Thursday, August 31, 2017

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 1, Episode 7 “Scientia Potentia Est” (B+)

To me, this is the hour where Elizabeth really becomes interesting. She’s played a much more background role in this show than I might have expected, partially because of Churchill’s gravitas and also just because there’s so much going on than others know how to do better than she does. A lot of what she’s pushed thus far has to do with what her husband wants and her desire to keep the peace in a marriage that she knows has to be unequal because she is the heir to the throne and will always occupy a position more respected than him in the eyes of her people. Insisting on Martin to be her private secretary was one of efficiency and practicality, since he was warmer and more attuned to her needs than the man rightfully in line for the job. Remembering her lack of education and wishing that she had learned more about the world was also a productive exercise directly applicable to her role, as she wanted to be able to engage Eisenhower in conversation about something interesting to him that she could speak about with some degree of authority. She was clearly relieved when his visit was cancelled, since it meant that this particular research project could be cancelled in favor of some other general knowledge inquiry in the near future. Churchill’s efforts to hide his strokes didn’t go over well, even if Eisenhower was game to come to England instead, and Elizabeth gave him a well-deserved admonishment, complete with the legal defense of what she was required to do with the information that he presented to her.

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