Note: While this is another brilliant episode of The Great, there are mentions of some gory violence and dark humor depicted during the episode. We advise those who don’t feel comfortable to not read beyond this point.
With only one episode left before the finale, the coup participants are moving forward with their plans at a rapid pace. After a series of murders at court, Peter is suspicious that a plot is brewing. Will Catherine and her co-conspirators be revealed? And more importantly, who will crack under the pressure? Read on to find out what happened as Catherine discovers that “Love Hurts.”
In bed, Leo and Catherine talk about the coup. Leo says he may not believe that change is possible, but he believes if anyone can bring it about she can. As always, he is pessimistic about the future, but Catherine encourages him to dream of what could be for once. Later, the two join Orlo, Velementov, and Marial for a coup meeting. Orlo doesn’t want Leo included, saying there’s a difference between him knowing about the coup and actively participating. He doesn’t think he has the skills necessary to pull it off. It’s true that Leo may not be a statesman, but he does have social capital their group does not. It appears Orlo may be jealous. Orlo notes there’s a gathering of important nobleman at the palace soon, and each person besides Catherine chooses one to persuade to their side. Velementov and Marial fight when he proposes they kill Archie, but Catherine intervenes. She says in order for this to work, they must trust each other and work together. Peter’s bodyguard dies after falling into a fountain while drunk, and Bet worries a larger plot may be involved. Peter doesn’t believe this to be the case, wanting to believe everyone loves him. Archie agrees with Bet.
Peter enters the Great Hall to applause from the nobles gathered there due to his ending the war with Sweden. Velementov and Orlo discuss killing Archie, saying that Marial has a soft heart and can’t see that he is their enemy. Peter receives several of the lords including Rostov, who is still upset over the beard situation. As each lord enters, they tend to be on the receiving end of mockery from Peter and Grigor, which will likely help Catherine in her coup. Marial takes Rostov, an old friend, aside to discuss his hypothetical support for Catherine as Orlo does the same with Raskolnikov. He’s surprisingly easy to convince … as long as he gets two million rubles and his own port. Orlo is upset that he doesn’t want to hear their grand plans, but Raskolnikov notes anything’s better than the current situation and that knowing more places him in danger. Meanwhile, Velementov and Leo approach Gorky, one of the lords upset by Peter’s treatment. Gorky quickly deduces it’s Catherine they’re talking about and says he’s not interested. Hot headed as ever and trying to keep Catherine from being discovered, Velementov convinces Leo to get a rock and hit Gorky over the head, which kills him. Marial tells Rostov, who instantly wants in due to Peter’s cruelty towards him.
The group reports back, with Orlo and Marial successful. But then Leo and Velementov report what happened with Gorky. After taking a breath, Catherine notes that random murder is fairly common in this court. If they can make that the official story, they will be safe. As Peter has sex with Georgina, Bet interrupts. She tells him Gorky is dead, believing her fears about assassins at court are coming true. Leo apologizes to Catherine for messing things up, but Catherine forgives him. She says he must be depressed after killing Gorky, but he tells her he has killed before, noting “this is Russia. It happens.” Catherine is startled by this but not surprised, and she kisses him before going to Peter.
Peter is throwing a tantrum as Bet and Catherine look on. Catherine reminds Peter that he just won the war and that the people love him, but Bet notes she is sweet and only sees the good in people. Peter is upset because apparently Gorky was his father’s best friend (he used to hide his true friendships to throw people off balance). Peter proposes they torture everyone in court to find the suspects, upset that the people are not sufficiently grateful for the fun he’s provided them. Bet and Catherine are both horrified as Peter storms out.
The entire court is horrified when lists of who will be tortured are put in the hallway (with scheduled times, no less). Georgina and Grigor are exempt, as well as Catherine and Bet. Georgina talks to Grigor about this, saying that she loves him as he drinks. But when he passes out, Georgina shaves his beard to appease Peter, who had mentioned it earlier. Catherine tries to give a rousing speech to get the team on board, but it quickly devolves into infighting. Catherine stops this by realizing they need to find a scapegoat for Peter so he will stop the torture. As she leaves, Peter surrounds them both in guards for their safety, taking her to a picnic. Peter confides he hates not knowing if people love him or not. Catherine tries to claim that it is Archie who is responsible, and Peter seems to take to this idea.
They go to the hall where the torture is happening. It’s as horrible as it sounded, and Catherine is scared. Peter tells Archie he’s next, but the plan backfires because Archie is into pain. Catherine feels guilty that everyone is suffering because of her. But then she realizes that if she says nothing, she is complicit, and these nobles will remember it if she tries to take power. She volunteers to go next, noting she is next in line for the throne and should be tested. Peter tries to stop her, but she says it must be clear there is no favoritism. Archie seems to want Catherine to admit her guilt, but she refuses. Once she completes all the torture stations, she leaves, giving Archie the middle finger as she does so.
After it’s all over, Leo organizes snacks, drinks, and a medical station. This is where his skills come into play, as his care of others is such a contrast to Peter’s treatment. Bet is about to have sex with a young lady when Archie enters, wanting to speak to Bet alone. He says Peter’s erratic behavior is destabilizing, and Bet tells him to be careful of what he says next. Archie suggests Bet try for the throne. Bet cuts off the conversation, saying Peter will learn. But as she lies in bed, she appears to think more about the suggestion. Marial and Rostov discuss killing Peter, but Rostov laments how heavily guarded he is now. But Marial reveals Catherine told her of a secret entrance, and he asks her to take him there.
Grigor, Georgina, Peter, and Catherine are sitting together. Catherine takes the opportunity to try to persuade Grigor to kill Peter. Georgina notices and goes to Grigor, telling her he is unwell. Catherine sweetly says she’s just trying to find the person plotting against Peter. When Peter and Grigor leave in search of food, Georgina yells at Catherine for calling her a “wh*re.” But Catherine says she only wants to help, asking what she would do if there was a world where she wouldn’t have to get ahead this way. Georgina said she’d pack her bags and go there. Meanwhile, Grigor tells Peter that it does bother him that he is having sex with Georgina. Peter agrees to limit his trysts with her to “one or twice a year” and reveals something else: he is falling in love with Catherine. He especially likes that she agrees with nearly everything he says.
As they head back to Georgina and Catherine, Rostov sneaks down the secret passage. As he is about to kill Peter, Georgina and Grigor stab him as a shocked Catherine watches. They have their scapegoat as a result of Marial’s encouragement. Georgina tries to put doubt in Peter’s mind since Catherine didn’t help them kill Rostov, but Peter just says Catherine is too fair minded to be a killer. Marial is devastated to learn of Rostov’s death, feeling responsible. She just wanted to finally do something, but her impatience to act got the better of her. She goes to Archie and tells him she was involved with Rostov. Archie says she was a fool to believe her old life would come back just by killing Peter. He yells at her, saying if she had gone to Peter about Rostov’s plan, she’d be a lady again. But he also comforts her, still not knowing about Catherine’s part in this.
That night, Peter hosts another banquet. But it doesn’t go as he envisioned. After torturing everyone, they have no more love for him and sit silently throughout his speech. Realizing she needs to do something, Catherine stands. She delivers a speech on unity and building a better Russia with tears filling her eyes. It’s a thinly veiled critique of Peter, but he does not pick up on it. Bet stares at her while she speaks, and it seems she wonders why Catherine is speaking this way. Catherine gets a standing ovation from everyone. Peter is impressed with her skills, and tries to confess his love by opening with, “I have odd feelings for you. I may love you.” He kisses her, and Catherine is surprised. Back in her chambers, Catherine notices something that frightens her. The flowers Bet kept having her urinate on to see if she was pregnant are blooming — a sign she is pregnant with Peter’s heir.
The Great is available now on Hulu.