Catherine the Great (2019) s01e04 Episode Script

Episode 4

GRIGORY POTEMKIN: The river trip was a great success.
She saw what I'd done in the Crimea and she wept in awe.
And did you tell her you were fucking half its population? Oh, believe nothing of what you hear about me.
- I only sleep with women I like.
Mind you, they are a very likeable bunch in the Crimea.
Oh, my God.
Yes, Countess Bruce, may I introduce my adjutant, Valerian Zubov, and his brother, Platon.
COUNTESS BRUCE: Where have they been keeping you? - Minsk.
I'd like you to meet the Empress.
Oh, story of my life.
A pleasure.
POTEMKIN: Your Majesty.
CATHERINE: Mm? May I introduce Platon Zubov.
CATHERINE: Your brother has done us good service.
Welcome to court.
It is a great honor to meet Your Majesty.
And what brings you here? Are you, um interested in politics? The situation in France? Do you find that disturbing? I'm afraid I have absolutely no understanding of politics, Your Majesty.
Well, thank God for that! [LAUGHS.]
Anyone who says they understand politics is an idiot.
The Turks have locked our ambassador to Istanbul in the Fort of the Seven Towers.
It is a curious way of declaring war.
It's the way they always do it, my friend.
I don't care how the fucking Turks declare war! I don't care if they dance around in a circle and wave their baggy trousers over their collective heads.
Do you wish me to organize a declaration of war, - Your Majesty? - I do indeed.
How do you want us to declare war, Your Majesty? In a very loud voice, - and ring some bells, now! - Yes, Your Majesty.
And you'd better recall Alexei Orlov to court.
POTEMKIN: Matushka, no! CATHERINE: You need help.
POTEMKIN: Matushka, please! FOOL: Why do people who declare war think they're going to win? Wouldn't they be better off not announcing who they're going to try and kill? Orlov? I need help from Orlov? Is that why you're recalling Orlov from court? You can't do this on your own; you're getting old.
- You're ill.
- Nonsense! I'm fine, huh? I'm perfectly fine.
CATHERINE: Why do you want to run this war anyway? I mean, what is it? - You love killing people? - Oh, come on! You know it's not that.
I And I never said that I wanted this war in the first place.
What is it then? Glory? I would like to remind you that you owe all of your advancement to me.
You owe all of your money, all of your palaces and all of your military power to me.
I own you.
Don't forget that.
Please, Matushka.
All I'm saying is that is that we don't need Orlov.
That is all I'm saying.
Jesus fucking Christ.
I don't like reminding you of your place, but sometimes I have to.
You know that.
I know that I've built a huge empire on my own.
I wanted you to see it, Matushka, because I did it for you.
For Russia.
Oh, I am loyal.
I am utterly loyal.
I know that.
But you do need help.
And what do you need? Probably a good fuck.
- PAUL: Order, arms! CATHERINE: What the hell are your German soldiers doing here? They are expressly forbidden to approach this palace.
You know that.
PAUL: I have come to offer my four battalions, Mother.
Over 1,000 men, for the war.
I want to do something.
Staying at home with your wife is the best thing you can do.
Russian soldiers may not have the shiniest boots in the world, but they have courage.
They have the desperate courage of the decent poor.
Something you will never understand, because you have had nothing but a life of privilege and false entitlement.
Now put your toy soldiers back in their box! Order them out of here now.
About face! Forward march! SERGEANT: Move out! Her Majesty has given me command of both the army and the navy.
My good friend, Count Rumiantsev, has been put in to share the command because Her Majesty thinks that I'm getting too big for my boots.
- No.
No, no, no, no.
She is right; [STRAINED.]
I'm getting much too big for my boots.
- Bring me bigger fucking boots! - [LAUGHTER.]
- What? This is the uniform I wore when I took the throne, many years ago.
The security of everyone in this room depends on my hanging on to it.
Now, I like peace.
But I do not dislike the great events of war.
Though as you know, this is Ochakov, the Turks' major fort on the Black Sea.
They say it can't be taken; I want you to disprove that notion.
POTEMKIN: Yeah, but Ah, Count Orlov.
I'm glad you could join us.
Welcome, Orlov.
I've offered my services to Her Majesty in this war.
Our navy served her well in the Black Sea.
Your Majesty, we will do our best.
Please, pass me my boots.
But we will do it slowly.
We did not enter this war to squander Russian lives easily.
No, you're going into it to cut short Turkish lives, as many of them as possible.
- We will take Ochakov.
We will.
But we need to lay siege to it.
That will take some time.
So, I'm more than happy for Count Orlov to serve under my command.
ALEXEI ORLOV: Under your command? You heard me.
You got a problem with that, if you can, there's the door.
Your Majesty, is he asking for my resignation? I think he is, if you won't serve under him.
And are you going to allow that to happen? He is the commander in chief.
But I'm sure you can do us great service.
ALEXEI: Your Majesty.
PLATON ZUBOV: I wanted to go to war with my brother and Prince Potemkin, but my brother said no.
He's always looked after me.
Almost too much.
My dream would be to serve under Prince Potemkin.
Oh, he can't have everything for himself.
Shouldn't he have charge of all of it? Army, navy Why not the civil service? They don't do anything, do they? You work too hard.
You don't want an old woman like me.
Don't say that.
How did you get on with your mother? I loved her.
But that has nothing to do - with - With what? With you.
I'm never conscious of your age.
You just are.
And you're always occupied, always at the center of things.
You're young.
You always will be.
End of story.
This is all completely new to me.
CATHERINE: You are so kind, Masha.
Thank you.
MARIA FEODOROVNA: He will love staying with you, I'm sure.
Won't you, Sashenka? ALEXANDER: Yes, of course I will.
I know how much he loves coming here, and I try to encourage him in that.
Hm? Because Because he has doubts about staying with me? No! No.
You know how children are.
They need their mothers.
Yes, of course.
Now get in.
Off you go.
So, um, how is Paul? Well, I hear that he's a little too interested in one of your maids of honor.
Katerina Nelidova.
Tell your husband to be very careful.
I like you, Maria.
But he he must show himself capable and worthy of ruling this country.
CATHERINE: Sashenka, wave goodbye to Mama.
ALEXANDER: Goodbye, Mother.
- Goodbye.
- CATHERINE: Let's go.
CATHERINE: So, Sashenka, my little prince I want you to sign a document for me.
ALEXANDER: What exactly was it that I signed, Granny? Well, it's a letter of intent.
Look, why don't you read that little bit to me? "I, Alexander, acknowledge my father is not fit to rule and that I will take the throne when the Empress Catherine dies.
" Good.
Now this is going to be our little secret, all right? You're not to tell anybody about this.
No, Granny.
We'll get him back, sooner or later.
No, she has stolen him.
While she honeys and makes love - over that nasty sty - She dotes on our son.
That is good for us, Paul.
PAUL: What are we going to do about her? You have to hold your nerve.
Never look as if it's getting to you.
The closer you are to her, the better for us.
She isn't getting any younger.
My mother is poisoning the boy against me.
ALEXEI: That is her general tactic in politics: divide and rule.
But I am generally concerned that she may be no longer quite capable of properly sustaining government.
And I am not being disloyal, Maria Feodorovna.
PAUL: He has genuine concern.
Mother is in thrall to Potemkin.
She's given him everything.
He's running Ochakov exactly how he wants to.
He's completely out of control.
He will destroy her.
Unless we destroy him.
ALEXEI: Oh, when we think we have it all, that's when we lose everything, Your Excellency.
I am not going to be made of no account.
I am not going to sit in the corner while my mother struts around the stage.
And all my mother listens to are flatterers.
Oh, yes, Your Excellency.
You're absolutely right.
Which is why I've asked young Zubov here today, sir.
I know how upsetting you find the arrival of these young men in your mother's life.
You think we can use this one, do you? How? To make a final break between her and Potemkin.
We don't have to do very much at all.
- Come up, Zubov.
We're just discussing Potemkin's campaign in the Crimea.
PLATON ZUBOV: Who are you writing to? Oh.
Prince Potemkin.
He won't do as he's told.
I always do what I'm told.
I know you do.
It's a very attractive quality.
But one not often found in generals, I fear.
I heard someone say that he Hm? That he what? I can't even remember who it was.
- It's not worth repeating.
- No, no.
What? Some people are saying he's lost his nerve.
He's frightened to attack Ochakov.
It's because all he thinks about is power and money.
And girls.
And he wants my job.
Do they say that? They said all sorts of dreadful things.
And I wanted to say, "How dare you?" You know? "How dare you? What have you done?" But I didn't.
Because I really am a very unimportant person.
You are not unimportant to me.
SOLDIER: Quickly! Get them down on the ground.
ALEXANDER SUVOROV: So, when do we go in? Not yet.
We wait.
And bore them into surrendering? Is that the idea? I don't like losing men, General.
I know you're a compassionate man and I respect your desire not to waste lives, but Ochakov is not Troy.
We do not have ten years.
The fact is, she's had enough; she expects you to attack.
Did she tell you to say that to me? She's got something to say she can say it herself.
She a general? - Who's in charge here? - She is! Chain of command.
Obey orders, kill the bastard.
- We wait! Okay? We wait! - It's perfectly simple.
We starve them into surrender.
What's the matter, my old friend? We wait.
Okay? Show them out.
WOMAN: Come this way, please.
After you, sir.
Because he has such lovely black hair, we girls call him "Blackie.
" Colonel Zubov is a very handsome young man.
At one point in my life, I thought I was going to be handsome.
But it turned out not to be the case.
What's he like, this Zubov? People say he's nice, but some people say he's a scheming little bastard, don't they? Have you formulated a view? Madam, I'm in the civil service.
- Give me time.
- Oh.
I say he's a scheming little bastard and will ruin us all.
I am a great admirer of Potemkin.
I H He is away, risking his life for all of us.
I don't want Blackie to wreck things between Madam and Potemkin because CATHERINE: Because? You really love each other.
You are the most beautiful couple.
Really, I have never seen love like it, Your Majesty.
Blackie, this is the Countess Bruce.
She's just leaving.
POTEMKIN: More letters from her, all urging me to attack.
Well, seen as no one gives a fuck whether we live or die, let's attack.
God help us.
Gentlemen, let's attack! We attack now! In line.
Now or never.
Move! For Russia! We go for the Stamboul Gate.
Gentlemen, there will be no retreat.
The guns will breach the wall, and we shall take the town.
SUVOROV: The town is taken.
Ochakov is ours! [CHILD CRYING.]
: Please, I beg you! [CHILD CONTINUES CRYING.]
We need to get Your Majesty out here.
Catherine! Catherine, Your Majesty! [CROWD CHEERING.]
SPEAKER: Silence for Your Empress.
CATHERINE: Russia is no longer crawling to Europe.
We are a great nation, and the world has been forced to recognize that fact! [HUGE CHEERS.]
We have an empire now, a Russian empire free from Europe.
And we fight like no one else! - [CHEERING.]
- SPEAKER: Silence for your Empress.
CATHERINE: Russia has taken her place among the great nations, and it is a position we will never give up! [HUGE CHEERS.]
Potemkin! Potemkin! Potemkin! CROWD: [CHANTING.]
Potemkin! Potemkin! Potemkin! [CHANTING CONTINUES.]
PLATON: I can't tell you what a privilege it is to be here with you, Prince Potemkin.
Well, it's certainly a lot safer than Ochakov.
- Uh, just.
The German and the English ambassadors have requested an audience with the council.
We must assume it is serious.
Bring them in.
Oh, any language but German.
we apologize for interrupting the business of the council, but we have a very serious announcement to make.
Unless the Russian government return the fortress of Ochakov to the Turks, both England and Germany will declare war on you.
I think we should discuss this in the other room, privately.
- Do you indeed? - [POTEMKIN COUGHING.]
If you think for one moment I will go crawling to Germany - then you - With respect, Your Majesty, maybe that we what Prince Potemkin is trying to say we must have a response by tomorrow morning.
- And you will have one - No.
when we have taken the time - to consider our response.
- No, I will not be dictated That is all.
CATHERINE: You do not presume to speak over my head - to a foreign ambassador - European powers have made it - abundantly clear they will not - in the presence of the council! Tolerate our position on the Crimean Peninsula.
- Might I remind you - Well, Constantinople; - we must give them something.
- I supply you with millions of rubles to finance not only your women, - but your armies - [SHOUTS.]
Might I remind you I waded through blood for you! You wanted to swallow the Ukraine, Crimea, cross the Black Sea, Constantinople, and I did it! You wanted that too.
I did it, but I don't discuss it in front of the council, with a bunch of foreigners, with a two-faced little pissant boy! - He's not two-faced - He is so! If that's what you thought of him, why didn't you say so in the first place? They laugh at you! [LAUGHS MOCKINGLY.]
- How dare you! - I dare! [POTEMKIN COUGHING.]
You're ill.
Yes, I'm fucking ill.
Well, why? Why are you being like this? [COUGHING INTENSIFIES.]
POTEMKIN: Oh, God damn it.
There's a disease down there.
Matushka, a disease.
I spend most of my nights coughing my guts up surrounded by men and women and and children Children I slaughter for you like cattle.
Why are we both like this? Yes, I've got no idea either.
I've got no idea.
Please, come on.
Come on.
We wanted power and glory.
We have it, and look what it's done to us.
This is just an old, old story.
FOOTMAN: Your Majesty.
POTEMKIN: Some fucking privacy, please! You remember this? I do.
Of course.
I'm gonna give a big dinner for you tomorrow evening.
A farewell before you go back south.
POTEMKIN: Yes, back down south, to build more cities and kill more people.
Hmm? Why? For whom? Oh, for me, I suppose.
I am the state, Grishenka.
I have no life of my own left.
I'm going to give you another palace.
Yes, well, that's what you do for all your old lovers when you've finished with them.
You know I could never let you go.
We're committed to each other, you know that.
Do I really? I see the way you look at me since I've been back.
You're tired of my victories, you think I'm a threat, you think that Well, you think that I want the throne.
Do you imagine for one moment I would give it up to you, the way we forced my husband to give it up to me? You are hard, Matushka, you are so hard.
It's just [GROANS.]
It's not the state, it's just you.
It's You love nobody but yourself.
Yeah, well That's humanity for you.
The fuck is the matter with you? I mean, why can't you just let somebody in? Why can't you trust somebody? Because it's never been safe for me to do that.
How could you think for one second that I would turn my armies against you? You will have to make nice with the Germans.
Sometimes you just have to make a deal.
Have you forgotten? - Your actions have consequences.
I will not go crawling to the Germans.
Yes, you will because you have to.
My mother was a German.
She was a horrible, greedy, selfish bitch.
- Come here.
Come on.
Oh, I will do as you suggest.
- Of course.
Because I am always right.
- As am I.
- Hmm.
I will make nice with the Germans and you will go south and make peace with the Turks.
Life's a compromise.
I know.
And you were right.
I expect the Countess Bruce has told you.
Zubov is a two-faced little bastard.
We're gonna have to get rid of him.
Well, people think I'm stupid in that direction - but I'm I'm not stupid.
- I know.
I will.
I'll I'll get rid of him.
Not until I've had the best out of him.
- You wicked - Hmm.
- selfish - Hmm.
- unregenerate - Hmm.
- corrupt - [GIGGLES.]
- highly sexed old witch! - [LAUGHS.]
No, no, no.
I'm not I'm not corrupt.
- I undo that.
I take that back.
I mean, how can you talk to your empress like that? Well, it seems to come very easily to me.
At the party tomorrow night, I want you to kneel before me, and tell everyone there that you worship me, totally, and that you are utterly and completely loyal to me.
FOOL: When they get older and wiser, sometimes husband and wife need separate bedrooms, my old friend.
Oh, Sashenka, you're back.
So, my dear, did you have a lovely time with Mama? - Yes.
- Good.
- I, uh, wondered - Yes? I wondered whether I might take him with me? Take him home? [SCOFFS.]
Maria, he is the future emperor of Russia.
His place is here with me; you know that.
Anyway, he has everything he needs here, don't you, Sashenka? Yes, Granny.
He was saying you got him to sign something? Oh, was he? MARIA: He's clearly very young.
Whatever it was, do you think he understood it? It was about the succession.
You know that.
Or you suspect it.
Do you really think we should be having this discussion - in front of the boy? - Oh, he knows who his father is.
As do you.
Do you seriously think that Paul is capable of governing this country? I think he is my husband and I am loyal to him.
Very good.
Well, if you ever change your mind, perhaps you may write something to the effect that you think your son should succeed instead of his father.
Do you really imagine I would do that? [SCOFFS.]
What must you think of me? - Goodbye, my darling.
- ALEXANDER: Goodbye, Mommy.
MARIA: Goodbye.
Where is he? You were going to bring him home.
What happened to getting close to her? She's made him sign something.
It's about the succession.
What is it? What does it say? He would succeed.
Instead of you.
Darling, it's all right.
It doesn't No, no.
It doesn't mean anything.
- It means nothing.
She tried to get me on her side, to write something; something that would allow Sasha to take the throne - instead of you.
- And? I'm loyal to you.
I said I'd do nothing of the kind.
Wives betray their husbands.
Children betray their parents.
There is no loyalty.
There isn't any.
I am loyal to you.
- You know I am.
Paul, I am loyal to you! And I hope you remain loyal to me.
I just thought you'd bring him home.
CATHERINE: The British and German ultimatum has been withdrawn.
Seems everyone is suddenly more frightened of France - than of Russia.
There is no longer any danger of war on two or three fronts.
Seems Prince Potemkin may have been a little hasty apologizing to the Germans for winning the war, Your Majesty.
You may have noticed, Alexei, that the common people in France are demanding control over taxation.
We will be at war with them next.
And, as always, we need as many friends as we can get.
Prince Potemkin is a very skilled negotiator.
POTEMKIN: Good boy.
Sir? Are you all right, sir? [POTEMKIN GROANS.]
No I'm not.
I can't breathe.
Help me up.
I must write to her.
Yes, sir.
This is for her eyes only, you understand? And no one else.
I'll make sure my brother doesn't see it, sir.
You're a good man.
You've done good service.
Well, what is it? I can tell from your face it's bad news.
It's, um What? Just say it.
Give me the letter.
Tell me the worst.
He's dead, Your Majesty.
Who's dead? Potemkin.
Potemkin? Potemkin's dead? BEZBORODKO: Your Majesty uh, this letter is for your eyes only.
- Your Majesty! [SOBBING SOFTLY.]
POTEMKIN: My darling Matushka.
What I want to say is this: In going where you have to go and doing what you have to do, you wear away at love.
Even a love like ours.
Borne out of reason, and laughter, and happiness, and great ambition.
But I do not regret all the things we have achieved together.
Not for a moment.
And I would rather have had our love used and out in the world than kept in some drawer with anniversaries and the dried roses and the good opinion of moralists.
I love you as I ever did.
And one day the world will know of it.
Be as true to me as I was to you, Matushka.
It gives you a lot of scope.
The Turkish War is over.
We are at peace.
- PLATON: together, - with the rest of Europe - What is it? to fight the wicked revolution in France.
Since King Louis XVI and his queen, Marie Antoinette, were arrested after attempting to flee to Varennes last year, our armies are in readiness to fight revolution wherever we find it.
Can you believe this prick? How can she stay with him? I know he's my brother, but she's lost it since Potemkin died.
We'd better get on with what happens after she dies.
She will decide what happens after she dies.
And none of us can do anything about it.
And how will she manage that? Will she still be dictating even when the soil is in her mouth? - [DOOR OPENS.]
- Has anyone seen this? Has anyone seen this filth? Why are people allowed to write these things? - ALEXEI: Your Majesty - Don't "Majesty" me.
This is treason.
People are writing and printing sheer treason.
We have peace abroad, but enemies at home.
If I have made wars, it is for the sake of the country I love.
But the author of this work presumes to call me a murderer and a tyrant on these grounds alone.
"The Empress has become the greatest murderer in the Commonwealth.
She is the greatest robber and the greatest traitor and a most savage enemy of the weak, and the poor and the enslaved.
I have ordered the arrest and trial of the creature who wrote this book.
If he is found guilty, he will be executed.
Be warned: I am your empress, and I hold tight to the reins of power.
Do not imagine that the death of our first minister and dearest friend, Prince Potemkin, has weakened my resolve.
Your Empress has spoken.
CATHERINE: I'm not a cripple.
You don't need to carry me you know.
I'm sorry, Matushka.
Platon is very, very sorry he upset Matushka.
CATHERINE: And you don't need to call me by that name.
That's what he used to call me.
Matushka, Matushka, Matushka.
You can call me a woman.
Any woman, the way the peasants do.
I own peasants, thousands of them.
They work and they drink, and we whip them senseless if they dare to answer back.
Do you think that's right? Do you, Mon petit noiraud? Don't answer that.
Tu n'es pas qualifié pour répondre.
Oh, my grandson, he's such a sweet boy.
Oh, but his father.
Oh, God, his father! - Are you all right? - [CATHERINE YAWNS.]
CATHERINE: Mm? - I'm worried about you.
- Mm, I get these headaches.
Oh, such headaches you wouldn't believe.
- Where are we going? To an orgy, of course.
A witches' sabbat.
I'm gonna fly you around on my broomstick.
There are those who are sure that I am a fucking witch.
Well, I read Latin, I like to screw young men; witch, clearly.
Foul-mouthed old woman.
Not nice.
Not nice.
Her Majesty has decided to have all French books burned.
She seems to think they bear some responsibility for causing the French Revolution! Reading creates a prejudice.
"Religion began when the first scoundrel met the first fool.
PLATON: Rousseau! He was a disgusting little man.
Ah! "Man is born free, but everywhere he is in chains.
" What's that supposed to mean? It means It meant Burn them.
Burn Bu Burn them all.
Burn all those Frenchmen and their endless questions.
What are you doing here? Reading.
CATHERINE: You'd better be careful what you read.
You used to like Voltaire.
When I was young and foolish.
He made you laugh.
I don't deny it.
You were so full of hope.
And charity.
Supported the arts and science.
You showed the world what women can achieve.
I did what I did.
When I was young, I dreamed of freedom.
As people do when they are young.
I dreamed of breaking chains.
But as you get older, your choices narrow.
So what did I do instead? I gave us an empire.
Which is something.
And you loved the greatest man of the age.
Oh, I loved him.
I enjoyed it all, every single second.
Life takes everything from you, piece, by piece, by piece.
It does, doesn't it? But I knew exactly what I was doing.
And I wouldn't have had any of it any other way.
CATHERINE: They executed Louis.
What is this world? I I don't I don't recognize it anymore.
I recognize you.
In the end, there is only flesh.
Oh, my head.
In here.
Yes, it's safe.
Yes, he won't find that.
Are you all right, Matushka? POTEMKIN: My darling Matushka.
The only man I The only man I ever loved.
My Grishenka.
You were the one.
PLATON: Matushka? Matushka! - Help! Please help! - [CATHERINE BREATHING WEAKLY.]
PAUL: Where are her private papers? Where are they? [CATHERINE MOANING SOFTLY.]
Get out.
- PLATON: She's still alive.
- Get out! Out! CATHERINE: I leave my throne to my grandson, Alexander, who witnesses this document with his signature.
Is this what she made you sign? Is it? [CATHERINE GASPING.]
- What? - She is dead.
Your Majesty.
PAUL: Careful.
Today, we bury again the body of my father.
He will lie next to his wife, my mother, Catherine, in the Kazan cathedral.
I am proud to be the son of Peter III, and take this opportunity to tell you that from this day, we will enact legislation to ensure that no woman ever again rules Russia.
You will place the crown on my father's coffin, as we bear the two of them to their shared grave.
My mother took the crown from my father.
It was never hers by right.
And now it is mine.
And after me, it will go to my sons.
And in time, their sons.
Make sure that you erase all trace of that man, Potemkin.
He is buried in the Ukraine.
Wipe out the grave and every palace she gave him.
He is not to be spoken of.
Yes, Your Majesty.
Who was he? Mm? Nothing.
I even heard ignorant people say that he and my mother were married.
Since history is written By crooks and fools Hey ho, the blizzard and the ice And made by bastards who break the rules Hey ho, but love is very nice And marriages were not made to last - Hey ho - The Father, the Son, - and the Holy Spirit.
- The forest and the bear If no one knows we are married but we two, is it still real? [CHUCKLES.]
It is the truth, Matushka.
Soon we'll find out.
Love will always be a private matter.
And all the sweeter for it.
We chose each other, Grishenka.
Although we had no choice in the matter.
And so, we stay ourselves even now we are one forever.
FOOL: Love is what's left of us after everything else is gone.
Poets would like us to believe that.
But what do they know?