There is just something so satisfying about spicy ginger beer and Stoli. I’ve always been a Moscow Mule kinda gal. I love them no matter what season. We even had them as a signature drink at our wedding!
Unapologetically, my Moscow Mule consumption has gone up, and I owe it all to the Emperor and Empress of Russia from Hulu’s newest mini-series, “The Great.”
Three minutes into the Hulu original, Elle Fanning steps out of her carriage and kisses the ground in Russia, immediately signifying this Catherine’s intense love for a country that is not yet hers.
But, sooner than later, it will be.
The Great, which premiered on Hulu on May 15th, is a “true at times” retelling of Catherine the Great’s rise to power following her marriage to the Emperor Peter III of Russia.
Elle Fanning plays Catherine with grace and fierce intelligence that is rarely found in leading women on television. I love how Fanning has the ability to evoke so much expression with her eyes. I believed her character and emotion right away. She is an insanely talented actress.
Her meek facade cleverly hides a young woman who is wide-eyed, precocious, and self-aware. Fanning brilliantly captures the soul of a young woman who refuses to submit to her oppressive circumstances.
She navigates the 18th-century toxic court life, trying her best to put her intelligence to use in a time when the thoughts and feelings of women are not valued.
Her husband Peter, played by Nicholas Hoult is as dumb as Catherine is clever. Hoult’s role as the brash, foolish, and womanizing Emperor is both captivating and hilarious.
He is a terrible person that is charming. I found myself rooting for him. He’s just one of those characters that you hate to love.
Regardless of your feelings of Peter, he steals every scene with his natural comedic timing and effortless confidence, shouting, “Huzzah!” as he wreaks havoc everywhere he goes.
Fun Fact: Nicholas Hoult is from Mad Max. Isn’t that wild? He looks so different in his role as Nux (in Mad Max Fury Road) vs. Emperor Peter!
The brilliance of “The Great” lies not in its genius writing, nor its impeccable casting, stunning sets, or even its fabulous comedic style, but rather the way Catherine is determined, even from the first episode, to fit into a country that she has no reason to love.
Catherine embraces her imperfect marriage, joins her husband in bed with another woman, deals with the vapid women of the court, is gifted a bear, and begins an attempt to open a school for girls, all in the very first episode! And, it only gets better (and cruder) as you keep watching!
Catherine is a tour de force, inhabited by Elle Fanning in possibly the best role of her career. She carries the show, slowly transforming from an innocent girl to a young woman who will not let her foolish husband get in the way of her ideas to improve Russia.
The friendships and budding romances are exciting and peculiar to watch develop and, in some cases, dissolve.
I like the unexpected and funny names of each episode. One episode is even called, Moscow Mule.
I also really enjoyed how the show peppered in unexpected nods to famous characters, fashion trends, and cultural stereotypes from Russain history. Examples: Voltaire, wigs (on both women and men), rabbit hunting, Evan the Terrible, Moscow Mules, and Rene Descartes.
You can catch Season One of “The Great” on Hulu now! You won’t want to miss this truly original tv show. Caleb and I binge-watched it in just four days. When the final credits rolled, I said was, “Okay, back to episode one! Let’s watch it again! Huzzah!”
Quick Facts About “The Great”
- Released on Hulu on May 15, 2020
- Season 1 has 10 Episodes
- Each episode is 45-55 minutes
- It is rated MA. (It has significant scenes of alcohol consumption, some sex, crude humor, and a lot of profanity)