The Great – Season 3 Episode 10 Recap, Review & Ending Explained

Once Upon a Time

Does Archie kill Pugachev?

In The Great Season 3 Episode 10, Archie meets with Pugachev to talk about negotiating his surrender, but Pugachev instead asks him to join him and bring the church. Archie is tempted, but he’s worried that Pugachev wouldn’t be good for him.

Pugachev kisses him then, in an effort to win the patriarch over, but Archie can’t be persuaded. He shoots at Pugachev, who he gets away…. Only to run into Petrov’s gun. Pugachev sees that Petrov isn’t allowed to shoot him, so he’s able to run away again… and straight into Maxim’s carriage.

Does Pugachev accept Catherine’s deal?

The army ties up Pugachev and brings him to Catherine, who offers him a deal. He can live if he reveals himself as Pugachev on a tour and surrenders. He doesn’t care if he dies, however. He’d rather get under her skin with talk of how much the people hate her and love him. Perhaps running the country is even his destiny?

The next morning, Catherine brings another gun to her mouth. Again, it isn’t loaded.

What is Hugo’s plan?

Hugo bothers Georgina about Grigor’s whereabouts. Seeing that George is an opportunist, he offers to give her more than Catherine could. Catherine doesn’t have any good choices in the Pugachev situation. But Grigor has Paul.

If they can find the child, they have the upper hand. And if Georgina married Paul, she could be a queen. Hugo then drops to the ground from the tea George sedated. While she doesn’t plan to align herself with the former king, she does like his idea.

How does Pugachev die?

Maxim can’t take it anymore. He worries that Pugachev will reveal Marial’s disloyalty. So with a little extra persuasion from Archie, he walks into the room where Pugachev is being held and shoots him in the head.

What news does the royal astronomer bring?

Catherine wonders aloud to Marial when she first started having a sense of destiny. Was it innate, or suggested by someone else? Marial only asks her to pretend that Peter died on day one of their coup. It’s day one; they’re successful in starting Catherine’s reign. And the first order of business on her “first day” is to greet Nikolai Shostakich, the royal astronomer.

He informs the empress of an incoming comet that only comes every 75 years. In a few days it passes over Russia. He thought it would be an opportunity to show the heavens as the domain of science and not God. They just have to show them that they are knowledgeable about the comet and prepare people for its coming.

They’re interrupted then by Petrov bringing in Pugachev’s dead body. Petrov challenges Nikolai to a duel for sleeping with his fiancée, then others gather to discuss Catherine’s plan. Pugachev’s followers will now splinter into different groups, becoming more difficult to fight off. Archie and Petrov suggest she come out and say she ended Peter’s life.

Does Elizabeth plan to coup Catherine?

Nikolai finds Catherine again to discuss her plan for the comet. He starts talking, then they start having sex. Elizabeth walks in on them to dismiss Nikolai and question Catherine’s priorities.

Catherine realizes when she can’t get her guards to remove Elizabeth that she has no hold on anyone. Has she been telling a delusional story about herself all along? Elizabeth encourages her to stand up. If she doesn’t, Elizabeth will.

Later, Peter the Great appears to Elizabeth to advise her to kill Catherine and take the throne. She calls him a heartless monster. He can’t believe he’d choose her over him–but she remarks that perhaps she’s choosing something else.

Does Georgina find Paul?

Georgina finds Grigor in the forest with Paul. She suggests they take Paul and raise him together. She could be the new leader of the rebellion and change the country for the better. Grigor hands over Paul to her, but then proceeds to knock her out and take the child back.

Grigor crawls back to Marial to ask her to marry him. He knows she hates Peter, but he loves her anyway. The forest gave him that clarity. She wants a new life with him too, so he pitches that they hole up at his estate and raise Paul together. He wants to do it for Peter.

Marial doesn’t like any of this, however. Nor does she like it when Maxim appears to tell her how he’s aligned himself with Archie.

Velementov finds Paul outside Marial’s quarters. He pulls a gun on Grigor and tells him to go home. He may need Paul, but Catherine needs him more. On his way to Catherine, however, he gets knocked out by Georgina, who then makes her way to Archie.

Does Catherine accept her destiny?

Hugo confronts Catherine in her chambers to tell her to run. He and Agnes will have a carriage ready in the morning for her and Paul to take them away. She just has to make the right decision.

After he leaves, she takes another gun to her head. At that moment, Smolny bursts in to shoot her and she turns the gun on him, killing him. For the first time, she picked the loaded gun. She smiles, unbelieving. It seems her destiny to rule has been decided.

Does Catherine interfere in the duel?

Elizabeth advises Petrov to proceed with his duel against Nikolai. Catherine will then have to step up and lead to uphold her own laws.

Petrov and Nikolai commence their duel. But Catherine arrives to propose herself as Nikolai’s second. She shoots him before the ten paces are up, then announces to everyone present that they live by her rules. If they can’t abide by that, then they should leave court.

Does Arkady step up as leader of Pugachev’s rebellion?

Back at the headquarters of the rally, Arkady keeps people’s spirits up and assures them of “Peter’s” return.

He later gets word Paul and George are coming, and likely Grigor as well. He thinks he can keep up this rebellion; he just needs to pretend to the people that Peter is sending him orders.

Does Archie ordain Paul?

Archie and George try to quickly ordain Paul. Hugo and Agnes join in as well, wanting to align themselves with Georgina. Then Grigor bursts in to point a gun at them, Hugo and Agnes run away, and Archie is able to quickly resolve the ordination.

Grigor takes hold of Paul and leaves–after telling George he’s finished with her.

Does Marial betray Archie?

Marial finds Catherine to tell her that she has something to offer. She finally gives her what she’s been hiding to protect Archie: letters between Pugachev and the patriarch. Catherine then beckons Marial to follow her.

Catherine returns to her throne room to find Elizabeth in her seat. Several people gather, including Maxim, Archie, Velementov, and Petrov. Catherine tells them all she sees clearly now.

What is Catherine’s plan to stop Pugachev’s rebellion?

Finally, Catherine has come up with a plan to stop Pugachev’s supporters from overthrowing her. She advises Archie to tell the people that the church has asked for a sign that Catherine is chosen by God to be Russia’s ruler. He will tell them the day and time to look into the sky for the sign–and it will be the exact time that the comet passes over Russia.

She then enlists Maxim to go on a long speaking tour to tell people the story of Pugachev’s (not Peter’s) death. Velementov will go south to tell how Peter died through the ice. Meanwhile, they’ll also spread different tales of how Peter has died, as well as a rumor that Catherine is Peter the Great’s daughter. She’ll then be able to use all the different rumors to her advantage at different times.

Does Catherine have Archie killed?

Once Archie signs his proclamation, Catherine calls on the guards to take Archie and bury him alive. But first, she has him free serfs owned by the church and give them their own land.

Elizabeth then gets up from her seat. She wasn’t truly going to try to usurp Catherine. It was only an ultimatum. And Catherine lived up to it.

How does The Great Season 3 end?

Arkady continues to rile up the people against the empress. But Petrov, on the empress’ orders, sends cannonballs into the church where they rally.

And Marial, despite having betrayed him, apparently can’t abide by her friend Archie’s death. She digs him up, and he breathes again.

Back at the palace, Catherine looks out to all the chaos happening outside. “Destiny didn’t do it. I did it,” she remarks, her hair now cut short. Alone in her throne room, she dances with herself.

The Episode Review

It’s happened! The Catherine who came to Russia with a heart to make big, bold changes is back–but with a harder edge to her. This season was largely a journey in getting back to her, to sharpen her resolve and let go of the naivety that has been holding her back.

It’s so exciting to see the empress wake up, even knowing she’ll be forever changed by loving and losing Peter. But everything she’s gone through has led to her cunning actions at the end of this season. And they are why she’ll be known as Catherine the Great.

There’s a flaw in her plan, however. As smart and cutting as her idea to utilize the comet is, it still relies on the church to prop up Catherine’s rule. She may have used it to her advantage, to assure her people she’s chosen by God. But–especially with Archie still alive–the church is likely going to be her ultimate adversary. And an adversary you depend on is one that’s going to be hard to defeat.

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