OK, apparently in this universe, Catherine the Great, in a depressive funk, invented Russian Roulette. That’s the sort of joke that strikes me as both stupid and brilliant at the same time.
That could more or less describe this whole show, quite frankly.
So, yes, Catherine is still in her funk, and she even gives something of a reason why: she believes in destiny. More importantly, she’s seeing that there are all kinds of problems of just killing Pugachev. She’s aware that, unless she gets Pugachev to somehow confess publicly and often that he is not the late Peter the Third, that people will not believe it. After all, it would look like she’d killed her own husband to the sort of people who believe Catherine is the devil and Pugachev is Peter. Since Catherine’s other big concern is doing something about Peter’s legacy, even the appearance of killing Peter is out.
Meanwhile, she asked Grigor to hide baby Paul for a while to prevent the baby from being ordained. That is what this is about at this point. If Paul were ordained, Aunt Elizabeth and Archie would have no reason to assist Pugachev anymore. Grigor agreed, and even later saved the baby from a wild bear, because Peter wanted the baby not to be ordained.
Really, at this point, Catherine and Grigor seem to be the only two who are actually trying to honor Peter’s wishes even as everyone else who seems to think they are are, well, not. George is only out for herself at all times (Elizabeth basically calls her out on it) while Archie and Elizabeth are more interested in a tradition that neither of Paul’s parents hold much interest in. Velementov, learning the disease that is killing him won’t, may get what Catherine wants better than anyone else, but he was the one who thought his own destiny was somewhere else.
And that’s the thing for this episode: it’s destiny and legacy vs dumb luck. Velementov’s replacement Petrov thinks it’s a matter of luck, and his own experience bears that out. It’s actually an idea Catherine starts warming to: maybe no one has a destiny. Maybe it is all about luck.
Anyway, Catherine’s plan is to capture Pugachev alive and make him confess he’s not Peter all over Russia. That way everyone will know Peter is dead, Pugachev is a liar, and if Catherine lets Pugachev keep breathing, he’ll go along with it. That was all Velementov’s idea, and he’s back in Catherine’s good graces as a result…mostly.
As it is, everyone else seems to be trying to kill Pugachev for one reason or another, but some people can learn because Marial opts to come clean about seeing one of Pugachev’s rallies. Catherine wants to see what’s going on, and one disguise later, she sees…well, she sees a lot of people want her dead, and that may even happen while the people don’t even know it. Will anyone get out of this season alive?
Probably. I just want Hulu to renew it.