You know, it took a while, but we finally got a Russian tradition on this show even Peter isn’t fond of.
Also, that baby is coming really soon.
Yes, according to the court doctor and Aunt Elizabeth, both using their own methods simultaneously, Catherine will give birth in exactly seven days. That means there’s still time to do the final prep work. For Catherine, that means delegating her usual mass of ideas (this time more legal equality for women) to the students of her girls’ school and some others, and for Peter, it means digging two graves. One is for Catherine and the other is for the baby if one or both of them doesn’t make it.
Peter thinks all this is very morbid. That’s when he’s not trying to resist the come-ons from Catherine’s mother Joanna because that woman is still hanging around and promoting the idea that Catherine give the power back to Peter. Sure, Joanna claims its for Catherine’s own good, and that Catherine can still, if she’s smart enough, get Peter to enact all those reforms himself and thus make it so he, not she, is the target of assassins, but somehow that seems unlikely as she really just seems to be undermining her daughter’s confidence at every turn. This ignores the fact Peter seems to prefer not being Emperor, leading to his doing things he never would have done before, starting with apologizing to people he’s wronged.
Peter genuinely apologizing to anyone would have been unheard of before.
Catherine, meanwhile, is shown the table where she’ll be giving birth and the spectator stands that go with it because the Russians can charge admission and it’s the one way to guarantee the baby is her actual baby and not accidentally someone else’s. This may be the rare instance where all of the characters seem to agree it’s a sensible policy over Catherine’s objections, and even she can’t argue with the logic in the end.
She can argue with her mother’s list of people to assassinate since it’s pretty much all of her friends and allies.
Then again, the concoction that Aunt Elizabeth gave Peter to resist Lady Joanna’s advancements with works a little too well. By that, I mean he sees his own dead father sitting in the grave he’s digging. And…hey, it’s Jason Isaacs as Peter the Great! I am sure he has some good advice for his son…oh, he wants Peter to go back to the way he used to be and threatens to give Peter a good thrashing if he doesn’t behave himself. Not bad for a hallucination.
Peter attacks the ghost with a knife, but it disappears after that. Peter better stop taking that potion.
However, Catherine has finally had enough of her mother’s browbeating and finally tells the woman off. She may or may not have reached a breaking point when she realizes that the candles the Ottoman Emperor sent as a peace offering were poisonous when one of them may or may not have killed a maid who lit one for the Empress. At least Velementov will get his war now. Too bad he tossed his great plans into a fire…
But hold on. Joanna can’t be put off that easily. I mean, Aunt Elizabeth basically figured out the woman’s real goal to putting Peter back in power was to make it so she could marry her youngest daughter off to the French king. It’s not about Catherine’s capabilities at all! It’s about Joanna’s bragging rights! Joanna doesn’t deny it. Elizabeth is a lot sharper than she lets on, isn’t she?
I mean, it turns out she’s good at body disposal. Peter finally gives in to Joanna, and during the, shall we say, enthusiastic copulation against a window, Joanna, kinda, falls out and plummets down a couple floors to the ground. Aunt Elizabeth was out walking her bear at that time. She says she’ll take care of the body, and no one should tell Catherine anything other than Joanna left.
Technically, that is true.
So, Catherine and Peter meet briefly where Peter used one of those graves to finally bury his own mother, and the two seem to be somewhat getting along…when Catherine’s water breaks.
Two days early.
Probably for the best. There’s gonna be a war on soon.