July 23, 2024

Gabbing Geek

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The Great “The Bullet Or The Bear”

Season Three, Episode One

Hog dog!  This weird historic comedy that is only occasionally true is back!  I was waiting for this one, so hopefully it was worth the wait.

I mean, it was based on this first episode.

Interspersed with scenes of Catherine and Peter at the Russian equivalent of marital counseling, this episode picks up where the last one left off.  Catherine stabbed Peter’s double five times thinking it was the husband who had sex with Catherine’s mother that accidentally knocked that awful matriarch out a window to her death.  Peter is remarkably forgiving about that.  Heck, he even encourages that.  But Catherine keeps flipping between wanting him dead and just plain wanting him.  All the while, the people plotting to overthrow Catherine on Peter’s behalf, a group that oddly enough includes the relatively innocent Marial, are set to be executed.

Yeah, the execution method is either a bullet from a firing squad or a bear.  Survive one and you might get a pardon.  Yes, it was Peter’s idea.

Now, Catherine hates capital punishment.  She’d just assume let them all live, but she also knows that a straight-up pardon will make her look weak.  Bad enough Peter survived the night.  How can Catherine handle this when the Russian people expect an execution.  They’re even selling tickets to see it.  And since the executions won’t happen until Catherine herself comes out to deal with the traitors, it’s been a long wait.

It’s not really a surprise that Catherine finds a way to spare everyone.  Oh, they’re all punished to a degree, and Marial was out there instead of the more deserving Georgina because Catherine was too flattered to assume Georgina was only faking being a fan while Marial just didn’t warn Catherine the coup was coming.  Marial is out as a friend, and that’s her punishment, but I suspect Catherine will change her mind later, much as she is taking political lessons from Archie and Aunt Elizabeth.

But then there’s Orlo.  Orlo was Catherine’s first follower.  He was loyal, but her refusal to kill Peter is the last straw as he spends the episode trying to kill Peter himself.  He fails every time, of course, but the final time ends with him dead.  Like, really dead.  Catherine is out hunting with Peter and their infant son Paul, and she opts to shoot what she figures is a rabbit in a bush.  She aims too high for that and instead hits Orlo in the forehead.  And in case there’s any doubt, the bears from the execution show up, still hungry, and eat Orlo’s corpse.

Honestly, I am not surprised.  Actor Sacha Dhawan has a pretty good career going, so he’ll be fine.  But Orlo as a character didn’t have a whole lot to do in season two, and here, well, he maybe got to the end of his story, so to speak.  Orlo as a character isn’t as colorful as the others when you consider people like Elizabeth and Archie.  Plus, I don’t think show shies away from just killing off characters in colorful and odd ways, such as with Catherine own mother.  But that was still a bit surprising.  Not upsetting.  Surprising.  It’s pretty par for the course for this show, honestly.

But I guess Peter and Catherine are good again.  You know, as long as he remembers to stop mentioning he had sex with her mother.