Russia descends into total political chaos as Nicholas abdicates the throne and Lenin’s Bolsheviks rise to prominence.
This The Last Czars Episode 5 Netflix recap for the episode titled “Revolution” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.
For those who were holding out hope that Rasputin might have survived the assassination attempt at the end of the previous episode, “Revolution” is quick to disappoint. He’s dead. He was poisoned and beaten and shot, and his body was discovered beneath the icy surface of a frozen river. While the Imperial family mourn, the population, however temporarily, rejoices at the prospect of Nicholas and Alexandra being free from his influence.
Yet, despite the opportunity to do so, Nicholas implements no reforms. He makes no changes. He continues to do things how he always has, and it quickly becomes clear that he is incapable of true leadership. As if to emphasize the point, he returns to the military headquarters, leaving the Russian government in limbo just when it requires stability.
While the war plays havoc at home, Vladimir Lenin’s Bolsheviks are rapidly gaining popularity. Many of the rank-and-file on the front lines, including Yarovsky, are falling in with the Workers’ Party, leading to massive resentment against the Czarist regime. In St. Petersburg, 100,000 women take to the streets in protest over bread shortages.
Meanwhile in The Last Czars Episode 5, Alexandra is “in mourning”, and refusing to handle her government obligations. Protestors and revolutionaries flood the streets, demanding the complete overthrow of the Czar. In another ill-fated attempt to disperse the crowds, hundreds of people are killed. Despite this, the protestors don’t back down.
Alexandra and Nicholas still, naively, believe that the people and the military are loyal to them. Yarovsky leads a mutiny on the front, and many battalions simply dissolve, returning home to further chaos. Since all of the revolutionary leaders have been exiled, the revolution is leaderless and spontaneous — and all the more dangerous as a result.
Nicholas has always relied on military force to keep things together, but now the military has joined the revolution. In desperation, Nicholas is forced to renounce the throne. He also renounces it in Alexei’s name, finally revealing his illness, and his intention for his family to live together as such after his abdication. And just like that, the 300-year Romanov reign ends, and with it the last remaining autocracy in Europe. That signature on a piece of paper has a profound effect on the outcome of the Great War and leads to total Russian revolution.
A power vacuum is created. Russia no longer has a Czar, and complete political chaos ensues. A provisional government is established to keep the country and the war effort together until a more permanent solution can be reached. In a further act of disrespect and defiance, soldiers dig up Rasputin’s body and mutilate it in full view of the palace.
To babysit the Romanovs, the provisional government sends Alexander Kerensky, who becomes sympathetic to their plight and attempts to protect them, moving them in secrecy. But a returning Lenin and the Bolsheviks overthrow Kerensky’s government. The task of handling the Romanov falls to Yakov Yarovsky.
In the end, The Last Czars Episode 5 returns once again to its framing device. At the beginning of “Revolution”, we saw Anastasia’s Aunt Olga arrive at the hospital to help determine if the girl is who she claims to be. She says she isn’t. But as she’s about to leave, the girl mentions the nickname that her aunt had for her as a child — something she couldn’t possibly know if she wasn’t Anastasia. At the last minute, the plot thickens.