Catherine the Great Episode 2 Recap
In the previous episode of HBO’s Catherine the Great, Peter III’s imprisoned cousin was killed, and the Orlovs beat Potemkin before the ball. In Catherine the Great Episode 2, Catherine called Potemkin back to court after two years fighting the Turks.
Back at Court
Potemkin left for two years to fight the Turks and has distinguished himself with leading victories during the war. Though she kept company with young Alexander Vasilchikov, Catherine wrote to Potemkin summoning him back to court. When he complied and arrived, Catherine ignored him, telling Countess Bruce that now that he was there, she didn’t know what to do with him.
Countess Bruce encouraged Catherine and eased Potemkin’s frustrations with Catherine’s aloofness. Catherine was frank with Potemkin. He wouldn’t have power, and she wanted love. If Potemkin chose to be with her, he had to love her always. Catherine would pay off Vasilchikov to get rid of him. Potemkin was ready for the Orlovs when they tried to surprise him again. Grigory was sent away to join the peace negotiations.
Because of the war with the Turks, Catherine abandoned her campaign to free the slaves and serfs. Emelyan Pugachev claimed to be the emperor Peter III reborn. He riled up the serfs and killed a noblewoman. He was gaining followers, and Catherine had to quash his uprising. She sent Potemkin to take command of the army and attack Pugachev, who was marching on Moscow.
Potemkin was victorious and marched back with Pugachev in a cage. Catherine road out to meet him at the head of the military forces, dressed in full uniform like a military leader. The peasants following the troops dropped to their knees at the sight of her. Pugachev was hanged, but Catherine wanted to spare him the cruelty of disembowelment.
Look Great in Uniform
Prince Paul was now married to Princess Natalia. Catherine didn’t like her, as Natalia wouldn’t bow to her, and she and Peter Zavadovsky, Paul’s best friend, openly flirted with each other. Catherine came across Paul practicing commanding the army. He gave a speech to them that referenced when he would rule. Catherine warned Paul about going against her. He would be wrong to plan a coup as the army was loyal to her.
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