As I noted to a Fug National on our Facebook page (you should like us!), I sat down to this thinking, how the dickens are they going to jam like 800 pages of plot into 86 minutes? The answer: fast and furiously, and with way more war shoved in here than in previous installments. (Also, shout-out to whoever edited the PREVIOUSLY ON WAR & PEACE, for including a line of Natasha’s Dad grousing, “we’re at war!…AGAIN.” I laughed.)
Er, lots of spoilers to follow, obviously:
ANATOLE: Remember how Andrei decided he was gonna have to murder Anatole to make up for how Anatole tried to seduce his lady? Well, Napoleon takes care of this for him, because Andrei and Anatole end up on pallets next to each other in the battlefield hospital tent because Andrei decided to let a bomb explode on him (because of his OVERWHELMING SADS) and Anatole had his leg sawed off without benefit of anesthesia. Andrei is like, “eh, close enough” and, ergo, they make up. (Also, Andrei is having a spiritual awakening about the universe, which makes him more generous of spirit.)
ANDREI: Intentionally gets himself exploded, and winds up billeted with Natasha’s family as he slowly, elegantly, beautifully dies. Before he does, they both beg forgiveness of one another for all their various missteps in the Question of the Anatole Affair, and it’s quite romantic and sad.
MOSCOW (the city): Has some real BIG problems; rebounds pretty well, considering.
NAPOLEON: Gets to monologue, like, a lot. Feels thwarted by Russian weather. Massages no ears.
PIERRE: Witnesses the horrors of war; decides he need to assassinate Napoleon, but doesn’t get around to it; saves a child from a burning building; has a variety of issues with the French army, including nearly getting executed by a firing squad; hangs out in a prison for a while where he learns Stuff About Life from a Wise Fellow Prisoner; is very cold as a prisoner of war being moved around in snow, and finally is excitingly rescued by Dolokhov and Denisov; has an emotional reunion with a potato; eventually gets to marry Natasha, and have many many babies, which is ABSOLUTELY for the best for both of them.
NATASHA: Kindly opens the Rostov house to wounded soldiers, tries to talk her hoarder mother into leaving some of ALL OF THEIR STUFF behind; is devastated by Andrei’s loss; her dad AND her little brother die (the latter quite bravely; the former, I did not recognize in his casket without his usual funky hat); and, finally, she rebounds nicely with Pierre, who will be extremely kind to her for the rest of their lives.
HELENE: Is, of course, punished for her carnal sins. She tries to reach Pierre so that he can lie and say they never consummated her marriage, so she can marry the father of her unborn child. He, of course, is out of pocket due to…the above. She is thus SHUNNED BY POLITE SOCIETY, after which she tries to induce a miscarriage, and then of course she dies after taking the drugs. I have NO IDEA if her brother/lover Anatole also dies, or if he’s wandering around Russia with one leg now, or what.
NIKOLAI: Is writing to Sonya to break up with her so he can marry Marya (whom he loves AND who is CONVENIENTLY rich, although he has some moments of Stubborn Masculine Pride about this) when Sonya writes to HIM to tell him to do just that so that he can save his ruined family. (She passive-aggressively notes that she’ll love him forever, but ALSO tells him she never really thought they’d get married anyway, and notes that she’s “used to” being self-sacrificing. Poor Sonya.) He also gets a very happy ending.
SONYA: GETS NOTHING but I guess isn’t turned out into the street?