Wednesday, July 22, 2020

What I’m Watching: The Great (Season Finale)

The Great: Season 1, Episode 10 “The Beaver’s Nose” (B+)

I’m glad that it took me as long as it did to finish the first season of this show since I can’t imagine what it would have been like to get to the end and then worry that it wouldn’t be returning for more. I love the relationships on this show, and the coup arriving and going not so well made them all the more fascinating. Catherine was aware that there would need to be bloodshed in her quest for power, yet she didn’t want to sacrifice Leo despite lying to both Marial and Elizabeth about how the people they cared about weren’t going to have to die. Not honoring Marial’s request to keep Archie alive was her biggest mistake since she finally took his advice and reported the latest conspirator to Peter, who seemed legitimately devastated to see how much effort she had put into her plot against him. Elizabeth deduced her plan and didn’t seem all that bothered by it provided she spared her nephew, and Archie, once Marial disarmed Orlov, once again reaffirmed that he preferred the more controllable Elizabeth to Catherine if there was going to be a new leader. Peter threw Catherine for a loop when he brought Voltaire in, demonstrating that he actually understood what was important to her even if he didn’t get its appeal. Catherine didn’t skip a beat when she pivoted to trying to convince Peter to abdicate, and he responded with typical cruelty and unexpected cunning when the line she had just used on him back at her with a death threat to Leo attached to it. Realizing that Leo would have to die was difficult but emphatic, and that ending was formidable. Though I worry it won’t be full of Nicholas Hoult, I can’t wait for season two of this, and I really hope it has a tremendous showing when Emmy nominations are announced this Tuesday. Huzzah!

Season grade: A-
Season MVPs: Elle Fanning as Catherine, Nicholas Hoult as Peter, and Phoebe Fox as Marial

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