her life alongside her. When suddenly Catherine is crying, the reality and gravity of Peter’s loss hits us all over again.

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

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