Catherine the Great Episode 3 Recap
In the previous episode of HBO’s Catherine the Great, Potemkin distinguished himself against the Turks, and Paul married Princess Natalia, who Catherine believed was indifferent to him. In Catherine the Great Episode 3, Catherine and Potemkin established an arrangement for their time apart, and Natalia prepared for the birth of her child.
Potemkin felt restless at the palace, though he loved Catherine. He wanted to distinguish himself in war again, this time for the Crimea. Catherine didn’t want him to go to war again but suggested that Potemkin could oversee talks to obtain the Crimea peacefully. She wanted Potemkin to write to her, but they had an understanding that no matter what happened while they were apart, they always loved each other.
After a long time without word from Potemkin, he finally wrote to her with good news. He had successfully reached a peaceful agreement, and the Crimea was now part of Catherine’s empire.
Time to Move On
Princess Natalia was expecting a baby, and she hoped that Prince Paul’s best friend, Count Andrei Razumovsky, was actually the father. She and the baby died during childbirth. Paul stayed in bed and grieved until Catherine came to tell him it was time to move on. She opened Natalia’s private drawer, which contained love letter from Razumovsky. Catherine had a list of twenty-five suitable princesses for him to marry. With Minister Panin’s help, Paul chose Sophia. She was German, like Catherine had been, and chose to learn Russian. Still, Catherine didn’t like her. Sophia had a son, Alexander, who Catherine loved more than Paul.
Catherine sent Paul and his wife on a diplomatic tour in Austria, while Alexander stayed at the palace. She forced Panin to resign, as she believed he poisoned Paul against her, and gave Alexei Orlov’s position of Minister of War to Potemkin.
Catherine and Potemkin had an open relationship with each other, built on their mutual love for each other and their joint desire for expanding the reach of her empire. Throughout the episode, Catherine used her secretaries as lovers and cycled through desire, jealousy, and eventual indifference. After her current lover was unable to perform, Catherine deduced that he was sleeping with a member of the court on her ship. Potemkin took her mind off it by presenting her the city he built for her, Sebastopol. It was strategically placed for the Russian navy where the river met the ocean in the Crimea.
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