The Last Czars Recap: The Sex Cult of St. Petersburg

July 3, 2019
Jonathon Wilson 0
Netflix, TV, TV Recaps


“Anarchy” sees Russia in open revolt as Rasputin rapidly builds influence throughout the Czar’s court.



“Anarchy” sees Russia in open revolt as Rasputin rapidly builds influence throughout the Czar’s court.

This The Last Czars Episode 3 Netflix recap for the episode titled “Anarchy” contains spoilers. You can check out our thoughts on the previous episode by clicking these words.

We once again open “Anarchy” with Pierre Gilliard’s narration, as flashes of so-called Anastasia’s potential survival and attempted suicide lead us into The Last Czars Episode 3, an installment primarily concerned with the rise of Rasputin, who, over a period of several years, essentially establishes a holy sex cult in the courts of St. Petersburg.

Because Rasputin can apparently heal Alexei, Alexandra believes he has been sent by God; that he speaks in his word. The truth is probably more simple. In a time of great social and political unrest, Rapustin is a calming influence, so sure of his own abilities and of the strength of his belief that they’re virtually contagious. Because he is calm so is Alexandra, and so is Alexei.

The Russian people, however, are not. “Anarchy” sees the country in open revolt, as anti-Imperial sentiment following Bloody Sunday and the disastrous war with Japan has continued to spread and intensify. Nicholas mercilessly attempts to suppress the revolution, retaking portions of the country by force of arms, and embracing lingering familial anti-Semitism in frantic search of a scapegoat for Russia’s political, military, social, and financial woes. The Jews will do.

Prime Minister Stolypin sees the uselessness in Nicholas’s approach. The country needs major reform, but he agrees that the revolution must be quelled; his efforts to do so earn him notoriety among the revolutionaries, with the hangman’s noose having been nicknamed “Stolypin’s Necktie”. This makes him a target. His dacha is bombed in “Anarchy”, leading to several deaths and the serious injury of his daughter.

Stolypin represented perhaps the last hope for the preservation of Czarist autocracy. The Last Czars Episode 3 shows him to have an understanding of not just the breadth of the problems facing Russia, but also ideas for how they might be solved. His problem is that he doesn’t have the full backing of Nicholas, because Nicholas is being swayed by Rasputin, whose rapid accumulation of influence and power is of great concern to Stolypin. Across several years, Rasputin develops into a kind of local guru, beloved among the women of the court, including Alexandra — their relationship isn’t sexual, but it is built on total dependency. When Stolypin accrues evidence of Rasputin’s past misdeeds, Nicholas refuses to acknowledge it, dismissing the claims as rumors meant to discredit him.

Stolypin attempts to banish Rasputin in “Anarchy”, but he’s shot at the opera and subsequently dies, putting paid to his planned reforms and allowing Rasputin to seize even more influence over Nicholas and Alexandra. Iliodor, too, tries to remove Rasputin, but is unable to do so physically. He does, however, leak damning letters to the public from Alexandra to Rasputin, suggesting a sexual relationship between them, which grossly undermines the Czar’s public perception.

Despite Alexandra’s attempts to convince Nicholas to keep Rasputin around for the good of Alexei, Nicholas has no choice but to banish him. Right on time, Alexei gets seriously injured, and with him close to death, Alexandra sends a letter to Rasputin begging for his aid. She receives one in return, coincidentally right as Alexei begins to heal. She believes, fervently, that Rasputin has healed him, even over such a great distance. The talking heads in The Last Czars Episode 3 suggest that perhaps Rasputin’s unwavering and genuine belief in himself was enough to convince others that he had real powers.

Either way, his methods seem to work. His positive influence on Alexei is undeniable. And so “Anarchy” ends with his return to court, much to the surprise of Nicholas.

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