Catherine’s plan encountered an obstacle – sorry, a bump – in the road. (Photo: Hulu)
After the look with the big man in the second episode, viewers can be forgiven for thinking there isn’t much to redeem from the cruel Emperor Pierre (Nicholas Hoult).
And yet this is exactly what we get in this episode, where Peter’s uncertainty takes over when the huge statue of his father Peter the Great is erected.
The image of a ferocious warrior on a teddy bear is one that seems to appeal only to Aunt Elizabeth, but for young Peter it is merely a reminder that he does not live up to the reputation left by his wonderful father. And he’s angry about it.
Instead of trying to rectify the situation, he plunges headlong into the war effort of which he knows nothing and makes a fool of himself when he proposes ideas that the soldiers literally laugh at him for.
At least he seems to put a little more effort into Catherine (Elle Fanning) so that Pierre can do it, and gives him a lover in Leo (Sebastian de Souza) so that she’s just as satisfied as he is sleeping with his best friend’s wife.
Completely ignorant of the coup plans of Catherine, Marial and Orlo, Peter thinks that as a husband he has succeeded in fulfilling his wife’s wishes – and the trio make him believe it.
The spoiled child Peter becomes more open-minded (Photo: Hulu).
Surprisingly, Catherine is attracted to the handsome and wealthy Leo, and despite the plan to pretend that they had only slept together to placate Pierre, she is actually attracted to the charming newcomer and his love of literature and life.
Which couldn’t be more unfortunate if she was really trying to hide the big secret of overthrowing the Emperor.
Meanwhile, Catherine asks her Aunt Elizabeth to help her catch Ivan, Peter’s mysterious half-brother.
It turned out to be quite simple, as Ivan’s bully actually turned out to be a totally naughty nine-year-old, locked up in the palace because he could kill anyone.
Will Leo’s gift to Peter backfire? (Photo: Hulu)
The problem is that Aunt Elizabeth is too sentimental to kill Ivan, and at the same time it is likely that he could be used in a coup that would defeat not only Peter but also Catherine in her pursuit of the throne – so he must be dismantled somehow.
Catherine’s life doesn’t get any easier, and an attempted rape by an army captain is one more thing she adds to her checklist for the day.
When she teams up with Peter for that evening’s party, it’s surprising to discover that she and Peter seem to be on the right track, not the wrong one.
Of course they’re treading on thin ice, but Catherine proves she has a little faith in the leader when he prepares to give his speech about his father – so much so that he admits he misses him, rather than being jealous of him.
However, he is afraid to cry during the speech, and when the soldier laughs in his face, he is brutally stabbed – but this time they somehow let him get away with this heartless act of violence.
Peter ends the episode in the arms of his father’s statue, while Catherine finally gives in to his feelings for Leo and they make love for the first time.
It all starts in Russia, but it won’t end well.
Great continues Sunday at 9:00 p.m. on Channel 4.
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