The Great Season 3 Ending, Explained – As Hulu’s period comedy-drama ‘The Great‘ enters its third season, we witness Catherine and Peter as they come face-to-face after yet another disagreement. Although Catherine cannot bring herself to kill Peter due to their mutual affection, both parties recognize issues within their marriage that must be addressed for it to become sustainable again.
As Catherine the Great takes charge of Russia, tensions build, and her vision for its future is tested. Will Catherine be able to achieve her hopes, or will unexpected obstacles beget a roadblock? Throughout the season’s final act, Catherine experiences an emotionally and politically challenging journey that calls into question her ability to rule, leading viewers to witness Catherine the Great’s reign and its impactful conclusion.
The Great Season 3 Finale Synopsis
“The Great” returns for an exciting third season, with Catherine the Great on a quest for power over her Russian empire. As she navigates its treacherous political terrain, Catherine must also deal with personal hardships and romantic complications as enemies surround her. She aims to remain one step ahead and secure her place as one of history’s great rulers.
In this episode, Catherine made headlines by stabbing Peter’s doppelganger, leaving their marriage on tenuous ground as trust became an issue. To rebuild trust with Catherine, Peter struggles to control his violent tendencies and become her desired husband. With Catherine becoming more focused on legal proceedings and preoccupied with raising her children, Peter feels neglected and unimportant. Hugo and Agnes devise a scheme to manipulate Peter into attacking Sweden again, leading him toward revenge. Meanwhile, tensions rise between Archie and his colleague over Paul’s ordination, resulting in tragedy when Peter dies shortly afterwards.
The Great Season 3 Episode 9 and Episode 10 Recap
Catherine sets her plan into motion to overthrow Peter on “The Great,” but it hits a roadblock when she is poisoned and nearly dies. With Marial and Leo’s assistance, Catherine recovers enough to continue her mission against Peter. His paranoia and cruelty reach new levels, causing those around him to question their loyalty. As Catherine and Peter fight over who will sit on the throne, tensions escalate.
Archie’s Pugachev storyline turns unexpectedly chaotic, prompting Marial, Georgina, Catherine, and Elizabeth to travel with him. They attempt to defuse a peasant uprising by giving a speech in his town. As events spiral out of control, Marial saves Georgina’s life but feels guilty afterwards. Catherine grapples with the realization that her subjects dislike her, especially given their recent grief over Peter’s death. Unfortunately, they rally behind a man she once attacked and left for dead, who now masquerades as her late spouse. The next episode sees Pugachev triumphantly seizing control of Moscow, leaving Catherine feeling depressed and disconnected from the life around her.
Catherine devises a daily ritual to examine her fate, setting three loaded guns on the table. With only one gun being unloaded, she aims at herself to gauge her destiny. Previous seasons hinted at this topic, but Catherine’s dialogue with Elizabeth needs to be more cohesive. Catherine questions why being an Empress wasn’t Elizabeth’s destiny, given the respect and authority the position holds. In reality, Peter the Great was Catherine’s father, while Elizabeth is depicted as his love interest on-screen. Elizabeth is undeniably successful as a monarch.
Paul’s living situation is outrageous, as he lives in a box perched high up a tree, entertained by Grigor. Grigor’s mental state rapidly declines, and Catherine approves a plan to remove Paul for his safety. However, whether Catherine is aware of Paul’s current living situation remains unknown. Chaos ensues as each individual pursues hidden motives in the increasingly chaotic atmosphere.
Velementov’s condition dramatically improves, and he is no longer on the brink of death. Our protagonist visits his doctor, who casually mentions a recently discovered cure. Velementov has overcome his alcoholism and self-destructive tendencies, demonstrating his absolute control over the army. Catherine listens intently as Velementov describes his plan for Pugachev: capturing him alive and forcing him to deny being Peter publicly. However, Archie’s fear and the threat of exposure loom ominously, leading to a tense situation.
Catherine and Marial embark on an arduous mission, sneaking into a Pugachev rally to discover the source of his engaging speeches. Pugachev promises his followers that any foreigner who dares meet their gaze will be eliminated, tall structures will be built, and riches from America will be taken as booty. The raccoons become a hilarious addition to the videos produced.
The penultimate episode ends dramatically as an angry crowd calls, “Kill her!” against Catherine. The complex scenario needs an episode that brings order out of the chaos, and the finale aims to do just that.
Pugachev is swiftly dealt with during the “Once Upon a Time season finale.” At a rally, Pugachev enters an antechamber where Archie is present. They come face-to-face, and after Pugachev kisses Archie, a quick draw ensues, resulting in Pugachev being shot in the shoulder. Fleeing, Pugachev unexpectedly meets Petrov, who refrains from shooting him as instructed. Pugachev seeks refuge in an adjacent carriage, only to find Maxim also present and pointing a firearm at him. Pugachev’s life is saved when Maxim’s guns are confiscated. Pugachev is led into the courtroom and securely fastened into his chair, where Catherine informs him about a potential speaking tour opportunity in which he would publicly deny being Peter. As Catherine leaves the room, Archie convinces Maxim to take matters into his own hands and kill Pugachev by shooting him in the head. Nicholas Hoult’s character dies for a second time this season, shocking viewers.
As this episode involves many moving pieces, let’s attempt to explain their motivations. Grigor’s unpredictable behaviour emerges as an ongoing theme as he battles between wanting Paul in his life and a future with Marial. Georgina hopes for Paul to become a priest so she can marry him and become an empress, while Archie wants Paul ordained and married. Elizabeth works toward Paul’s ordination, but her alliance with Archie ends. Petrov remains contemplative, and Marial seeks employment while the Swedes make moves. As discussed in a previous episode, Petrov resorts to forceful methods against his opponent.
Catherine finds relief as Nikolai, an esteemed royal astronomer, informs her of Halley’s Comet’s imminent arrival. She sees it as an opportunity to trick the peasants, but Catherine needs all the support she can get during these challenging times.
Elizabeth reaches her breaking point and demands Catherine take action before someone else does, even offering herself as a solution. In an unexpected Gun Time moment, Catherine reaches for her gun and pulls it, only to be interrupted by an intruder firing shots. Catherine quickly reacts and fights back. Despite favourable odds, things don’t go according to plan.
Following her harrowing experience, Catherine returns to her usual ways with increased severity. She attends an illegal duel and fires a shot at Petrov’s leg, sending a powerful message. Archie’s adviser suggests using the comet as a symbol of peace to calm unrest among the Russian people. Marial reveals the truth to Catherine, leading to Archie being sentenced for murder and the beheading of Paul. Catherine orders guards to strip Archie of his cassock, forcibly remove his beard, and bury him alive, desecrating his grave.
Catherine presents Archie with two options to meet his demands: agree to specific outcomes or sign a document that would liberate serfs owned by the Church and grant them significant plots of land. Reluctantly, Archie agrees, but Catherine still forces him out, leaving the other characters surprised and concerned about Catherine’s distress.
In a surprising turn of events, guards dishonourably relieve themselves at Archie’s final resting place. Marial takes matters into his own hands, excavating Archie and discovering that he miraculously survived. Petrov uses an explosive cannon shot to launch Pugachev’s head towards his followers and unknown assailants. Catherine realizes that all the guns were loaded on the day she shot, revealing the orchestrated nature of the events. She proclaims that her current position is not determined by fate but by her actions.
Ultimately, Catherine takes control and uses scissors to cut her locks, symbolizing a moment of emotional release. She has an outburst, dancing to AC/DC’s “You Shook Me All Night Long” before collapsing in tears. The season concludes with a powerful and emotional scene.
The Great Season 3 Ending Explained
Throughout the season, Catherine and Archie clash over their differing views and desires for Paul’s ordination. Catherine believes in meritocracy, while Archie sees political and church benefits in ordaining Paul. Archie devises a plot that forces Catherine to acknowledge her mistakes, leading to a full-scale rebellion.
Archie’s plan involves Pugachev pretending to be Peter III and agitating against Catherine, causing violence and discontent across the nation. However, Marial betrays Archie and reveals the plan to Catherine, resulting in Archie’s punishment and removal from power. Marial intended to enhance her standing, but the situation turned out unexpectedly.
Catherine takes the opportunity to liberate serfs without involving the nobility, using the trial as an experiment to observe their response to newfound freedom. Marial aims to use the data to compel nobles to free their serfs. As Archie finds himself trapped, Marial saves him, revealing her treachery to Catherine unintentionally. Catherine orders guards to bury Archie alive but is relieved to discover he is still breathing.
In a final twist, Petrov saves Pugachev from being killed, and the guards disgrace Archie’s grave. Catherine takes control and asserts her power, while Marial’s actions inadvertently lead to Elizabeth resigning and Catherine assuming her seat. The season ends with Catherine’s emotional outburst and the symbolic act of cutting her hair.