War & Peace Episode 3 Recap: #TsaryNotTsary

Photo: BBC/Laurie Sparham.
Early on in this episode, Prince Bolkonsky makes a comment denouncing "the stupidity of women." It's cruel and crass and designed to tear down his daughter Marya's confidence. It's a loathsome statement. That said...how freaking foolish was Natasha last night?

We last saw Natasha getting secretly engaged to the dashing Andrei Bolkonsky and agreeing to wait a year to make things official. Fast-forward to Natasha pouting, wringing her hands, and crying that the lovers' distance is tearing her up inside. Taking it upon herself to visit her future in-laws only worsens the matter, as Marya appears cold and Prince Bolkonsky belligerent and barely dressed. Natasha's so distraught that she tries to turn down an invite to the opera with her father. Oh, if only she'd been able to beg off.

But no, Natasha ends up at the opera house, where Helene wastes no time circling in on her like a shark while her brother Anatole undresses Natasha with his beady eyes. Imagine Regina George having a less-wooden Kylo Ren for a brother, both with the intention of manipulating poor, attention-starved Natasha. Girl doesn't stand a chance.

Never mind that she's pledged her love to Andrei. After a few modest rebuffs, Natasha finally falls hook, line, and sinker for that slithery Anatole. They kiss, exchange lusty letters, and pledge to run off together. When Sonya — who is looking more and more like Anna Kendrick each episode — learns of Natasha's plan to throw Andrei over for Anatole (no! no! no!), she lashes out and tattles. The Count and Countess are thus able to thwart Anatole and his pal Dolokhov's attempt to make off with their lovesick maiden. Just as well, as it turns out loverboy is already married to some Polish woman.

Natasha's flirtation with a torrid affair is apparently enough to brand her a "fallen woman." Pierre catches wind of her entanglement and wastes no time in threatening to have his brother-in-law's head if he doesn't flee. He then confirms news of Anatole's marital status to Natasha, who has now taken to wearing mourning black. She's full of remorse, and Pierre is in full Duckie mode. Pierre looks tempted to whisk her off, but settles for a kiss on the cheek instead. Nobody has been this friend-zoned since Snape.

Photo: BBC/Laurie Sparham.
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It's now the summer of 1812. Boris, who has succeeded in joining the Freemasons — oh, the pained look in Pierre's eyes! — and is pairing up with the wealthy heiress Julie Karagina, is sent to deliver a message to Napoleon warning him to get his soldiers off Russian soil. Napoleon, of course, has a real Napoleon complex.
"I'm going to take your country but it's alright, it's not your fault," the French general tells Boris, all the while tugging his ears.
And so it's back to war. Andrei, still reeling from being unceremoniously dumped, visits his family and finally stands up to the prince about his callous treatment of Marya. In return, he's screamed at, and Marya of course gets the blame. Lady Edith's got nothing on this girl.

It's not a good time for the Bolkonskys. Troops are storming their village, the prince decides to suit up but only manages to fall off his horse and sustain a head injury, and it's up to Marya to get the family to safety. The prince succumbs to his injury, but manages to eke out a kind word to his harassed daughter before dying. "I prayed for his death, and all the while he loved me," she responds, pathetically. She manages to find her resolve in time to accuse her protesting peasants of sexism, aided in her efforts by none other than Nikolai. He escorts her home to Moscow, and when they happen to cross paths later in the episode, it's clear that Anna Kendrick is screwed. Those Rostovs are so fickle.

Pierre, meanwhile, is starring in 500 Days of Natasha. He's clearly falling in love with his friend, and it's crushing him. He tells her he has to stop visiting, though she's not sure why. His home life is just as dismal. Rumor has it that Helene is pregnant with her lover's child. Sure enough, we see her in bed with a Russian gent and plotting to have her marriage to Pierre annulled even though they have done the dirty dirty.

It hardly matters; Pierre's not around anyway. He's decided to see what war is like. Instead of enlisting, he's opted to simply wander over to the battlefield on his horse like he's Barbara Bush at the Super Dome. A run-in with Dolokhov fetches an unexpected apology, while Andrei looks irritated by his sudden presence. The Battle of Borodino is going to be bloody, and Pierre is in the way.

Will the Count be down for the count? Will he finally get to go to prom with Natasha? How many horns do you suppose Helene's baby will have?

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