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 7 starts off with fine art and ends with the pox. That’s 18th-century Russia for ya! Catherine’s plan to reform Peter and the court into a place of art and science seems to be going OK at first, but it causes problems between her and Leo.
Peter also startles Catherine with cunnilingus, a suggestion from Auntie. Who tells Cathy that sex and love don’t have to be connected.
The science fair thing the Peter set up isn’t quite as educational as Catherine had hoped.
All these new happenings in the court aren’t making Georgina happy. She hasn’t been fucking Peter in weeks (though her own husband Grigor seems cool with that).
Meanwhile, Mariel discovers that another servant, Vlad, has smallpox. Catherine wants to try to cure it, but Peter and the nobles want to burn all the servants. Leo’s not thrilled with what’s going down at court either, and he prints a bunch of pamphlets and cartoons satirizing the Peter and Catherine. Auntie is concerned at first.
Georgina convinces Peter to do away with Catherine’s improvements at court. Catherine goes out to find pox-ridden Vlad for a possible cure, too late, ‘natch. But she tries to convince everyone else about it.
Episode 8 opens with Peter feeling a bit put out that his wife has not shown up for their new morning ritual: breakfast together. He’s had a surprise for her baked into a brioche roll: A bazillion karat rough diamond. This might be a reference to the historical Orlov Diamond, even though that was gifted to Catherine by her real-life lover Count Orlov. Either way, Catherine is very “meh” about it.
Next we see Leo, in yet another iteration of the jogging suit we saw in the previous episodes worn by Peter. It’s a weird mash-up of historical and modern references, but whatever. Leo is having a sad because Catherine is now busy trying to overthrow her husband and doesn’t have enough time to devote to him.
Meanwhile, Catherine stages another visit to Velementov to try to sort of ineptly seduce him into supporting her coup without actually having to sleep with him. It doesn’t go as she had planned.
Next up, the Swedish ambassador has come to court to try to pave the way for a peace treaty with Russia. Peter thinks it will be HI-larious if they cut off his head and stuff it with meatballs before sending it back to the Swedish king. Orlov tries to talk him out of it and is brushed off, and the ambassador is none the wiser.
Catherine, however, is one step ahead and manages to convince Peter that maaaaybe brutally murdering the ambassador and sending his head back to Sweden filled with meatballs isn’t such a great idea.
Next up, Peter retires to the company of Arkady, Tatyana, Grigor, and Georgiana where everyone notices that Grigor is acting weird. Grigor presents Peter with the corpse of the bird he shot in the garden earlier that day and they’re all like, “Ohhh-kaaaaay….”
The scene moves next to Catherine and Orlov preparing to meet the Swedish King and Queen to discuss the peace treaty.
Their first glimpse of King Hugo and Queen Agnes is from their barge on the Dacha.
Turns out the Swedish court is essentially a mirror image of the Russian court. Peter and Hugo hit it off immediately, while Catherine and Agnes quietly get shit done whilst their dingus husbands are off doing stupid shit with firearms.
Later that evening, Catherine finds Velementov and approaches him again, this time playing it straight. She wants his support for the coup, but Velementov is ambiguous. He tells her that she’s committing treason and not to trust anybody, not even him.
The final few scenes wrap up with Hugo and Peter getting in a fight over how to end the war, and then Catherine saving the day by suggesting they each claim a victory of one of the two battlegrounds, with Russia retaining control of Saint Petersburg on the condition he lift the trade embargo on the Sweden. Everyone is satisfied and Catherine and Peter return home to great fanfare.
We’ll be back in two weeks with episodes nine & ten!
The Great Episodes Seven & Eight, Podcast Recap
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They literally just confirmed today that they’re getting a season two, so, that should be fun. Hopefully the hair/wigs team will be using their time in quarantine to do more research and up their game!
What gets me about the costumes is how poor everyone looks. Where is the lace? the ruffles? This is exactly the period to go OTT with ruffles for comedic effect and instead they are sweating into their silks because they don’t have shirts under anything. CtG with so few dresses? with all the great rentals available? Disappointing.
I agree 100% with you over the “sweating into their silks because they don’t have shirts under anything.” Lol! I so often thought how uncomfortable it would be to wear many of the costumes they were dressed in, the way they were inappropriately layered… and how inappropriate it all looked for a vast and properly fairly draft ridden palace in an often colder climate. :D
Yeah, this is exactly what I thought!! I don’t mind some stuff being inaccurate (for example I really loved the flowery formal gown Catherine wore again in this episode) but a lot of these costumes don’t fit the story or characters at all! If they’re gonna go full fantasy costumes, they should at least make them over the top and fun!
Is Catherine’s hairstyle accurate though?That “perfectly styled in the back with a lock of wavy hair on my shoulder” is the most wannabe middle 18th century hairstyle I see in movies,but I have never managed to find a single visual source for it.It is all up in the back,smooth,or braided and looped up with the variations and wackiness occuring on the top of the head with the end of the braid instead of near the nape.Atleast here they are doing it more sensibly with the tendril pony tail starting in the back,otherwise certain films copy it with the ponytail coming from the side of the chignon bun(that looks like a hairpiece worn askew)or just ye olde half ponytail.
The actresses aren’t even wearing stays.More like braces in synthetic matherial. WITH NO CHEMISE UNDERNEATH .
The thing is that The Great isn’t historically accurate and that’s their disclaimer at the start of each episode. I couldn’t get past the second episode but not because of the inaccuracies (which I am a huge stickler about), but because it was just so dang deplorable.
Yes!Certain inaccuracies such as wrong lineages and dates are not funny but irritating.But the acting(especially Elle,a welcome relief after playing so many shrinking violets) and the ending episodes are good.Episode 3-5 were a drag despite so many plot developments because the “vision” felt incoherent with the mood.Costuming is the least of its problems because though they are repetitive and less than grand,atleast they are pretty to look at,generally accurate silhouettes,mostly excellent fitting and the silks used are lovely.
I’m finally watching these and… I snorted really loud when her lover was out jogging in that century’s “version of a hoodie.” AHAHAHA. But I admit, I laughed way harder at the Swedish king being yet another asshat.