This article contains major spoilers for The Great season 3The Great star Elle Fanning defends that shocking season 3 death, explaining why it had to happen. Returning to Hulu recently with 10 episodes, the Hulu series distinguished its third installment in a major way, but in its signature bewildering style. Halfway through The Great season 3, in episode 6, Peter (Nicholas Hoult) dies after saying goodbye to Catherine (Fanning). The show’s co-lead falls into an icy lake, on horseback, and dies right away. The moment serves as a sizable shock to the audience and to Catherine herself, who can’t believe what she’s seeing.
In an interview with TVLine, Fanning spoke about the fact that Peter is no longer among The Great‘s cast of characters. The Emmy nominee is thoughtful in her response to Peter’s shocking and sudden demise, explaining why the move was necessary for her character’s growth and the next step in Catherine’s evolution. Read her quote below:
“I think it’s the most important relationship in her life, and that will always be there. But I do think that for her to step into her power and truly be the leader that she feels in her heart is her destiny, Peter has to not be there. In some ways, they were both holding each other back. As sad as it is, it had to happen, and I think she is almost reborn in that last scene. It’s a new Catherine, but also a Catherine with weight and history.
“I think in the first season, she’s a girl that doesn’t look like she really has a past. She hasn’t experienced much life yet. At the end of Season 3, she’s seen so much and lost so much and experienced that pain. You have to experience those things to be able to relate to your court and your people and have empathy in a different way. I’m hoping that she’ll step into that leader we want her to be because she hasn’t quite gotten there yet.”
What’s Next For The Great?
The Great season 4 has yet to be renewed, though Peter’s death has already impacted the show’s future. It’s not just that he perishes, which could have been predicted. It’s how The Great treats his demise. He’s killed off in the middle of episode 6, not in the beginning to set the tone, or the end to serve as a cliffhanger. The story continues without him almost immediately, serving as something of a mission statement for where the Hulu hit could go next.
By the end of The Great season 3, Catherine has completed a journey when it comes to Peter’s death. Catherine grieves him, almost losing her title because of it. By the finale, she’s able to gain control of her court. If the series returns with more episodes, as Fanning says, it’s likely that The Great will devote a lot of its focus to showing the leader that Catherine can be after suffering a staggeringly abrupt loss.
Hoult had a second role in The Great since season 2, playing Peter lookalike Pugachev, though the character dies by decapitation in the season 3 finale. All the pieces are in place for Catherine to go back to her original goal of changing Russia for the better, which will be another interesting thread to unravel depending on whether Hulu moves forward with a renewal.
This story originally appeared on Screenrant