Co-parenting is hard, but it’s way more challenging when your wife is the Empress of Russia, and you’ve recently had sex with her mother and killed her.
This recap of Hulu’s The Great season 2, episode 9, “Walnut Season,” contains spoilers.
Throughout the final two episodes of this series, a dark, murky cloud hangs over Catherine and Peter; it’s the absolute wrong time to fall in love with each other, bringing such irony to the series.
The Great season 2, episode 9 recap
The Great season 2, episode 9 opens up with Catherine going through childbirth. Peter listens from the corridor, and it sounds painful. It’s a public birth. Aunt Elizabeth takes over from the doctor. Peter loses patience and breaks tradition to help. Catherine does one big push and her baby Paul is out. Peter is emotional and confirms the baby is a boy. Huzzah!
Six weeks later, Catherine and Peter are co-parenting. They both appear to be enjoying their time together. Catherine raises how they haven’t seen each other as much since the birth, and she reminds him of a strange moment at the graves (where she was about to kiss him). Peter claims he doesn’t remember. But he can remember, and he tells Grigor and Aunt Elizabeth that he cannot look Catherine in her eyes since having sex with her mother and accidentally killing her. He’s compounded with guilt.
The following day, Grigor wakes up, and Georgina is on top of him. She has returned. She tells Catherine that she met a woman philosopher that spoke about the equality of men and women; she wants to help Catherine change Russia. Catherine believes her and allows her to return. However, it appears Georgina is lying — she has no intention of changing Russia at all. Georgina wants to overthrow Catherine.
Hugo and Agnes visit Catherine. Democracy won in their country, so they lost their power in Sweden. They ask for refuge at Catherine’s palace. Later on, Hugo asks Catherine if she can borrow half the Russian army to retake Sweden. Catherine rejects that idea.
Georgina doesn’t understand Grigor’s anger, but he tells her he hasn’t heard from her for months and has been sleeping with Marial. He doesn’t want to end things with her. Georgina accepts she isn’t in a strong position to ask for anything. She gives him a gift from a French designer. When Grigor walks off, it’s clear Georgina is hurt. Grigor bumps into Marial; she tells him to marry her, so she doesn’t lose her inheritance from her cousin Maxim. She thinks they can declare Georgina dead. Grigor reveals that Georgina is back and alive, so Marial walks away upset.
Marial holds a process to find her next husband. She’s not impressed with any of them.
Peter reminds Aunt Elizabeth of her child loss, so she kidnaps Paul. Meanwhile, Catherine talks about her conflict with Peter. Marial tells her to kill him as he’s a monster. Catherine thinks exiling Peter will be a better option. So, she tells Peter to live in a country house, and they’ll talk briefly on occasion. Peter agrees, but then they realize neither of them has Paul. Rather than arguing, they decide to find Paul together. They learn from a maid that Aunt Elizabeth took Paul to the country house. Catherine mentions that her mother did not trust Elizabeth, and Peter gets anxious as he feels like he’s going to reveal the secret about what happened with Joanna.
The writers have been cruel to the audience — they have sold the idea that Catherine and Peter can be together, but of course, that one dark secret is a ticking time bomb.
Catherine and Peter head out in a carriage to find Paul, and it’s a 6-hour journey. Peter wonders how much her forgiveness stretches. Catherine wonders what worse thing he’s ever done, and thinks it will be a great test of their hypothetical love. Peter tells Catherine a made-up story, but she can tell he is lying.
Catherine and Peter talk about hypothetical scenarios to pass the time. Suddenly, their carriage is put under hostage, so Peter quickly pays them off. Back in the carriage, Peter asks Catherine how the war is and the irony that she’s sent thousands to die. Peter tells Catherine that her perfection is unfair to everyone and that his love for her is a burden. Peter proves that he knows her well, and Catherine senses that he’s the only one who does. Peter tells Catherine that he knows when she lies and that she loves him. It looks like she’s about to admit it, but then Peter states it’s impossible for them to be together.
Think about where we were in episode 1 to where we are now — this has been a bubbling story that was not expected.
When they arrive at the country house, Peter reveals that he let it slip to Aunt Elizabeth that he saw his mother drown her son before she kidnapped Paul. Catherine confronts Aunt Elizabeth first, but she seems unaware that she’s done anything wrong. She raises what Peter told her about his mother. Aunt Elizabeth apologizes for running with Paul before reminiscing about her son. Peter walks in and admits he didn’t understand the pain she was in and apologizes to her.
And as the penultimate chapter moves forward to a conclusion, there appears to be a way forward for Grigor and Marial. Grigor confronts Marial’s cousin about the inheritance. Marial reveals she’s marrying her 8-year old cousin, so they both will have complications now. This manages to bring them back together. They are both married, but they both want each other.
And as the episode ends, the predictable happens, but unfortunately for the entire situation, the secret of Joanna’s death is still a heavy cloud over the characters.
Catherine gives Peter a hypothetical situation about a woman who has loathed him, overthrown him, tried to kill him, and imprisoned him, but tells him she loves him. She asks what he would do in this situation. Peter walks up to Catherine, and they kiss each other passionately. The two crazy royals then have sex on a nearby table.
Catherine and Peter return to the palace holding hands, finally happy with each other. Catherine then gets an update from Velementov, but he isn’t providing any hope for the war. She wants a win. And then, Archbishop introduces Catherine to bookkeepers who reveal Orlo stole loads of rubles from the palace to help his people. Catherine is furious and tells him to go, or he will be arrested. Velementov is shocked at Catherine, reminding her that he’s Orlo. Catherine tells Velementov to win the war. Orlo decides to leave for good, which means leaving his lover behind.
As the episode ends, Grigor reveals to Marial that Peter had sex with Joanna, and she fell out of the window to her death. He tells her to keep it a secret, but she stays silent. Oh, dear Grigor — when will the men of this series ever learn?
- Velementov goes out to war.
- Georgina rounds up women and talks about equality and how Catherine is trying to bring it to them. She encourages them all to read and educate themselves. However, she reveals to another woman that her enlightenment is fake, and Catherine’s plans will bring them down as she learned in France.
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