Tuesday, May 26, 2020

Round Two: The Great

The Great: Season 1, Episode 2 “The Beard” (B+)

I’m very glad I opted to continue watching this show after not completely loving the pilot since this second episode really delivered. I think it’s best compared to “The Death of Stalin,” presenting events in a comedic format in which they evidently didn’t happen with an underlying current of real drama to keep the story grounded. That was presented most strongly towards the end of the episode when Catherine decided she was going to pretend to be happy for Peter and had to pull the eyes of the Swedish severed heads out just because it amused him, and when Orlov finally lost it after Peter forced him to shave Rostov rather than accept democratic reforms. Peter seemed like he was really trying when he semi-apologized for shooting her bear and punching her, but she wasn’t at all interested until the very real threat of her execution when Peter casually suggested it to his court. I love the interactions between Catherine and Peter, particularly her correcting his pronunciation of “touche” and telling him that she could kill him because he is a bad person. The many intonations of “huzzah” that Nicholas Hoult delivers are also fantastic, and I love that they’re all so different. The other cast member who truly stood out in this hour was Phoebe Fox, whose Marial absolutely knows what’s going on and how to achieve much of it, despite the shortcomings of her newfound position. I also like that Archie is her cousin and that he has nobler aims than just money and power.

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