The Great Season 1 Episode 5 Recap – “War & Vomit”

By Daniel Hart
Published: May 15, 2020 (Last updated: December 1, 2023)
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Hulu series The Great episode 5 - War & Vomit


The Great episode 5, “War & Vomit” deepens the situation, teasing a new Russia and making Catherine feel anxious about wielding potential power.

This recap of Hulu series The Great Season 1 Episode 5, “War & Vomit” contains significant spoilers.

How does The Great episode 5, “War & Vomit” begin?

The Great episode 5 battles with the “next in line” and Catherine’s sudden realization that she is out of her depth. Aunt Elizabeth and Catherine head to the front lines to see the military — Catherine is a little shellshocked at the unpleasantness of the base and she cries at all the death. She tells Elizabeth that Russia cannot continue on this path.

Grigor is feeling treacherous.

Peter and Georgina are having sex again and Catherine walks in and tells the Emperor to stop the war after what she had just seen. He laughs this off, of course. Later, Grigor sees that Georgina has been bruised from Peter by being too rough and he poisons Peter’s food. Meanwhile, Catherine cannot stop thinking of the horror and confides in Leo about what she had seen — he gets irritated by her self-righteousness and as they argue, Marial walks in and states that the Emperor is going to die. A worried and panicked Grigor checks up on Peter — luckily for him, the Archbishop believes it is blue death.

The Great episode 5, “War & Vomit” sees Catherine having the sudden chance of having power and she is initially excited. Grigor puts a pillow over Peter’s head but Georgina sees him. He admits to poisoning the Emperor and she slaps him, reminding Grigor of the security Peter provides them. Grigor is concerned now about his safety and alerts one of the men that Peter could have been poisoned.

Catherine’s time to shine.

Catherine attends an emergency senate meeting to deliver a speech — she vows that if the Emperor dies, she will serve the people and end the war with Sweden. The men mock her, pointing out the problems of ending the war. Catherine then speaks of education and liberation which causes an uproar. Catherine is suddenly realizing she is out of her depth. Catherine, Orlo, and Marial hear that Peter was poisoned and wonder who did it. With Catherine embarrassing herself in her speech, the Archbishop raises how he heard that Ivan is alive and next in line. Nothing seems simple for Catherine at the moment with this complex coup.

The palace is shut down.

An attack on the Emperor means instant security it seems in The Great episode 5, “War & Vomit”. Velementov and the army seal the palace saying no-one is allowed in or out until security is restored. Peter tells Catherine and Elizabeth that he cannot have been poisoned because everyone loves him, showing how ridiculously naive he is, even in times of turmoil. He tells Catherine and Elizabeth to kill Ivan as he cannot rule Russia.

So Catherine and Elizabeth meet Ivan in his hiding spot. Elizabeth tries to give Catherine a knife to kill Ivan but she backs out. Orlo tells Catherine that this is her one chance to gain power — a breathless and teary Catherine walks around the place and begins to hyperventilate. Catherine clearly does not have what it takes to take power by means of violence, despite her rhetoric.

How does The Great episode 5, “War & Vomit” end?

Catherine is weakened by Peter’s impending death; she stands over Peter and says, “Please live, I’m not ready”. Marial walks up being Catherine and says, “kill the c**t, save Russia”. Catherine says no as she doesn’t want to transform Russia in this way. Marial tries to kill Peter with a pillow but Catherine stops her. Velementov, the Archbishop, and Orlo walk in, with everyone presuming that Peter is going to die.

Orlo asks Velementov and the Archbishop if Ivan has been found and if they would back the Empress to gain the power. But as he asks the question, Aunt Elizabeth walks into the room stating that Ivan is a dead end, with a guard behind her holding Ivan’s dead body upside down. Archbishop and Velementov suddenly say they will back the Empress. Catherine looks at Elizabeth and says, “You killed that boy,” and she responds with, “You are welcome”. The episode ends with dreams of a new Russia dashed as Peter sits up and says he’s hungry.

The Great episode 5, “War & Vomit” deepens the situation, teasing a new Russia and making Catherine feel anxious about wielding potential power.

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