The Great season 2 sells its worth far stronger than its predecessor.
This review of Hulu’s The Great season 2 does not contain spoilers. The second series will be released on the streaming service on November 19th, 2021.
The first season of The Great was a resounding success for Hulu. At the time, it felt like a surprise for the streaming service as hype took hold, and suddenly, they had another gold mine that could climb the library, alongside the widely acclaimed The Handmaid’s Tale. We are all a sucker for revisionist history. Heck, The Favourite took the Film Twitter purists by storm. In hindsight, there’s no surprise that The Great did well. The leading stars had to pull off the provocative script, and they most certainly did that.
Season 2 of The Great resumes after a chaotic finale. The coup, led by Catherine (played by Elle Fanning), was a half-successful one as Emperor Peter (played by Nicholas Hoult) is trapped in the palace with his panicking loyalists. It’s a continuation that has much to play for. It’s thirst-quenching and full of brimming promise. The series continues this dysfunctional dynamic between two revised historical figures with no sense of self-awareness and aggressive opposing attitudes that you’d expect in those times.
Luckily for renewed audiences, The Great season 2 sells its worth far stronger than its predecessor. At a meaty ten episodes, it’s surprising that it leaves viewers wanting more rather than an exhausting conclusion. I watched it all in a day. My eyes peeled. My interest peaked. My entire attention was absorbed in a skewed reality with realistic tidbits.
All this is possible not because of the scene-setting, the revisionist approach, or the costumes. Those mentioned elements are impressive. But it’s how the cast decisively nails the comedy. If the script is precisely delivered, to the extent that the audience forgets briefly that we are witnessing satirical Russian history, then the job is done.
Elle Fanning immerses herself into her character so convincingly within the confines of what she’s meant to represent that her character development is appealing to observe. Of course, Nicholas Hoult has a harder time with his character arc, mainly because Peter is a goofy buffoon with little scope, but even he manages to give a glimmer of insight in season 2. Together, they work to merge the thirst for power, the longing for parenthood, and the tease of a confusing violent marriage in many encapsulated moments.
This is coupled with a roaring supportive cast, who have all managed to blend into the craziness of it all. Each character serves a purpose, even if motives and actions are skeptical by nature. But that brings on a connecting point. Somehow, The Great never feels over-the-top or childish, which is shocking in itself. With the writers continuing to opt for the shock value with language and action, it’s easy to be left wondering when a scene may go too far. But, the benchmark has been set, and the series brushes away any possibility of cringing the audience to switch off.
And that brings to the question that will strain critics. Does The Great have longevity? I’ll stick my neck out — this series is what The Crown is to Netflix. There’s life in it. With six seasons pitched, it is possible that The Great can be with us for a few more years, deliciously serving a wicked sense of humor and an audacious storyline. Huzzah!
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