By Mille Iversen
The Crown returned to Netflix for its second season this December and with it a new era of scandal, romance, and royal intrigue in the life of Queen Elizabeth II. Even though it isn’t the most action packed show on Netflix, it is definitely one of the best as it is an old fashioned, historical drama with superb performances, intricate direction, and enough old school royal scandals to keep you hooked from beginning to end (give or take an episode or two).
Season two of The Crown covers nearly a decade in the early reign of Elizabeth II, played by the award-winning Claire Foy. Winston Churchill is gone, and the Queen finds herself with an ever-rotating list of ineffectual Prime Ministers, one of whom gets the country entangled in the catastrophic Suez Canal crisis. But The Crown isn’t so much about the affairs of state as it is about the affairs of the heart: one of the main conflicts in season two is the complicated marriage between Elizabeth and Philip (Matt Smith). As season two kicks off, we see the two at a reckoning point. Elizabeth is worried about Philip’s possible philandering, and Philip still feels inferior to his wife, the Queen of England.
The marital difficulties between Elizabeth and Philip play an important role in this season, but it’s not the primary focus, which is refreshing. Instead, the producers make sure to take the time to tell the stories in a meaningful manner by focusing on other characters, such as Elizabeth’s infamous sister Margaret (Vanessa Kirby), who perhaps suffered the most in the previous season with her scandal. The Crown intertwines shockingly true stories, such as the Profumo affair and the Nazi-sympathizing former King Edward VII to really make a riveting story line.
The Crown deserves to be applauded for daring to be an adult drama, which are harder and harder to come by these days. The series’ writer and creator Peter Morgan, with his background in playwriting, manages to make stagey, showy verbal jousts exciting again. The Crown is like great theater, but it looks, feels, and moves like great cinema. That’s a hard combination to pull off, yet season two of The Crown makes it look easy.