The arrival of Catherine’s mother takes the stage in episode 7, adding a tasty dynamic to the series.
This recap of Hulu’s The Great season 2, episode 7, “Stapler,” contains spoilers.
Well, if we thought Catherine was going to run out of challenges, we were wrong. The arrival of Catherine’s mother takes the stage in episode 7, adding a tasty dynamic to the series.
The Great season 2, episode 7 recap
Episode 7 opens up with Marial speaking to a downtrodden Catherine and calling recent events a setback. Catherine says she’s given up on Russia — she doesn’t feel it can change (who can blame her for thinking this at this point). Marial tells her about the science fair that can put Russia on the map. That lightens her up. She loves science. Catherine looks at different ideas for the science fair. The most impressive one looks like a rollercoaster, but it kills people. She reluctantly decides to go with the stapler to represent Russia.
An irritated Grigor visits Peter; he has voluntarily locked himself away. Peter has turned spiritual, and he’s been fasting for three days. Grigor wants to talk about what happened because Peter had Catherine defeated, but he retreated at the most critical moment. Peter believes the love he has for her will mean something. He admits he doesn’t want the power anymore and states he’s just a man who was born to the throne. He doesn’t want to be emperor. Grigor is in shock — he believes Peter’s new way of thinking will trap them. As season 2 progresses, the line between both teams seems distorted.
Catherine thanks Peter for not overthrowing her. He tells Catherine that he had an epiphany — he wanted her happiness more than his own; plus, he doesn’t want to be emperor. Catherine is shocked by his admission. Peter admits love has changed him. Catherine realizes she may not be able to change Russia, and maybe no one can. Peter offers her sexual pleasure, but she’s too low for it. Peter then offers to bring her a more exciting science project.
But something does perk Catherine up in episode 7. She learns that her mother is on the way to visit her, and she is excited. She wants everything to look brilliant for her mother. Orlo returns to talk to Catherine, and he says his position is untenable. Before he can presumably resign, Catherine’s mother arrives, and she runs out to greet her.
Her mother, Joanna (played Gillian Anderson), arrives and calls Catherine “bubble, bubble” before they hug each other excitedly. Catherine gives her mother a tour, and she’s made sure the palace is perfect for her visit. Her mother believes she’s walking between the line of optimism and delusional with her plans to make a progressive Russia. We have a new dynamic in the story that may be troubling — the mother disapproves of Catherine’s life.
The mother gives Catherine updates on her sisters and family. She states she worries about her sister Angela — she had clinched a deal for her to marry the king of France, but then Catherine overthrew her husband in Russa, which sent political shockwaves, and the deal was off. The mother is dissatisfied but loves her crazy mind, but insists it has cost her sister greatly.
To make matters worse, Catherine reveals her husband hasn’t been killed, which shocks her mother. The mother is escorted to her room, and she’s still skeptical about the takeover. Aunt Elizabeth tells Catherine’s mother that Catherine is Russia. The mother does not buy it.
Grigor and the Peter lookalike steal a project from a Norwegian scientist. It’s a refrigerated box. Grigor wants to know why Peter wants to help Catherine. Peter reveals he wants to win her heart. Aunt Elizabeth tells Peter that Catherine’s mother Joanna is here and warns him of danger.
Peter presents Catherine with the refrigerated box and claims he invented it. Catherine asks where the Norway delegation is and if he’s safe and hidden until after the science fair. She thanks Peter. As season 2 progresses, the differences between Catherine and Peter appear to be getting thinner.
Catherine tries to convince her mother that she will make a progressive nation and she will be the mother who started this. Joanna tells Catherine that the Russian women wear french fashion and still look like potatoes. She thinks she will choke due to gossip; she heard what happened with the Ottomans, the battle with the church, the crocodile, and the freeing of servants. And she admits she blames herself for bringing her daughter to a shithole. This is a mother that does not speak lightly. She’s honest and brutal, as all characters in this series.
The mother wants to see her husband. Catherine tells Peter that her mother would like to meet him and tells him to be different. Peter tries to charm Joanna by speaking well and states he loves her daughter. Catherine says she doesn’t love Peter and the mother watches them both bicker. Peter claims he isn’t humoring Catherine and then compliments the mother. He then explains his epiphany and how he has been educating himself.
The mother apparently gets bored and states that Peter is interminable and walks away. Catherine chases after her, and Joanna tells her that she thinks she likes him. Catherine denies it. As the mother heads back to her room to get some sleep, she states that she learned about the fridge device from a Norwegian scientist. Catherine now needs a new science project to impress her mother. It’s going from bad to worse for the Empress.
But there’s a twist. Late at night, Catherine’s mother tells Peter that she doesn’t find him interminable, but she finds him thrilling before grabbing his groin. She’s hot for him.
A turn of fortune for Catherine at last! One of the women tells Catherine how to amend one of their science experiments that don’t end in death and can be a thrilling experience — the rollercoaster. Orlo wonders if they should build the whole thing and prove Russia can do anything. A drunken Velementov rallies everyone to get to work late into the night.
The science fair is presented by Catherine, and projects are brought forward. Catherine’s mother wonders where hers is. They’ve been working through the night to build it. A rollercoaster was made. Catherine is enlightened by it and tells her mother it signifies Russa. The mother tells Catherine that it isn’t science. It’s unlikely she’ll ever be happy with anything that Catherine does in Russia.
As the episode ends, Aunt Elizabeth tells Peter not to sleep with Catherine’s mother, Joanna. Peter states he will try his hardest not to. Surely not? Oh dear, we are in for some exciting episodes.
- Orlo steals rubles from Catherine and gives them to his family to help the community. He feels guilty.
- Archbishop tells Marial that cravings he thought he was over have resurfaced and admits he kissed Basil. He now wants to have sex with everyone. Marial suggests he whips himself as punishment.
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