The Great’s latest season, a whirlwind of brilliance and heartbreak, sees Peter III’s shocking death elevate the show’s narrative like never before.
In a breathtaking turn of events, The Great’s third season has left us gasping for breath. It’s faster, wilder, and more twisted than ever before, but it’s the unexpected demise of Peter III that has us on the edge of our seats. While some may have anticipated this moment for historical accuracy, the impact it has on the series is nothing short of phenomenal.
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The Unthinkable Happens
As the season unfolds, we witness Peter and Catherine grappling with the aftermath of her failed assassination attempt against him in Season 2. But instead of targeting Peter, she mistakenly stabs his lookalike, Pugachev, setting the stage for a tumultuous journey of reconciliation. Catherine, fueled by a deep love for Peter, embarks on her mission to modernize Russia and bridge the gap among serfs, merchants, and nobles. However, tensions rise, especially when they disagree on their son Paul’s future as the next Emperor.
In a shocking turn of events, Peter, influenced by Sweden’s former King Hugo, decides to seize Russia’s army and invade Sweden. Catherine, joined by Peter’s best friend Grigor, attempts to reason with him on a frozen lake, but tragedy strikes. Peter’s change of heart ends in a heart-wrenching plunge into icy waters, leaving us stunned by his sudden departure.
A Strategic Move
Killing off a beloved main character can be a risky choice in television, but in the hands of Tony McNamara, it becomes sheer brilliance. The decision to end Peter’s story enriches the season, thanks to one crucial fact: Catherine was destined to rule alone. Historically, Catherine’s coup was swift and successful, leading to her sole reign as “The Great.”
While the show previously diverged from history to keep Peter alive, this season takes a different path. Peter’s presence was a hindrance to Catherine’s potential, both politically and emotionally. His impact on the Empress prevented her from realizing her dreams for Russia. Despite their love, allowing Peter to persist would have hindered the show’s portrayal of grief and madness.
After Peter’s tragic accident, Catherine descends into a state of mental shock, creating a fantasy where he is still alive. Elle Fanning’s performance during this phase is nothing short of career-defining. Catherine is heartbroken, disappointed, and overwhelmed. Her journey takes her to a place of grief, power, and madness that we’ve never seen before.
As Catherine faces the reality of Peter’s death, her character undergoes a profound transformation. This loss propels her into a new era, one where she can finally make her mark on history. The show’s second half takes us on a gripping journey, offering a change in trajectory that breathes new life into the series.
As we mourn the loss of Peter III, we also celebrate The Great’s evolution into a complex, thrilling, and darkly hilarious narrative. Death often drives change, and as the season concludes with Catherine regaining the favor of the Russian people, we can’t help but anticipate an epic fourth season.
The Great has dared to make bold storytelling choices, and it has paid off in spades. This season has proven that even in the face of tragedy, there is hope for a brighter future.