This episode uses a surprisingly little-known but devastating weather event, The Great Smog of 1952, to underscore the contrast inherent in Elizabeth simultaneously being told that a) she’s God’s chosen authority and footsoldier, a beacon to her people and their protector to boot; and b) she has no real power to DO anything for those people. Ruling doesn’t mean governing — not for her — and the monarch is largely symbolic and impotent, which is complicated when you’re pretty sure everyone else is cocking up the works.
I remember back when The Day After Tomorrow came out — the action movie where the enemy is climate change, basically — and my friends and I sarcastically called it Help! It’s The Weather! That’s basically Winston Churchill’s attitude toward the Big Bad in this hour. The Smog was a tragic four or five days of thickly polluted air that the government woefully underestimated, and then under-reported when tallying the death toll at under 4,000. That guess was in later years increased to 12,000, with exponentially more suffering lingering lung effects; on its 60th anniversary, the Daily Mail (I KNOW) did a look back at it that’s quite informative, with lots of photos. The Crown seems to have beefed up the surrounding political infighting as a way of giving Queen Elizabeth her first private diplomatic challenge: get involved, or stay unbiased. The footage will make you want to go outside and take a deep breath, and I say that as someone who lives in LA, a city not unfamiliar with smoggy ickyness.
Buttocks count: 0. Eye bangs: 1.