The Great season 2 – who is Catherine’s mother Joanna?

By Daniel Hart
Published: November 19, 2021 (Last updated: January 26, 2024)
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The Great Season 2 - who is Catherines mother Joanna - hulu

This article, “who is Catherine’s mother Joanna,” contains significant spoilers for The Great season 2.

Season 2 does not introduce many new characters, and the ones that are new, are merely extras to the story. However, there is one new character that changes the course of story forever.

Who is Catherine’s mother Joanna in The Great season 2?

In the later stages of season 2, Catherine learns that her mother is visiting. Her mother is the reason why Catherine is in Russia. She sold the idea to Peter’s family that Catherine would make a good Queen (look how that turned out).

When the mother arrives, it looks like her Catherine has a good relationship with her. They have inside jokes and nicknames for each other. However, as the story progresses, it’s clear that Joanna disapproves of Catherine’s takeover of the Russian throne.

It’s not clear why at first. Why would she not be proud? It turns out that Joanna had made an agreement with the French king to marry another daughter into that royal family, however, when the French learned of rumors that Catherine had become Empress of Russia, the deal had fallen apart. Of course, Catherine does not seem bothered that her sister lost a chance to marry into another royal family.

But Joanna does care, and she spends most of her time in season 2 disapproving of Catherine’s plans for progressive Russia and bringing equality between men and women. Her overprotective nature turns into manipulation, and Catherine finds it difficult to manage between leadership and her relationship with her mother.

Joanna is played by Gillian Anderson (Sex Education, The Crown) and she performs the role perfectly. A disapproving mother with a slight trace of venom in her is well executed by the actress. She sublimely fits in well with The Great and she’s convincing as a blood relative of Catherine. We already know about Gillian’s expansive acting scope, but seeing her in plenty of various roles recently has been a pleasure.

It’s very unlikely Gillian Anderson’s Joanna will be in The Great season 3, but her time in season 2 is much appreciated.

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