The Great season 2 finale presents the most confusing and exciting love story ever told as Catherine and Peter have a big decision to make. To kill, or not to kill?
This recap of Hulu’s The Great season 2, episode 10, “Wedding,” — the finale/ending explained — contains spoilers.
Despite The Great embracing revisionist comedy, the finale of season 2 is compelling and tense as it moves towards an ending that is difficult to predict. At the end of season 1, Peter and Catherine are at civil war with each other. We’ve gone through the same cycle again, but this time, with more on the line — Catherine and Peter are at civil war again.
The Great season 2, episode 10 recap – the ending and finale explained
The finale opens with Peter and Catherine having passionate sex. Aunt Elizabeth sees through the door, and she is happy that they have finally made it as a married couple. After they finish, Catherine catches Archbishop hiding; he states that God has abandoned him. Catherine reveals he’s going to meet the Sultan and end the war, and he invites Archbishop to join him, but he wants to drink and read the Bible instead.
Marial is furious because Peter should be dead, but instead, he’s taken Catherine’s heart. She also has the stress to plan her wedding with her cousin. Grigor tells Marial that Peter has changed, but she’s skeptical. Peter is worried that Marial will tell Catherine the truth, and he thinks the past should be the past and wants to avoid plenty of killing. He wants a “happily ever after.” Does happiness genuinely exist in The Great?
Catherine visits Marial before she leaves for the war zone. She expresses her love for Peter and hopes she finds the same happiness with Maxim. Marial asks her if she thinks Peter has changed and calls him a monster. Catherine feels he has changed. Marial cannot help herself and tells Catherine that Peter had sex with and killed her mother. A shocked and grieving Catherine sees her mother’s grave and sobs. What a momentous turning point in the story.
She returns to the palace and is about to kill Peter, but he’s holding the baby. Peter asks if they can join her in the war zone to meet the Sultan. Catherine asks Peter to stay at the palace with Paul – she’s calm but in a dangerous way. Catherine tells Velementov that she is going to find peace and end the war. Velementov believes they are about to win, and he’s not happy.
Grigor senses that Marial told Catherine the forbidden secret. Grigor cries and tells Peter that Catherine knows about her mother. Peter is a little dizzy with the news. Grigor reveals it was Marial that told her. Peter confronts Marial and points a gun at her (it’s getting serious now). Marial tells Peter that she needed to know. Peter cries and asks if Catherine is okay. He’s devastated that he’s crushed his wife’s heart. Marial senses that Peter has changed, which is ironic because the only reason she told Catherine is that she believed he hadn’t. Grigor tells Marial that she’s messed everything up.
Peter wants a plan to save this situation. Georgina believes that Catherine will come back and kill him, so he will have to kill her first. Meanwhile, Catherine speaks to Aunt Elizabeth and reveals she knows what Peter did. We are witnessing a chess game developing slowly, creating tension as the finale progresses.
Orlo tells Catherine that she can’t meet the Sultan because it’s too dangerous. Catherine believes he has no faith, so she takes a random soldier to meet the Sultan. She talks to the Sultan about killing his brother for power. The Sultan tells her that it was necessary. Catherine says destroying each other for gain is dumb and destructive and that she has a lot of ideas. She wants to solve this conundrum together. The Sultan shows her the borders he wants, and that’s all he’ll accept. Catherine talks about progressive ideas, but the Sultan puts a knife through her hand.
In her own surprising rage, Catherine grabs the knife and slices the Sultan’s neck to kill him. Aunt Elizabeth arrives and shoots the Sultan’s guard. Horrified by events, she throws up. Meanwhile, Georgina meets the Archbishop; she wants things to go back to normal before Catherine arrived. Like at the start of season 2, two sides are forming — Team Peter and Team Catherine.
Back at the war zone, and Catherine wants to push back their enemy even further. Orlo tells her he wants to be heard and raises how Peter should have been killed after the coup. Catherine leaves the tent, and she’s upset; she doesn’t want to return and kill Peter because she loves him, but she knows she has to. Orlo is shocked that Catherine loves him.
Word reaches Peter that Catherine killed the Sultan in rage. Georgina tells Peter that he must kill her. Peter thinks they should run to Spain. He packs up and leaves with Georgina. Meanwhile, Grigor doesn’t join and asks Marial to run with him. But then, Peter returns and drops baby Paul off at the palace. Peter is confused about what to do, and he comes frustrated. Love does strange things to a person.
Hugo speaks to Peter and tells him that the dream is over. The pair end up bickering and fighting. Hugo insists that they face oblivion; he tells Peter that he should take back Russian, and then they can take back Sweden. But that means he must kill Catherine.
On the way home, Aunt Elizabeth tells Catherine that it was an accident with her mother, and they didn’t tell her to protect her. She also says her gift is a curse. Aunt Elizabeth states that her mother wouldn’t stop hounding him. She thinks her philosophy for human failure means she should try and forgive. Catherine tells Aunt Elizabeth to pick a side, but Elizabeth has already chosen one — she quite clearly chooses Catherine.
As we reach the ending of The Great season 2, episode 10, the tension rises. Catherine returns to the palace and looks at it from afar. She asks Archbishop for advice and wonders if Peter will kill her. She doesn’t think she can live without him. She wants the message passed that she will be at the wedding dinner.
At this point, we were all keeping one eye open, wondering how this was all going to end. The wedding dinner is set up, and Peter tells Grigor that nobody does anything until he makes a move. And so the wedding dinner begins. Peter brings Paul, knowing she will not kill him if he’s holding her. When Catherine arrives, it’s very tense, with everyone looking at each other.
Maxim delivers a speech for his wife, Marial. Peter wishes the couple well and gives a speech about marriage; he explains the ups and downs but how you stay together due to love. Catherine delivers her speech about marriage and tells them to expect the unexpected.
Deciding to get to the root of the issue immediately, Peter confesses to Catherine that her mother caught him at a low moment and that he fought her away repeatedly. He doesn’t defend his position well. Catherine repeats “you f****d my mother” five times, which is horrifically effective. People start grabbing weapons stashed under the table. The ticking timebomb goes down to milliseconds.
Peter gives an emotional apology and thinks the worse thing in life is coming up against your limitations and crushing the one person who is your best one. Catherine talks about romantic ideas and the perfect love. She then states that great love, or a great country or a great leader, is flawed; she explains that maybe what makes it great is their failings, but as long as they aim for better.
At this point, we were all thinking — can Peter and Catherine ever kill each other?
The finale of season 2 brings a conclusion that will leave audiences starving for season 3 of The Great.
The wedding dinner softens, and Catherine says they should have cake and dance. She asks Peter if she can hold the baby before kissing him. She asks to see him in his room. Catherine puts baby Paul down and wishes him good night. At the party, Velvemont and his guards arrest Marial and others. It appears the civil war is still ongoing, but once again, it’s down to Catherine to land the final blow.
Catherine heads to Peter’s room and stabs him repeatedly in the back, and he appears to die. She wails; she’s heartbroken. We all saw it coming; it was his lookalike planted by Peter in the likelihood that Catherine would kill him. Peter walks in and has a slight smile on his face; he knows his wife well. She hugs him, and the lookalike walks away. Catherine and Peter look at each other and then look away. There’s an uncertain future ahead. Where on earth do they go from here? And how will Team Catherine and Team Peter react that these two are unable to finish the job and kill each other once again?
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