We’re excited enough by Hulu’s comedic version of Catherine the Great that we’re recapping and podcasting the series. Pour yourself a cocktail, because we don’t expect to take The Great (2020) too seriously! Catch up with previous episodes here.
We’re excited enough by Hulu’s comedic version of Catherine the Great that we’re recapping and podcasting the series. Pour yourself a cocktail, because we don’t expect to take The Great (2020) too seriously! Here’s our screencaps to follow along with our costume analysis in this week’s podcast. Catch up with previous episodes here.
Episode 5 opens with Catherine and Aunt Elizabeth traveling to the front in the ongoing (and failing) war against Sweden. Whatever Catherine thinks is about to happen when she gets there is immediately thrown out the window when she sees the horrific conditions Russian soldiers are fighting in.
She realizes pretty quickly how absurd their mission is: to inspire the troops by giving them macaroons. After feeding a few maimed soldiers by hand, Cathy is horrified by the casual attitude of pretty much everyone around her.
They return to the palace where Cathy storms into Peter’s quarters to demand that he stop the war immediately.
He, of course, thinks she’s insane and dismisses the notion out of hand. Cathy is resolved that the war HAS to stop, but in the meantime, Peter is poisoned and now things are looking up for her.
Marial arrives to interrupt Catherine’s writing to get her to pick a frock to wear when she appears before the council to announce she is ready to take over governing duties now that Peter has been poisoned and is on his deathbed.
The meeting does not go well.
In the meantime, with the succession now in question, everyone is concerned about Ivan, a young cousin of Peter’s who is confined to his rooms, probably mad, and has a strong claim to the throne if Peter dies.
Cathy meets with Aunt Elizabeth to discuss how ill-prepared she is for ruling on her own. Elizabeth has some interesting ideas about what she needs to do to salvage her reputation in front of the council.
Episode 6, Parachute
Episode 6 starts with Catherine walking around talking to her pet bear (the new one, replacement for the first one Peter shot) and wearing a new dress that we can’t quite see yet. Peter is also wandering around talking, but to Grigor, wearing his version of a hoodie.
Peter’s brush with death gives him a teeny tiny change of heart. Sure, he’s had a bunch of folks strung up as suspects for poisoning him, but he really cares about people now. Kind of. If it’s convenient.
Meanwhile, Leo is introducing French champagne to Catherine and just wants to fuck. She’s not so sure, until, y’know, fucking.
Then Peter and Auntie have a chat near Ivan’s corpse. Auntie reminds Peter that he really needs to knock up Catherine and get himself an heir.
Catherine’s not keen on that plan, so Marial suggests using a lemon as a diaphragm. However, Catherine does use his newfound interest to get him onboard for some arts and sciences stuff. Then there’s a few scenes of Peter walking around butt-naked to the camera but no new costumes, so no screencaps, sorry.
Catherine joins the ladies and invents lawn bowling — “smash bottle game” — and lets Peter take credit for everything, showing that she’s learning how to play court games.
Marial wears a cute, what might be Russian peasant-style jacket — we’re not sure.
It reminds Kendra of the description of Siberian costumes in one of her favorite childhood books about Girls Suffering (a genre Kendra was very committed to):
It reminds Trystan of the Folkwear Bolivian Milkmaid Jackets pattern:
Orlov goes off on a military mission of dubious nature. Cathy and Peter fuck with intent to procreate under Auntie’s watch. The patriarch is scared of science. Cathy introduces a truffled scrambled eggs. We learn why Marial’s family was exiled from court. But there’s no new costume content of note, so ya just gotta watch for yourself.
There’s science and barbarity, but nobody is actually hurt. Huzzah! And in the podcast, we talk about the costumes, such as they are.
We’ll be back in two weeks with episodes seven & eight!
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I have read The Endless Steppe, and I remember the sweater knitting incident very well, poor Esther!
Remember how Esther desperately wants the fur trimmed jacket and boots that are so all that in Siberia, and how she finally gets them and is so proud but then the family is released and practically the first thing her father says to her back in Poland is not to worry they’ll get her some decent clothes right away?
Omg! I sobbed buckets when her father does that. She was so proud that she earned the money herself.
Both of you! Listen to our podcast recap, I go off on the Siberian clothes that she can’t wear in the city! <3 <3 <3
The city was Vilna wasn’t it? Esther’s home town. And do you remember the masquerade party costume? Esther hopes to borrow one from theatrical costumes but is blow off, only to see the daughter of one of the factory owners or other VIP wearing a cute little outfit from the costume stores?
Crap, I only barely remember that! Clearly I must reread this.
Suffering Girls genre, giggle snort. I remember that book and the red sweater knit and reknit quite well!
I remember that Esther is crushed, she worked so hard and the jacket and boots look beautiful and chic to her. But then she realizes she’s still thinking like a Siberian girl and that chapter of her life is closed. I don’t know if she actually feels better though.
I didn’t read this book, but my sister did and I remember her telling me part of the story. I was aghast at the idea of exile and summer being short and cold, also the book wasn’t available to my grade level at that time, so I didn’t read it. I was happy with my sister telling me the story.
The “smash bottle game” outfit is stunning.Fanning really looks stunning in blue.
Is all that fur real though?There is a lot of fur in this show,fake I hope.
The pic of Peter in the hoodie and whoever is with him really has nothing that makes it 18th century at all. They look like it could be last week. :-\
Also, the macaron thing I found interesting… I can see from a writing choice why it would be a good way to highlight how inadequate the royal response is, although it seems really frivolous for someone of either Elizabeth or Catherine’s character. But I was curious and apparently the type we know best, and which are pictured, are probably from the 1830s, after a long evolution from the 17th century when the Italian versions came to France with Catherine de Medicis. I didn’t really verify anything but it makes sense to me, so, you know, that’s a substitute for actual expertise. ;-)
Personally I took that image of Peter and pal for a behind the scenes shot until I read the caption! I mean seriously, a hoodie??
Very late but I am so confused. Why is Peter doing any ruling or being called Emperor when Empress Elizabeth is alive?
Empress Elizabeth is his mother, and dead at this point in this barely-based-on-real-events version!