Catherine the Great – Recap Episode 3

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If last week’s episode was summed up by “Oh God,” this week’s episode of Catherine the Great (2019) can be summed up with “Oh for fuck’s sake.” I mean, for reals, people. This show is verging on being so predictably cliche that I’m offended, so this recap is going to be fairly brief. I’ve stopped giving a fuck about the characters, the plot, basically anything and everything (except the costumes, sort of), that I’m not even sure I can tell you what happened even though I watched the episode.

I will just come right out and say it … I’ve never seen anything in 18th c. portraiture of Catherine the Great that shows that wide band of trim down the center front of a gown, but this show is sure committed to the look.

The fact that the right side of Catherine’s robe is always flipped back behind her pannier is like this thing I’ve continually noticed in the show. It’s starting to look weird.

I will say this: every suspicion I had about Potemkin and his rise to power was proved within the first 10 minutes of this episode. Like all of Catherine’s other paramours, Potemkin chafes at being a “kept man” without carte blanche access to Catherine’s power. We are treated to the first 30 minutes or so of Potemkin stomping around in a petulant snit about Catherine not backing up his scheme to conquer Crimea in front of the council, and more whinging about how he doesn’t get to do anything he wants even though he’s humping the Empress, and Catherine being like, “I told you I wasn’t going to just give you all my power, jackass,” which results in more mantrums and fucking Countess Bruce in retaliation.

Interesting red pet en l’air that Natalia is wearing, except we never get a particularly good look at it.

These assholes are still relevant to the plot for some reason.

And unfortunately, so is this one.

But Cathy’s already got a boy-toy lined up.

So of course, Potemkin has to have a flounce about it.

Finally Catherine gets fed up with this (which took about five times longer than it took me to be fed up with it) and lets Potemkin run off to Crimea to do whatever he wants to do. Great. We don’t have to worry about him for a few minutes, which allows us to waste some brain cells on Prince Paul losing his wife Natalia and infant son in childbirth. Paul has to face the fact that his wife was fucking his best friend and the baby was more than likely his, so within a few short minutes he’s married off to a German princess, Sophia, who promptly gives him a healthy son, and bows to Catherine like an obedient daughter-in-law. And no, we never do find out why Natalia wouldn’t bow to Catherine (though Catherine later quips that the new wife is more respectful towards her).

Potemkin more or less makes it all about him, while Catherine’s just trying to cope with the death of both her daughter-in-law and her heir’s heir.

God, I hate this guy.

Catherine is out of mourning as soon as possible and is in a pale green variation on the usual pale blue dress that she typically wears

A nice gold brocade gown that isn’t really shown in any detail, unfortunately.

Prince Drip has married Princess Drip, and they hopefully live happily ever after.

But then Potemkin comes back all triumphant from basically getting the Crimea to surrender to Catherine without a battle, so now we are back to wondering why Catherine puts up with his annoying ass. Instead, she gives him control of the Ministry of War, and a bunch of other annoying council members quit in protest, whatever, it’s all very uninteresting. Catherine packs Paul off on some diplomatic visit to the German court, which he’s pissed off about, but I literally don’t care. And Potemkin has to run back off to Crimea to continue building Sevastopol in Catherine’s honor, but before he does, he hooks her up with one of his young lieutenants (who is actually young and not “young” like Potemkin was in the first episode), because they’ve realized they are much happier together when they’re nowhere near one another.

Princess Drip gets a new dress for pushing a baby out of her vaj.

We all get to wish that Prince Potemkin would just get pushed off that cliff.

This is a particularly nice outfit on Princess Drip, but you don’t get to see it because it’s covered by a baby in almost every scene.

The best shot I could do showing the bodice is some sort of cut-away front in gold/red shot silk, edged in black fur. I did notice that Princess Drip is consistently shown wearing more European fashions, and not the “Russian-ized” costume that Catherine and her ladies wear.

Everything ends on a boat in the Black Sea with Catherine getting her first look at the navy that Potemkin created and … stay tuned next week to be somehow even more bored than you were this week, folks.

“I can almost see the last episode from here…”

 

Are you suffering through Catherine the Great too?

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About the author

Sarah Lorraine

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Sarah discovered her dual passion for history and costume right around the age of twelve. Dragged kicking and screaming to her first Renaissance Faire at Black Point, she was convinced she was going to hate it, but to her surprise, she fell head over heels in love with the world of reenactment and dress up immediately. Her undergraduate degree is in Clothing & Textile Design, and she has a Master's in Art History and Visual Culture. When she’s not hauling crap to SCA events and ren faires, Sarah enjoys reading true crime books, writing fiction, and sewing historical clothing from the Middle Ages through the 20th-century. One of these days, she might even start updating her old costuming blog again.

8 Responses

  1. Kate D

    And I had such hopes about this show! Now I’ll just read your review and and laugh sadly and not watch it myself.

    I started watching the new Vanity Fair recently and so far I’ve been delighted by the acting and some of the costumes and how well the plot follows the book.

    Reply
  2. Shashwat

    The less said about the cliche-ridden,unidimensional plot the better.But the designer seems particularly fond of that one particular loose robe style and those sleeves.The repetitive costume designs paired with the generic 18th century wigs on the ladies end up making the costumes looking too theatrical.
    As a 16 year old who is particularly interested in studying historical fashion,Frock flicks is like a guilty pleasure for me now(more of pleasure part,though).I am NOT particularly fond of flicks,but terribly picky in their technical aspects(subpar cinematography and costumes grate against my eyes),so your reviews are a golden opportunity to read for the frocks getting snarked.

    Reply
  3. ConsiderTheBees (@Wildfyrewarning)

    “The fact that the right side of Catherine’s robe is always flipped back behind her pannier is like this thing I’ve continually noticed in the show.”

    Is Helen Mirren right handed? I wonder if she keeps elbowing it back when she is moving around and they just end up leaving it that way?

    Reply
  4. Damnitz

    Very nice writing. I wish you the strengh to see the last episode. And we will hope that there will not come a second season. Although if there will be a second season, it maybe will be your fault, because all of us will watch the first season to learn, if your review is right.

    The costumes are still looking OK, although I don’t like the mix of modern (on the new wife of the too handsome looking Paul) and old looking garments (the sleeves of that red pêt-en-l’air). I think that 1770s Fashion is interesting enough to get it right.

    Reply
  5. Charity

    I don’t know much about the real Catherine the Great… but was she a milksop romantic fool like this show makes her out to be? I had the image of a bad-ass in my head, not a woman mooning around court who just “wants to be loved.”

    Reply

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