Sunday, December 20, 2020

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 4, Episode 5 “Fagan” (B+)

I’m truly impressed with how storylines for this show’s episodes are selected. This installment reminded me most of the one about the fog since it pinpoints a peculiar moment from Queen Elizabeth’s history that shouldn’t necessarily have stood out as much as it did but somehow did remain memorable. The fact that a man was able to penetrate the palace without anyone noticing – twice – and walk into the queen’s bedroom to have a conversation with her is incredible, and she, unlike the prime minister or her husband, was willing to hear him out. Starting with a news report about the unlikely interaction and then flashing back to reveal that events in Michael Fagan’s life that pushed him to feel like an audience with the queen was his only option was an effective way of framing this episode, which ended with a coda about his having served three months in a mental hospital before being released. Elizabeth seemed taken aback by Margaret’s dismissal of the concerns he had voiced and her readiness to attend a victory party when the issues he brought up remained very real and unresolved. Comparing the medicine she was suggesting to chemotherapy in that it could in fact kill the very people it was meant to cure was a powerful analogy. Though Philip mostly agreed with Margaret, he presented his perspective in a mildly gentler way, and it was Elizabeth who got to make a joke for once that he should be grateful that he hadn’t entered Philip’s bedroom instead of hers.

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