Peter got better for a while. He wasn’t good, but he was better.
And, of course, it wasn’t permanent.
Peter does seem to be enjoying it for a while. Catherine’s suggestion that he invest in art is working in that he doesn’t quite get it, but when Leo and Catherine explain that sometimes people cry over beauty, Peter finally allows tears in his presence.
And then he even gets a printing press. He likes that because he can use it to mass produce funny pictures. Many of them are dirty. Could it be Peter is accepting a new idea, namely freedom of speech?
Nah! It only takes an outbreak of disease to end all that when the pox hits the palace, and by “the palace” I mean the servant’s quarters, something Catherine discovers when Marial decides to let another young servant of the Empress’s, Vlad, have a bit of horizontal fun and he’s covered in pox. This being Russia, that means he, and all the other sick servants, will be tossed in a big bonfire and burned. They don’t have to be dead either. There is a doctor in court, but he only treats nobles.
OK, so, can Catherine get Peter to do something? She asks at a big dinner, and Peter is listening to the people now…but “the people” here are other nobles who, like Peter, don’t care that much.
Marial, who stays healthy, shut Vlad away in a cabinet for the time being. Catherine does toss him a book to read at one point, but no one is letting him out anytime soon.
Well, Orlo is pretty booksmart. Maybe he knows something!
And…he isn’t helpful either since he feels guilty about killing that Swedish soldier in the previous episode and he took Velementov’s advice and got himself good and drunk to try to take his mind off of it. He does bring up how people in Asia use vaccines, though no one mentions that word, and Catherine thinks it’s good enough to try to get that going.
By then, Vlad ran off and Catherine eventually found him dead in a pile. She does take a sample of the pox with her to try and talk everyone into vaccines, but Archie is in charge of science and medicine and religion, and clearly disease is punishment from God, so why bother? Catherine gives herself a shot of pox stuff, but that doesn’t go far.
And, by then, Leo is using the printing press to make satirical pictures of Peter (represented by various animals) screwing, well, all kinds of things. Catherine wasn’t too pleased by some of them either, but Catherine and Peter at one point tried something new. Peter introduced Catherine to oral sex and she introduced Peter to what a female orgasm sounds like. So, while Catherine fails to get sick and she and Leo fight and make up, it isn’t long before the printing press goes away.
Mostly because Peter decided new things had to be agreed upon by a committee first.
And yes, Archie is on it.
So, yeah, new ideas to Russia? Not happening anytime soon.