We recap the 2023 Hulu series The Great Season 3 (Episodes 1-10), which contains spoilers as it details what happened.
Fans of The Great, Hulu’s rip-roaring historical comedy series, will be eager to binge the new season, which focuses on the manic marriage of Peter III (Nicholas Hoult) and Catherine the Great (Elle Fanning).
Viewers will also be well aware of just how much drama and plotting is squeezed into every hour-long installment.
With that in mind, let’s discuss the many subplots and the overarching narrative of the new season in more detail. Here’s a breakdown of everything that happened in each episode of The Great Season 3:
Recap – what happened in The Great Season 3? (Episodes 1-10)
Episode 1 – “The Bullet or the Bear”
Catherine tried to kill Peter but realized that she was deeply in love with him. After this odd realization, the couple seeks marriage counseling. Catherine’s change of heart means an end to her coup as well. She is now unsure what to do with her prisoners.
Georgina proves her loyalty to Catherine by shooting Tatyana. Peter frees the prisoners but then changes his mind, not wanting to undermine his wife. Catherine frees them in the end, making deals with each individual.
Catherine and Peter decide to forgive and forget. While hunting, Catherine accidentally shoots and kills Orlo, who is then eaten by bears.
Episode 2 – “Choose Your Weapon”
Both the British and the American ambassadors vie for Catherine’s attention, wanting Russia’s support in the Revolutionary War. 11-year-old Maxim challenges Grigor to a duel because the man is sleeping with his wife, Marial. Catherine bans the duel, though, greatly angering Peter in the process.
Catherine manages to play both sides of the war and ends the negotiations victoriously. Grigor uses a stand-in for the duel, which goes ahead even though Catherine had banned it. In retaliation for Peter’s betrayal, she sleeps with the American ambassador and then tells Peter.
Episode 3 – “You the People”
Catherine throws a conference to hear the people’s opinions. She starts the debate by outlawing murder, which backfires badly. Then Peter spots one of his old enemies at the conference, a man called Simitz, who he wants to murder. Catherine forbids Peter from killing this man.
Velementov tells Catherine that he is dying. Catherine asks Elizabeth and Archie to convince the voters to agree to the outlawing of murder. Elizabeth poisons the merchant’s leader, while Archie scares the peasants into siding with Catherine, threatening eternal damnation.
Catherine is still worried she’ll lose the vote, so she decides to scrap the law entirely and promises each village a monkey instead. Peter, Grigor, and Georgina defy Catherine and kill Simitz together. Peter lies and tells Catherine that Grigor killed Simitz alone.
Episode 4 – “Stag”
Catherine’s son Paul is to be ordained. Alongside this ceremony, Peter will be sacrificing a stag. He prepares for this ritual, but his aim is terrible. Catherine is angered by a letter from her sister Angela asking where their mother is. Peter accidentally killed Catherine’s mother in the last season.
Peter tells Catherine that Paul has said his first word, but of course, it is rude. Catherine fears that Paul will turn out just like his father, so she cancels the ordination. Archie and Elizabeth try to change Catherine’s mind, worried that the entire lineage will be destroyed.
Elizabeth offers Catherine a marriage advice book. The Empress and Peter work through the book together, but Catherine won’t change her mind. Elizabeth plans to sedate Catherine, but Peter decides not to go through with the ordination, even when Catherine is sedated.
Episode 5 – “Sweden”
Archie formulates a plan to get Catherine to agree to Paul’s ordination. He uses Peter’s lookalike Pugachev to start an uprising with the peasants. Catherine is told of the uprising, she wants to apologize to Pugachev for stabbing him, but Velementov wants him killed.
Elizabeth realizes that Pugachev must be working for someone. They try to sniff out the traitor, raiding the rooms of the palace. Agnes gets Velementov fired.
Hugo persuades Peter to reclaim Sweden. They decide to steal Catherine’s army and invade Sweden again. Meanwhile, Archie’s plan starts to work, and Catherine begins to trust him.
Episode 6 – “Ice”
Catherine and Grigor go to stop Peter and his team from invading Sweden. They confront them at a frozen lake. Catherine and Peter argue, with neither changing their minds. Peter falls through the ice and drowns.
Pugachev is getting out of control. Archie orders him to negotiate a deal with Catherine. Elizabeth figures out that Archie is the traitor and confronts the priest. He promises that the plan is working in their favor.
Peter’s death causes Catherine to have a full-on breakdown. She returns to the palace but keeps the death a secret. She is unsure whether she imagined the whole thing. Catherine announces that Russia is going to invade Sweden.
Episode 7 – “Fun”
Catherine’s breakdown continues in the next installment. She orders everyone to tell jokes and organizes a festival. Georgina spreads rumors of Peter’s death and manipulates Katya into performing her satirical yet treasonous play about Catherine.
Marial goes to kill Pugachev, worried that he will sell her out. But then she changes her mind, inspired by his words. Maxim shoots Pugachev, then he tells Catherine that he has killed him, even though the lookalike is still alive.
Catherine is urged to solve the Pugachev problem. She thinks Maxim has killed him. Confused, Catherine tells the people that it is Pugachev that is dead, not Peter. Catherine and Grigor cannot hide their grief, though.
Episode 8 – “Peter and the Wolf”
Elizabeth and Petrov travel to the lake to retrieve Peter’s body. She melts the ice and finds his corpse but decides to leave him there. Next, they go and reclaim Catherine’s army from Velementov and Hugo.
Catherine legalizes divorce. This decision causes much drama in the palace. Women commit suicide, and men make a mockery of the system. The Empress decides to change the law slightly and oversees every divorce settlement herself.
Catherine is told that Pugachev is still alive. Grigor goes hunting to distract himself from his grief. He argues with Marial, who attends a party to celebrate Peter’s death. Catherine asks Grigor to keep Paul safe. Catherine starts to play Russian Roulette with herself.
Episode 9 – “Destiny”
The uprising continues to build momentum, and Pugachev takes Moscow. Tatyana and Arkady join Pugachev. Elizabeth catches Catherine playing Russian Roulette. The Empress believes that her reign is either her destiny or a delusion; she wants fate to decide her destiny. If she shoots herself and survives, then she must be destined to rule.
Vinodel cures Velementov of his illness. With renewed energy, Velementov tells Catherine his plans to capture Pugachev. Catherine is poisoned but survives. Grigor keeps Paul in a cage in the forest.
Marial and Catherine attend one of Pugachev’s rallies to see what all the fuss is about. He talks of his hate for Catherine and then throws heads into the crowd. One hits Catherine. She falls to the floor and is trampled on.
Episode 10 – “Once Upon A Time”
Pugachev is captured and interrogated. Maxim shoots him dead. Elizabeth grows tired of Catherine’s laid-back, flippant approach. She gives the Empress an ultimatum; if she doesn’t regain control, then she will take over.
Catherine plays Russian Roulette again. An intruder tries to kill her, and she uses the gun to shoot them instead. This epiphany allows Catherine to come out of her daze and regain control of her country.
Georgina steals Paul and has him ordained by Archie. She plans to marry Paul to become Queen, but Archie is taken away first. Marial has sold Archie out, and Catherine has him buried alive as punishment. Although, Marial saves Archie in the end.
Catherine orders her closest advisors to spread rumors of Peter’s and Pugachev’s deaths. She seizes control from Elizabeth and orders Petrov to attack Pugachev’s base. Catherine then uses a comet to win back the people’s trust, telling them that it is a sign from God.
In the end, Catherine sports a new haircut and performs a celebratory dance. She breaks down crying, though, still grieving Peter’s death.
That is the full story recap of what happened in the Hulu series The Great Season 3 (Episodes 1-10). What are your thoughts on the story? Please comment below.