Saturday, November 19, 2022

What I’m Watching: The Crown

The Crown: Season 5, Episode 2 “The System” (B+)

I’ve been a fan of Jonathan Pryce’s for a while, and it was great to see him earn his first Oscar nomination for “The Two Popes.” He was absolutely Emmy-worthy in his role as the High Sparrow, and I often think back to one of his earliest film roles, in 1985’s “Brazil.” He does a great job of taking over from Matt Smith and Tobias Menzies in portraying Prince Philip, who was intent on having his interview questions and answers framed the right way as he talked about his affinity for horse racing. I appreciated that this episode was focused so heavily on his relationship with Penelope, played by Natascha McElhone, an actress I didn’t even realize was British for a while because of the indiscernible American accent she often did in projects like “The Truman Show” and “Californication.” There was a warmth to their relationship that then transitioned powerfully into Philip summoning Diana and reminding her that she could break as many rules as she wanted provided she was loyal in public. Chronicling her conversations with Andrew was done in a timeless way, and while it seemed like the disaster to impact it all would be James getting hit by a car while biking, Andrew having his place ransacked felt more chilling. It’s fun recognizing actors on this show in smaller roles, like Oliver Chris, a dependable member of the cast of “Trying,” who played Andrew in this hour. Escalating into all-out war certainly doesn’t sound like a good thing, but we know that’s what’s coming.

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