I really enjoyed the first season of The Great, but somewhere in the pandemic fog that has become my brain over the last eighteen months, I totally lost track of its return for season two. But it’s coming back! THIS WEEK! The second season begins on Friday. Here are Elle Fanning and Nicholas Hoult towering over almost everyone else at the premiere. Not pictured: Gillian Anderson, who is joining season two as Catherine the Great’s mother. She seems to be doing a toned-down version of her Margaret Thatcher voice from The Crown. I don’t love that, but it works better in the context of The Great because the whole show has an exaggerated vibe that supports torturous vocal work more than The Crown’s recreationist perfectionism does.
The Great is not overly concerned with historical accuracy, but as Peter III (Hoult) is still alive at the start of season two, I do wonder if this entire season will just be focused on the eight days between Catherine the Great’s coup d’etat and Peter III’s mysterious death (he might have been assassinated but no one ever proved it). I hope so. What a dramatically rich time! The trailer is mostly made up of scenes of Catherine and Peter plotting and/or threatening each other’s demise, or Catherine telling Peter how revolting she finds him—that line about sand is graphic and wonderfully HARSH. As terrific Nicholas Hoult is, and as much as I will miss him as the dipsh-t emperor, I can’t wait to see how The Great handles Peter’s death. Since it is a historical question mark, they have a lot of room to play. Of course, he’s already the walking dead, destroyed by Catherine telling him he makes her dry like sand. I want to get into a fight with someone just to use that line. There is NO comeback.