Tuesday, March 13, 2018

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 2, Episode 9 “Paterfamilias” (B+)

I’ve argued in the past that Elizabeth is the most worthwhile wearer of the crown to be the focus of this show, but then an episode like this comes along which barely features her and instead shows just how heavy it really can be for those whose lives are also lived in a spotlight. Elizabeth was taking an interest in her son and where he should go to school, while Philip was much more concerned with continuing his own legacy, something whose importance became much clearer as we got the whole story. It’s jarring to see a young Philip surrounded at home by Nazi uniforms and flags, and for those to be present at the funeral for his sister and her entire family, who were killed in a horrific plane crash en route to visit him. That was portrayed in an incredibly devastating, traumatizing way, and for Philip to then subject Charles to a turbulence-filled plane ride of his own was intense in a very controlling and manipulative way. Philip almost managed to salvage the misery of having to preside over an award to a winning team that his son wasn’t on by acknowledging Charles’ lack of physical aptitude as perfectly acceptable, but then he went and yelled at him while calling him weak, supporting Elizabeth’s argument that this really wasn’t the right place for Charles. It may have straightened Philip out and motivated him to build a fence and earn the respect of his classmates, but that’s not what it did for Charles, and Philip is more obsessed with getting his say in the marriage than actually thinking about what’s best for his child.