And so we reach the end of the first season, with the journey’s mile markers made abundantly clear: We started with a princess, green and barely married and still seen by many as a girl, and end with a woman alone on a pedestal underneath a crown that has usurped some of her personhood.
Margaret closes the Peter Townsend chapter of her life here in ways that appear to diverge from actual history, yielding a lot of the same scenes we already enjoyed in earlier episodes — good ones, but repeats nonetheless — for the purpose of underlining and highlighting and circling and starring and then tying a bell on the notion that Elizabeth the human and Elizabeth the Queen will often be in direct opposition to one another. And that The Crown — as Mary of Teck herself warned — will always win. That’s the symmetry of the first season: Episode two ends with that proclamation and a straight-on shot of Elizabeth unable to meet our theoretical gaze, grieving and trembling with nerves as Mary genuflects to her; the finale concludes with another direct look at her in which she this time meets our eyes, standing tall and with a steelier spine, snapping into character and leaving us wondering how immovable the mask will prove to be.
And, there’s no eye-banging. I guess we’ll have to hope, for their sakes, that things get EXTREMELY randy in season two after Philip returns from Australia. See you then.