The Great season 2 episode 7 recap: Will Catherine’s mom wreak havoc?

On this episode of The Great season 2, Catherine loses faith in Russia — but finds it again in an unexpected invention. Meanwhile, Peter finds enlightenment, Orlo finds himself torn between his loyalties to Catherine and his community, and Catherine’s mother arrives to shake things up.

Read on to learn what happened in The Great season 2 episode 7, “Stapler.”

The Great season 2 episode 7 recap: Is Catherine losing faith in Russia?

The beginning of the episode finds Catherine sulking. The fact that freeing the serfs was such a failure has made her lose faith that Russia could be a better place. Catherine says as much to Peter, but Peter is adamant that if anyone can change this county, it’s her. Marial and Elizabeth both tell her it will simply take some time for the country to change, but Catherine doesn’t want to hear it — especially from Elizabeth, who she believes betrayed her during the serf debacle last week.

Elizabeth, however, doesn’t give up on Catherine, even after she harshly sends her from the room. She makes her visit a memorial some people are having for the dead, paying their respects to both serfs and nobles alike. Catherine is moved, and Elizabeth tells her that, although they need what Catherine is teaching them, Catherine can learn something from the Russian people, too.

This becomes especially clear during the science fair Catherine throws with the best inventors from all around the world. From staplers to ceps to velcro and something called an exultation — a death machine that offers one last moment of fun before people crash to their death — there is a lot to choose from for Russia’s entry. None, however, are as good as the fridge, which Peter has stolen from a Norwegian scientist in order to impress Catherine.

Though Catherine knows the fridge was stolen, she agrees to use it anyway and claim it as Russia’s own. It would be a surefire way to win, after all, and the people need a victory. Unfortunately, this plan quickly falls through when everyone finds out the Norwegian scientist is missing, and it would look too suspicious.

Luckily, one of the serfs takes the exultation idea and invents a rollercoaster. Though the model she’s made is impressive, building a real one at scale that people could ride would be even better. A group of Russians rallies together to build it by the next day, and Catherine is moved. Though the people have their limitations, it’s clear they have a tireless work ethic and take great pride in their country.

The Great season 2 episode 7 recap: Is this the start of a brand-new Archie, Orlo, and Peter?

While Catherine is trying to change Russia, the men in her life seem to be changing, too — for better and for worse. Archie admits to Marial that his sexual urges have resurfaced. He wants to have sex with everyone and everything he sees, including her and Father Basil. However, he’s confident that God will save him again and whips himself, hoping the pain will put him back in line.

Orlo and Velementov are both irritated at how their opinions have been sidelined by Catherine. Though Orlo has faith that Catherine will come around and start listening to them more, Velementov is still tempted to go to war with the Ottomans. He doesn’t want his last war to be killing his own people with the serf rebellion. Orlo’s Uncle Varnya puts even more pressure on Orlo to help the community while he still can, as the tides seem to be turning on Catherine. Orlo breaks down and steals from Catherine to help his people.

Peter is attempting to turn over a new leaf, meditating and fasting with his advisor Dimitri. He says he is now enlightened and does not want to overthrow Catherine anymore — much to Grigory’s dismay. He wants to keep trying to destroy Catherine even without Peter’s support, and he and Marial both bond over the fact that their best friends are acting like different people at the moment.

The Great season 2 episode 7 recap: Will Catherine’s mom wreak havoc?

The Great season 2

The Great — “Stapler” – Episode 207 — Catherine’s team is falling apart and she begins doubting her reign when her mother comes to visit. She works hard to hide the realities of the court from her mother and puts on a science fair for which Russia must come up with the best invention. Catherine (Elle Fanning), shown. (Photo by: Gareth Gatrell/Hulu)

Catherine is also dealing with the arrival of her mother Joanna. Though she’s excited to see her, she wants everything to be perfect — including hiding all of the issues she is having as a ruler. Despite this, her mother thinks Catherine has bitten off more than she can chew. Plus, Catherine overthrowing Peter ruined the engagement her mother had arranged for one of her sisters to a French king. They got spooked that rebellion may come inside the family due to Catherine’s actions. Catherine’s mother is also worried that Catherine chose to keep Peter alive, scared that he will kill her once their child is born.

Catherine’s mother believes that everyone around Catherine is using her big dreams of leading Russia into a new age to take advantage of her. Though she’s proud of Catherine’s fire and passion, she believes Russia is a lost cause and feels bad about sending her there despite Catherine’s assurances she loves the country and its people.

Elizabeth and Catherine both encourage Peter to get Joanna to like him, and he’s surprisingly charming and kind. Even with Catherine’s mom grills him, he is polite and answers her questions well. Catherine’s mom senses that Catherine genuinely likes him, which could lead to a big mess.

Though Joanna tells Peter that she doesn’t like him around Catherine, later, she sneaks into his room and admits she finds him thrilling. Peter tells Elizabeth about this, and Elizabeth begs him not to have sex with her, as it could ruin everything. To make matter worse, Joanna isn’t particularly impressed with Catherine’s rollercoaster achievement, which devastates her.

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