The Great Season 1 Episode 7 Recap – “A Pox on Hope”

By Daniel Hart
Published: May 15, 2020 (Last updated: December 1, 2023)
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Hulu series The Great episode 7 - A Pox on Hope


The Great episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” shows how Catherine is torn as a character — it’s a chapter that proves that maybe changing someone so narcissistic is out of her reach.

This recap of Hulu series The Great Season 1 Episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” contains significant spoilers.

How does The Great episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” begin?

Episode 7 shows Catherine struggling to keep Peter afloat with the new ideas as his new self starts slipping away. It begins with Peter revelling in the art and the Archbishop accusing Catherine of changing this place. The Archbishop’s annoyance is increased when Catherine gives Peter a printing press as a gift despite it being outlawed. Peter then surprises Catherine by going down on her — she is surprised by how much she enjoyed it. Catherine speaks to Elizabeth to what she refers to as the “tongue trick” and that she is confused because of Leo — Elizabeth points out there is a difference between physical and love.

But the turning point of The Great episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” is when Marial is about to have sex with servant Vlad and she sees pox on his back — she hides him in the cupboard, alarmed by what will happen next.

A science party.

Catherine tells Orlo that her ideas are working but Orlo is skeptical since his violent encounter. Peter throws a science party for Catherine but it’s slightly sinister — for example, a boy is getting electrocuted. Catherine tells Peter to not tell Leo about him going down on her — of course, Peter tells Leo straight away. At the science party, Marial grabs Catherine and shows Vlad and his pox. The palace doctor recommends burning him alive but Catherine is distraught at that idea. She tells Peter about it and he instantly suggests burning all the servants. Catherine brings an idea forward which is to put the servants outside in tents and quarantine them — Peter rejects the idea. Catherine asks a drunk Orlo for help with the pox. He suggests trying a solution called variolation that isn’t used in Russia due to the Church.

Science versus the Church.

The Great episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” then shows how the Church is disruptive in matters when it comes to medical science. Catherine talks to the doctor about variolation for pox outbreak and he reveals it is only for people who have not had it yet. She raises it to the Archbishop who predictably rejects it. Catherine is then slightly distracted when she sees a print of a horse f***ing her — she knows Leo drew it and wonders why but pretends it is funny in front of Peter as she introduced the printing press. When bringing up variolation to Peter, the Archbishop tells the Emperor the Church will not support him if he continues to go down this path. Peter is evidently stuck between his old and new self now.

The Church is winning.

Vlad tells Marial that he has the worst type of pox and that he must go — he thanks her for kissing him. Georgina, who is missing her times with Peter, manipulates the Emperor and tells him of how happy they were before and that he has the courage to admit all the new ideas were wrong. The Great episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” shows Catherine’s influence falling apart.

How does The Great episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” end?

Catherine visits the camp of people with pox looking for Vlad and she finds him dead. She returns to the palace angry, walking with a knife. Peter then tells Catherine that he is easing his new ideas and that variolation is not on the table — she turns around and does a speech to the crowd about variolation. She uses a knife to cut her hand and places pus from a pox victim into her bloodstream. A baffled and panicked Peter sends Catherine to her quarters. Catherine tells Marial that she found Vlad dead and she’s distraught. Later in the night, she looks into the distance and sees fires — they’ve burned all the pox victims.

The Great episode 7, “A Pox on Hope” shows how Catherine is torn as a character — it’s a chapter that proves that maybe changing someone so narcissistic is out of her reach.

Other points
  • Velementov asks Orlo if he is okay after killing a soldier — Orlo is alarmed by how easy it was.
  • Archbishop offers Peter money from the church. He forgives him. Archbishop reminds him that his dream was not his making.
  • Elizabeth sees loads of print outs of a donkey having sex with a man. She raises to Peter that the donkey is him — Peter says it’s only fun and apart of new Russia.
  • Georgina tells Grigor that the Emperor hasn’t had sex with her in weeks. She claims that they have won but she seems disappointed. Peter then requests their presence and she seems eager about it.
  • Peter has sex with Georgina and Grigor sees.
  • Peter introduces an anonymous ideas box.
  • Catherine approaches Leo about the cartoon prints. Leo asks Catherine if she orgasmed when Peter went down on her and she says yes. They get angry at each other and then kiss.

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