Monday, March 5, 2018

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 2, Episode 8 “Dear Mrs. Kennedy” (B+)

A friend I was having dinner with last week said that she always watches this show and then Googles furiously afterward to read up on what actually happened in history. A full analysis of this fascinating episode can be found here. Regardless of what’s true, this hour proved immensely interesting, with Elizabeth once again coming face-to-face with someone she spent hours watching on television and prepared a great deal to meet, with considerable pressure from those around her. The clarification that Elizabeth was senior in rank, not in age (though she was three years older), was an important one, and Philip’s request to sit next to Jackie was more than a bit transparent. After all the protocols were hilariously messed up, Elizabeth got to put Philip in his place by denying him the opportunity to give Jackie a tour of the palace and doing it herself, giving them some crucial alone time. The subsequent comments she heard that Jackie had made seemed to really eat at her, and she was expectedly cold when Jackie returned to apologize to her, presenting a much darker view of her marriage with JFK and her life in the spotlight than Elizabeth was ready for, especially since Elizabeth’s own marriage is far from perfect but also seemingly much more stable. I would never have thought to cast Michael C. Hall from “Dexter” as JFK though I suppose he did nail the accent, and though it’s difficult to picture anyone but Natalie Portman as Jackie right now, Jodi Balfour was very good. Elizabeth opting to observe mourning procedures typically reserved for royal family members for JFK was a powerful ending to the episode, though I’d posit that her most influential move of the episode was to dance with President Nkrumah.

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