652 Views

The Crown Season 2: Review

The Crown returned, and while there is less pomp and circumstance, there’s still plenty of scandal.

Season 2 of Netflix’s juggernaut hit, chronicling the lives and loves of the British royal family, landed on the streaming service in December, just in time for the holiday season. The 10 episodes covered plenty of ground, as the show marched briskly through from 1957 to 1964, neatly wrapping up the Profumo Affair, the Kennedy assassination, and the Suez Crisis, along with the usual family drama fare of babies, cheating husbands, and distant Nazi relatives.

Season 2 of Netflix’s juggernaut hit, chronicling the lives and loves of the British royal family, landed on the streaming service in December, just in time for the holiday season. The 10 episodes covered plenty of ground, as the show marched briskly through from 1957 to 1964, neatly wrapping up the Profumo Affair, the Kennedy assassination, and the Suez Crisis, along with the usual family drama fare of babies, cheating husbands, and distant Nazi relatives.

The first season has been justly accused of coming close to monarchist propaganda; humanising and sympathising with the royal family, in a move designed to appeal predominantly to international audiences. In contrast, I made it a full 45 minutes into season 2 before I was tempted to stage a full-blown revolution, for the sheer pleasure of mildly inconveniencing Prince Philip.

Philip (Matt Smith), whose self-centred, self-pitying antics had been mildly annoying in the first season, was given a much larger role this time around. Whole episodes were devoted to his philandering, and his utter unconcern for his wife, his children, or the responsibilities of his post featured frequently. The show did its level best to present him as sympathetic, emphasising his unhappy childhood, but no amount of dead Nazi sisters was sufficient to justify his total inability to treat his wife with any decency.

This, unfortunately, left a vacuum at the heart of the show; it was difficult to be interested in his struggles when they were entirely caused by his own selfishness and pride. Moreover, it was almost painful to watch the royal couple fighting their way towards an exhausted stalemate, rather than anything resembling happiness. This resulted in whole episodes that felt flat and repetitive, engendering little response beyond an endless feeling of frustration and disappointment.

Clare Foy, who once again put in a stellar performance as Queen Elizabeth, at times seemed to fade into the background behind her husband. This was a real shame given that this will be the last time we see her diffidence and precision in the role (Olivia Coleman will be taking up the mantle, literally, from the next season). She particularly shone in the season’s sixth episode ‘Vergangenheit’, which dealt with the Duke of Windsor’s well-documented support for the Nazis. It was in her struggle with her own faith, and with what it means to forgive those who betray us, that The Crown was most successful in its avowed aim of exploring the real person, Elizabeth, behind the public façade of the Queen.

The season’s other standout was Matthew Goode, a newcomer to the show who played Princess Margaret’s husband, bisexual photographer Antony Armstrong-Jones. Disarmingly handsome, he roared excitingly around on a motorbike and smouldered wordlessly in darkrooms, entertainingly disdainful of the royal family and the institution of monogamy in equal measure. It was no surprise that the Princess Margaret rushed headlong into an ill-advised marriage, the cracks in which were already beginning to show by the season’s end.

The Crown lived up to its reputation for high production values; the costuming, in particular, was spectacular. Yet, the otherwise incredibly well-made drama was badly let down by overwrought, unimaginative music choices, that too-often seemed hackneyed rather than sophisticated. In particular, using Handel’s Zadok the Priest to soundtrack the Queen’s haircut was a fairly egregious error, which pushed the show from merely self-important into something approaching parody.

Nevertheless, in some ways, it was a treat to see the season eschew the first season’s ceremonial grandstanding for the more intimate drama of unhappy marriages, bad parenting, and ill-fated love affairs. But the closer we got to these characters, the less I could care for them; the Queen Mother was an unforgivable snob, Princess Margaret was astonishingly oblivious, and Prince Philip was a prideful philanderer, whose chauvinistic inability to play second-fiddle to his admirable wife wreaked devastation on all around him. Viva la Revolution!

Get the best viral stories straight into your inbox!

Don't worry, we don't spam

Leave a Reply

Join the Badger Team

Apply today!

Latest Posts

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate
Campus News
542 views1
Campus News
542 views1

Union obliterates the debate – unwritten requirement used to shut down free speech debate

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

Student society Liberate the Debate’s most recent event was cancelled over a lack of compliance with the Students' Union's (USSU) requirement for a neutral chair - a…

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series
Arts
77 views
Arts
77 views

Verve Couture – Musicality, kitsch & ignition: the beginning of a series

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - June 17, 2018

Pictured: Zac Black At Proud Cabaret audiences were spellbound as if at night at the circus, yet this was not like Angela Carter’s magical realist novel; Verve…

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review
Arts
112 views
Arts
112 views

Fleabag on stage at The Old Market – review

Florence Dutton - June 11, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Last Monday at 8pm at Brighton’s The Old Market, I sat myself down in my theatre seat eagerly awaiting…

Fleabag preview
Arts
109 views
Arts
109 views

Fleabag preview

Florence Dutton - June 2, 2018

[caption id="attachment_35513" align="alignnone" width="2400"] Fleabag at Soho Theatre[/caption] Following the mass success of the Bafta award-winning BBC Series, DryWrite and Soho Theatre are about to hit the…

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome
Arts
136 views
Arts
136 views

Brighton Festival: Ezra Furman at the Dome

Georgia Grace - June 1, 2018

Having completed my final semester of university with modules on punk history and queer arts, it was fitting that I rounded off my end-of-assessment celebrations by attending…

Arts
149 views

The Tempest review

Georgia Grace - May 30, 2018

As the sun begins to set over Hove Green, tinnies of Red Stripe are cracked open, tartan blankets are strewn, and families tuck into their picnic hampers.…

A Glass Half Empty review
Arts
159 views
Arts
159 views

A Glass Half Empty review

Georgia Grace - May 27, 2018

For those of us coming to the end of another year of university study, the prospect of careers, marriages and babies may seem a long way off.…

DollyWould at The Old Market review
Arts
153 views
Arts
153 views

DollyWould at The Old Market review

Alex Hutson - May 27, 2018

Sh!t Theatre’s DollyWould is a hilarious, thoughtful and experimental performance piece. The award winning show has the Sh!t Theatre duo integrating comedy, storytelling, personal experience and music.…

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex
Campus News
247 views
Campus News
247 views

UCU Launch Petition to End the ‘Hostile Environment’ at Sussex

Billie-Jean Johnson - May 26, 2018

The Sussex branch of the University and College Union (UCU) has launched a petition calling for Vice-Chancellor Adam Tickell to end the 'hostile environment' at Sussex. The…

Arts
117 views

Shakespeare in the sun – The Tempest preview

Georgia Grace - May 24, 2018

In a world of dystopian King Lears and female Hamlets, Shakespeare’s classics are constantly being reimagined for the modern day. There’s something oddly refreshing then about the…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
231 views
Arts
231 views

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 23, 2018

What a phenomenal contrast these two films present when watched side-by-side. In essence, together they are capable of tracing inner and outer metamorphoses of their subjects. The…

Dollywould at The Old Market preview
Arts
151 views
Arts
151 views

Dollywould at The Old Market preview

Alex Hutson - May 22, 2018

From the 22nd May - 25th May 2018 DollyWould will be showing at The Old Market. An exciting new show, presented by Sh!t Theatre, who won the…

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu
Artist Focus
224 views
Artist Focus
224 views

Exhibition: Io-sono Fedilouu

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - May 16, 2018

Last week artist Fedilou made her debut exhibition in the downstairs space of Morelli Zorelli, a quaint vegan Italian restaurant in Hove, featuring a collection of intimate…

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley
Interview
159 views
Interview
159 views

Interview with Philosophy faculty and COGS director Ron Chrisley

Nikolaos Manesis - May 15, 2018

Ron Chrisley is a Reader in Philosophy, on the faculty of the Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science, and is the director of COGS (Centre for Cognitive Science).…

Adam review
Arts
224 views
Arts
224 views

Adam review

Ketan Jha - May 13, 2018

If you have been a stranger to the stage this spring and decide to see one contemporary show, let it be Adam. This reviewer went in entirely…

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
254 views
Arts
254 views

Brighton Fringe Preview: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)

Sophie Coppenhall - May 13, 2018

In celebration of iconic Brighton local, legendary alt-rock musician (and episodic actor) Nick Cave, TOM’s Film Club are hosting a double-bill screening of his films at The…

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review
Arts
290 views
Arts
290 views

Whimsical fairy-tale meets class war – Standard: Elite review

Georgia Grace - May 11, 2018

Meta-theatricality and interactivity are becoming all the more vogue in contemporary theatre, and in a world where the arts are becoming increasingly open and democratised, I find…

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks
Artist Focus
202 views
Artist Focus
202 views

A Year of Art Society: The Best Picks

Alex Leissle - May 9, 2018

  [gallery type="slideshow" ids="35385,35386,35387,35388,35389,35390,35391,35392,35393,35394,35395,35396,35397,35398,35399,35400,35401,35402,35403,35404,35405,35406,35407,35408,35409,35410,35411"]

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival
Books
215 views
Books
215 views

More Brit(ish) than ever: A review of Afua Hirsch at Brighton Festival

William Singh - May 9, 2018

Afua Hirsch’s 2018 book - part memoir, part polemic - provokes mixed feelings. So too did her discussion of the topic at this year’s Brighton Festival. Don’t…

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality
Science
273 views
Science
273 views

Ethnic-bioweapons: between conspiracy and reality

Luke Richards - May 8, 2018

Bioweapons exist, while ethnic-bioweapons are whispered conspiracies. Pandemics can fairly hazardous to human life, the 1918 Flu Pandemic killed 20-50 million people. A man made pandemic could…

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced
News
275 views
News
275 views

Breaking: Spring referenda results announced

Jessica Hubbard - May 4, 2018

Students have voted to support the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, reject Prevent and adopt new Gender Equality policies. Results for the Students' Union referenda were…