A historical comedy-drama using humor and feminism to examine 18th Century Russia, ‘The Great’ revolves around Catherine the Great, her cruel husband, Peter III, and her subjects. The show, created by Tony McNamara, tackles the challenges faced by a radical, progressive, and foreign female ruler in a deeply patriarchal and religious society.
Season 2 explores the difficulties a pregnant Catherine faces after ascending the throne. Facing the complex task of spreading European ideas amongst the common folk, Catherine relies on Orlo, Velementov, and Marial as she battles personal and political issues. On the other hand, Peter is in love with Catherine and is convinced that the crown will return to him in the future. Season 2 episode 3 focuses on Catherine’s pent-up grief for Leo and Peter’s realization about his abusive parents. Here’s everything you need to know about this episode. SPOILERS AHEAD.
The Great Season 2 Episode 3 Recap
The episode opens with Catherine waking up from a nightmare. Orlo informs her that Tarzinski’s dead body has been found. Catherine then storms off to find Peter, aware that he is the killer. Meanwhile, Georgina convinces Peter that they need to destabilize Catherine’s rule. Peter’s plan, however, is to simply wait for Catherine to mess up.
Catherine barges into Peter’s chambers and slaps him. He immediately promises to become a better man. However, the empress asks her guards to beat him up. They lock Peter in the room and take his dog away. Later, Velementov asks Catherine to wage a war on the Ottomans, who are a threat to Russia. Catherine suggests diplomatic talks. Afterward, Georgina convinces Catherine to exile her and Grigor to France.
Alone in the room, Peter begins to go mad. Aunt Elizabeth tells Catherine that Peter’s mother used to often lock him up to torture him. Later, the guards leave Peter’s mother’s mummified corpse in his chambers. Then, Grigor and Georgina bid Peter goodbye. Grigor is unwilling to leave, but his wife convinces him to do so.
Orlo and Velementov worry about Catherine’s disturbed state. Elsewhere, the Patriarch asks Father Basil to return to his hometown. Peter begins to get upset as he wishes to go truffling. Eventually, Marial talks to Catherine and finds out that the empress had a dream in which she saved Leo. Catherine thus believes that she could have saved Leo in real life.
Later, Orlo runs into his uncle whilst making out with a random man. His uncle reminds Orlo of his past and asks him to push the idea of a 400-mile sea road that will bring trade to their lands. Meanwhile, Catherine is unable to relax. She asks the doctor to give her an anti-sleep medicine; after taking it, she becomes extremely hyper. She drags Velementov and Orlo into her office for work.
We see that Grigor wishes to go back, but Georgina does not. Back in Catherine’s chambers, Orlo suggests that they construct a sea road and she agrees. In the dark room, Peter rants to his mother about his horrible childhood. Catherine decides to make Father Basil the new Archbishop. Meanwhile, Peter realizes how awful his mother was and attacks her case; she breaks apart. Later, Marial tells Catherine to stop overworking herself and torturing Peter out of guilt over Leo. “What would Leo say?” she asks. “Forgive, live,” replies Catherine.
A distressed Peter tries to fix the mummy but her skull disintegrates. The next morning, Catherine visits him and apologizes for her behavior. However, when Peter reads out his apology letter and makes it obvious that he doesn’t care about Leo’s death, the empress loses her temper and takes the dog with her. She intends to find the season’s first truffle and set it on fire. However, she loses the dog and gets lost in the forest.
The Great Season 2 Episode 3 Ending: Why is Catherine So Troubled and Restless?
Peter manages to escape his chambers to go truffling. He runs into Velementov; they fight. Suddenly, the two men realize that the dog has found a truffle. Elsewhere, Catherine imagines Leo’s presence and allows herself to cry. As Velementov and Peter eat the truffle, the emperor finds out that it was the general who used to take him truffling as a child. Meanwhile, Aunt Elizabeth and Marial find Catherine. They tell her that she couldn’t have saved Leo and that she must move on. Peter and Velementov openly talk about the latter’s betrayal and the former’s parents. When the two men return from the forest, Peter finds Grigor waiting for him. Meanwhile, Catherine sees girls getting educated and becomes hopeful about her reign.
Thus, Catherine is troubled because of her dream — a manifestation of her guilt. She wonders whether she made the right choice by choosing Russia over Leo, and believes that she didn’t try hard enough to save him. Missing his optimistic presence, Catherine takes out her frustration on Peter, her work, and herself. However, after finally letting the tears flow and accepting the advice of her well-wishers, Catherine realizes that she must move on from her heartbreak for her country.
What Does Peter Realize About His Parents?
Locked in the room with his mother’s corpse, Peter realizes how harshly he had been treated as a child. As he recollects how his mother used to torture him, he confronts the toxic relationship he had with her. When the mummy breaks and disintegrates, Peter’s unhealthy attachment to his mother’s memory begins to fade as well.
Later, whilst truffling with Velementov, Peter discovers another heartbreaking truth. For years he reminisced the days of truffling with his father, but never knew that he used to abandon him most of the time. It was Velementov who accompanied him during the hunts. The general even asks Peter to forget his parents since they are dead. It becomes obvious why Peter is such an attention-seeker — he constantly wanted his parents’ love but never got it. His penchant for violence comes from them as well, since they neglected him and his mother even inflicted pain upon him. When Velementov helps him confront and then shun his parents’ cruelty, Peter attains an emotional closure of sorts.
Why Are Georgina and Grigor Going to France? Why Does Grigor Come Back?
Georgina convinces Grigor that Russia is not safe for them since Peter is not in power. In fact, Georgina asks Catherine to “punish” and “exile” her to Paris so that she and Grigor may freely escape her rule. Catherine agrees since she wants Peter to be lonely. However, Grigor is too faithful to Peter and does not like abandoning him. Being his childhood friend, he cannot watch Peter suffer. Thus, he decides to return, choosing Peter over his wife. He eschews his safety in order to be a good friend and make up for his betrayals.
Why Does Orlo Listen to His Uncle Varnya?
Orlo’s uncle, Varnya, reminds him of the fact that he owes his success to his family and thus must use his royal connections for their benefit. It seems as though his uncle is aware of something that might potentially endanger Orlo. Perhaps Orlo has made grave, criminal mistakes in the past — that would explain why he did not resist his uncle’s demands. Additionally, it could just be that Varnya is simply guilt-tripping Orlo into illegally procuring funds for his poverty-stricken hometown.
Read More: The Great Season 2 Filming Locations