Wednesday, 12 April 2017

The Crown: Season 1, Episode 8- Pride & Joy

"The banger is falling apart!"

This episode was, perhaps, inevitable given the way this series is structured; a long and demanding Commonwealth tour between Liz and Phil serves as a nice contrast with her less dutiful sister Margaret, who duly makes a hash of standing in for Elizabeth during her absence. Just as interesting, though, are the deepening cracks appearing between Elizabeth and a husband who sees the farcical side of using pomp and circumstance to hide the fact that the once-mighty British Empire is slowly dying with a whimper.

We also get a nice bit of character development for the Queen Mother, too, as she disappears away to the Highlands to get away from it all, be anonymous and endear herself to us viewers in a way she hasn't so far.

This is, I think, presented as a pivotal moment for Elizabeth as Queen as she literally follows Churchill's advice to "never let the cameras see the real Elizabeth Windsor". Just as symbolic, I think, is how she charmingly intimidates a group of photographers into destroying the evidence of her row with a somewhat mardy Phil. The tour is deeply punishing, as shown by some nice directorial tricks, but Elizabeth endures it all for duty.

The ending, where the Queen bollocks Margaret and they proceed to get philosophical, is perhaps a microcosm of the whole show; it's well-made, well-acted and watchable, but it is lacking in the profundity that would make it truly great, and I suspect that is in no small part down to the subject matter.

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