Saturday, December 26, 2020

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 4, Episode 7 “The Hereditary Principle” (B+)

I had been wondering when we might see Princess Margaret again since she’s really taken a backseat for most of this season, though I suppose she was only front-and-center in a few different hours in season three. This spotlight gave her almost the entirety of the episode’s focus, as she grappled with who she was and what it meant to be considered an undesirable outcast from the family. She and Elizabeth have a decent rapport that’s warmer than the relationship the queen has with some other people, but it still isn’t enough to make Margaret feel anything less than second-class. Being told about a procedural request that made her feel even less symbolically important didn’t help anything, and was yet another reminder that her feelings had to come after duty and the crown. I previously enjoyed Helena Bonham Carter’s wit in this role, and therefore it was great to hear her admonish her poor therapist for calling her common. I recognized Tom Burke from “The Souvenir” and “Mank” as Dazzle, who got Margaret mad at him when he became a priest but then proved to be very helpful in enlightening her about the family members deemed unfit for public display. This show really does do an extraordinary job of portraying the gravity of regal expectations and capturing the humanity that sometimes emerges when procedure and tradition just don’t feel right. Margaret’s scenes with her mother, another character we rarely get to see featured prominently on her own, were also strong.

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