A recurring theme for the first three seasons of NetflixEmmy Winner Program, “The crown,” is the familiar old saying that history repeats itself. And despite knowing their past misfortunes, the British royal family continues to spectacularly fail to avoid public embarrassment. If you are looking for a recent example all you have to do is see how they dealt with the racist treatment of Meghan Markle. Indeed, even before she became sovereign at the age of 25, Queen Elizabeth the second (currently represented by Olivia Colman) and her husband, Prince Philip (Tobias Menzies), had seen these cycles repeat itself over and over again. The fourth season of the Peter Morgan The Shepherd series begins to record what is perhaps the family’s greatest tragedy, the Lady’s relationship Diana Spencer (Emma Corrin) and Prince Charles (Josh O’Connor). The surprise this season, however, isn’t Corrin’s sometimes heartbreaking performance, but that Gillian AndersonPortrayal of another prominent figure of the era, Prime Minister Margaret Thatchersomehow overcomes the supernova of Diana’s still beloved moment in history.
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For those whose British history is limited, Thatcher was a woman who was as loathed as he was revered, and driven by an immoral determination that could shudder even Dick Cheney. After being elected to the UK’s highest public office, she meets for the first time weekly with the sovereign, who is almost dizzy that Thatcher’s rise as the first female prime minister is finding two women to run the nation. Elizabeth quickly learns that they don’t see eye to eye how to serve a public knee-deep in economic hardship. Thatcher’s indifference to her suffering seems to shock Elizabeth (as shocked as she may be), and it sets the stage for a relationship that was more strained than the general public believed at the time. A relationship that, according to Morgan, frustrated the Queen.
At first you might think Anderson is borrowing a little too much from a caricature of Thatcher’s steely determination. The more she immerses herself in the narrative, the more obvious it is that she made this role the most beautiful of an already lauded career. One reason for this is that the performance doesn’t have the trademarked reactions and funny sayings that peppered Meryl StreepAward-winning twist in 2011 “The iron woman.” Many who knew Thatcher would say she played the caricature of herself when it was beneficial, but it wasn’t as emotional or exaggerated as Streep played it. Anderson, on the other hand, uses this iron mysticism as Thatcher’s wall against what she sees as disloyal ministers and constant public criticism of a laundry list of subjects. But as the season progresses, Anderson’s creative choices reveal a much more informed Thatcher than you originally thought you’d be watching. Yes, Morgan has peppered the seating between Anderson’s Thatcher and Colman’s Queen with more condescension and shrewd tombs than any of Elizabeth’s previously elected cohorts (and it’s absolutely delightful to see), but it’s a creative freedom that works in the context of its uniqueness Places in history.
For much of the world, the other woman at the center of this season, Diana, was her entry into the royal family. The fairy tale story of a girl, only 20 years old, who helped clean her sister’s house just to marry a handsome older prince and become a princess, sold newspapers worldwide. The tragic ending to the story, which we believe will be recorded in the next season of the series, is only hinted at here (though perhaps a little too much).
The season underscores its importance to the Queen’s legacy and begins with Charles arriving at the Spencer house on a date with Diana’s older sister Sarah.Isobel Eadie). Still a teenager, Diana ignores her sister’s wishes and still finds a way to meet Charles. It’s a nod to a not always flattering portrayal of the princess that may upset some viewers.
When she first stepped on her limits, the subject of how the royal family left Diana is the subject of a wonderful, almost stand-alone episode, “Fairytale,” staged by the now underrated Benjamin Caron. The future princess learns that her fiance is going overseas. At the same time, she spends six weeks alone at Buckingham Palace with a future mother-in-law who doesn’t care about spending time with her, and the only way out is by making phone calls to her ex-roommates. And here Morgan reveals her long battle with bulimia.
As the season progresses, it becomes clear that Morgan is not interested in blaming Charles or Diana for a relationship that is no longer so secret, and apparently in his view, public spectacles to embarrass each other. Almost a decade after marriage, when Princess Diana visited a Harlem hospital in 1989 and hugged a child with HIV, a historic moment given the stigma of the illness at the time, Charles is outraged that she would do what he thinks was just a stunt for the cameras. Their relationship has deteriorated so dramatically that he just can’t see it as a real moment it seems. It is thanks to O’Connor that he found a way to make Charles likeable despite his ongoing affair Camila Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennellwho deserves a lot more screen time).
Unfortunately there is a little less for that Helena Bonham Carter to do as Princess Margaret this time. In one particularly memorable episode, however, she is allowed to play family addiction. Menzies seems to be having a lot more fun than Philip trying to act as a bridge to Diana and Erin Doherty continues to rotate tightly and bluntly Princess Anne into an unexpected gay and – go with me here – feminist icon.
Many familiar with the history of this period will wonder why a certain aspect of Diana’s life or Thatcher’s exploits is missing. There is no dancing in the White House John Travolta for Diana, and Thatcher’s role in the case of the Soviet Union is all but ignored, but that’s because Morgan chose the moments that return to the show’s namesake, the Crown. A crown on the head of Elizabeth II. A monarch beautifully portrays Colman as increasingly uninterested in what she sees as the immature behavior of her growing clan (and that doesn’t even take into account the antics of Sarah, Duchess of Yorkwho barely gets screen time).
That being said, for the first time in four seasons, the final episode doesn’t end decidedly with her face. Instead, someone else is the focus. She is alone and holds back tears when she realizes she will forever be an outsider to this family. An unexpected but deliberate choice as a new cast of actors comes for the heartbreak of the next decade. [B+]