Friday, December 24, 2021

What I’m Watching: The Great

The Great: Season 2, Episode 7 “Stapler” (B+)

This episode felt markedly different from the one before it, even if two of its characters – Catherine and Grigor – were profoundly affected by what happened over the course of that fateful hour. Peter was too, to a degree, preaching enlightenment and actually trying to help Catherine achieve her goals. He’s still not quite aligned with reality, decreeing that had been fasting when he had eaten a pheasant and plenty of other food, but he’s doing much better. This was a perfect time for Catherine’s mother to arrive and throw a wrench in all the progress she thought she was making with her very condescending attitude. Gillian Anderson, a recent Emmy winner for playing Margaret Thatcher on “The Crown,” was the perfect choice to play Joanna, whose near-instant question of “what is huzzah?” was just a warm-up for the harshness she was about to deliver. Talking only about Catherine’s sisters led to her proclaiming that the coup was bad for the whole family, and she was particularly cruel to both Marial, who seemed unfazed, and Elizabeth, who was more offended. Peter actually did well but received a harsh rating but then got a far more personal visit that Elizabeth warned him he should not act upon since Catherine would surely kill them both. Catherine spinning Peter’s hijacking of the Norwegian science fair idea into something workable was great, and how fitting that someone no one would have noticed or paid attention to had a notion of how to make it even better. Velementov losing faith in Catherine is definitely a worrisome development, while Orlo has plenty on his mind and Archie is determined to fix his problems in a very violent and emphatic way.

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