In which growing impatience with Churchill — who believes England needs stout and experienced leadership, while his opponents seek more vitality in a leader — is juxtaposed with that exact turnover happening in the monarchy. “Hyde Park Corner” is the code phrase for, “The King is dead. PLACES, EVERYONE, PLACES.” [If you missed it, this is the recap of the first episode; we’ll be aiming for two a week.]
We intentionally chose to recap this without watching ahead, so that we can judge each installment on its own merits. Knee-jerk reaction after two episodes: The central question to me is, did they call it The Crown because The Queen was taken, or did they always mean for it to be about the position rather than a deep dive into this particular woman? Because that affects the grounds on which to weigh The Crown. It’s possible it’s intended as a more distant look at navigating the position itself, which would explain why, so far, it feels less personal than I had hoped. The show looks beautiful, but the pacing really can be extremely languid, and they don’t always trade speed for insight. I am not convinced, for example, that we needed an episode and a half’s worth of scenes of King George VI coughing, and shooting, and coughing while shooting, and trembling, and gasping, and trembling and gasping. However, I’d take that if we’d gotten in return more moments that illuminated better his relationship with Elizabeth. And thus far, even though I know it’s early yet, Marg and the Queen Mum are buzzing about the periphery, marginalized and unsatisfactorily developed (I am not fond of this QM portrayal/characterization so far at ALL). And yes, there is a part of me that wishes that the first chunk of a miniseries about a record-setting female sovereign did not forego her character development in favor of two men, George and Churchill, but I also realize that was the reality of the era in which she ascended and they had to set the table. Of all the women, it’s the MOST all-in on Mary of Teck, weirdly.
In other words: It’s enjoyable, but I’m hoping as this moves along, it will add shades to the portrait.