The Great season 2 episode 6 recap: Did Catherine successfully free the serfs?

In this episode of The Great season 2, Catherine makes a snap decision that has enormous consequences for the nobles and the serfs alike. Meanwhile, her and Peter’s relationship grows even more complicated, and Archie and Father Basil clash.

Read on to find out what happened in The Great season 2 episode 6, “A Simple Jape.”

The Great season 2 episode 6 recap: Did Catherine successfully free the serfs?

Grigory and Marial continue to flirt, even going into her room to have sex. However, they are interrupted by Shakey bringing in tea — now with an eye patch as well. Marial is annoyed by the compassion she feels for the serfs, wishing she could go back to simply being a lady who didn’t care.

A group of mercenaries arrives at the palace ready to become nobles for five million rubles. The girls from Catherine’s school are less than impressed, asking Catherine what she’s actually doing for Russia. It seems she’s all talk and no action.

This lights a fire under Catherine, and she wants to free the serfs immediately. Orlo convinces her it’s too soon and they need to finalize their plans first, so she decides to do something smaller, dressing Shakey up as a noble and having her mingle with the nobles and nobles-to-be. Nearly none of them notice, and Shakey even becomes fast friends with Svenska.

At the end of the night, Catherine reveals what she has done, saying that there is so much untapped potential in the lower class. Shakey, for example, is a wonderful painter, but nobody ever knew because of her station. The nobles are livid and afraid, thinking this is just the beginning of Catherine’s radical ideas about class.

Arkady and Grigory threaten Orlo until he gives them Catherine’s plans for freeing the serfs, and they share them with the court. This makes the court even more outraged. Fed up, Catherine decides to free all the serfs right then and there to teach them a lesson — much to the dismay of Orlo, Velementov, and Elizabeth — and complete chaos ensues. The serfs go on strike, and they and the nobles begin to injure and kill each other.

Embarrassed that she unknowingly befriended a serf, Svenska even kills Shakey, which disturbs Marial and Catherine. Though Orlo, Velementov, and Elizabeth all sternly tell her to take a step back and go back on her proclamation to free the serfs until they can get this under control, Catherine wants to double down. She thinks when this anger dies down, Russia will be better for it. She orders Velementov to kill whoever murdered Shakey, but Elizabeth tells Catherine she used her as a pawn in her game.

Catherine is feeling the pressure and sends them all out of the room so she can break down in tears. Marial, however, wants revenge, going into Svenska’s quarters and shooting her in the head for what she did to Shakey.

The Great season 2 episode 6 recap: Is Peter done being used by Catherine?

The Great season 2

The Great — “A Simple Jape” – Episode 206 — Catherine is frustrated by the lack of meaningful change in her rule of Russia so far. Seeking to shake the court out of its complacency, she plays a joke on them involving a serf to prove a point, but it gets wildly out of hand with tragic consequences. Peter (Nicholas Hoult), shown. (Photo by: Gareth Gatrell/Hulu)

Before this, Peter has been content to simply eat Catherine out, but in this episode, he refuses to do so unless he gets some clarity on their future. Catherine is irritated by this, saying that nothing is going to change between them even after the baby is born and that he’s not capable of real love. This offends him, and he refuses to finish her off, saying she’s heartless, which infuriates her.

Peter tells Arkady that their relationship is over — she will never love him, and he doesn’t love her anymore. He starts having sex with other girls again to annoy Catherine, and it seems to get under her skin. If he moved on so easily, clearly he didn’t care about her all that much.

He also doesn’t agree with Catherine on the point of freeing the serfs and says as much — a comment that rallies the nobles behind him. He capitalizes on this, saying that he was the Emporer chosen by God and she is threatening their country. He convinces them she’s evil and encourages them to protest against her. However, everything grows more complicated when, upon seeing her sobbing, he comforts her. They clearly care more for each other than either will let on.

The Great season 2 episode 6 recap: What’s going on with Archie and Father Basil?

After Archie and Catherine made up last week, Father Basil feels used and doesn’t appreciate being a pawn in their game. He also believes Archie has a darkness in him and doesn’t know that he’s worthy of the position of being a direct line to God. While being interrogated about this, Archie spontaneously kisses Father Basil, which shocks him. Father Basil says he feels impure, and Archie panics about what the implications of the entire conversation could be.

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