489 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
292 views1
Campus News
292 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…

Review: Nick Cave Double Bill at The Old Market (TOM’s Film Club)
Arts
26 views
Arts
26 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
31 views
Arts
31 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
83 views
Artist Focus
83 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
57 views
Interview
57 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
112 views
Arts
112 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
111 views
Arts
111 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
131 views
Arts
131 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
107 views
Artist Focus
107 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
89 views
Books
89 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
122 views
Science
122 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
176 views
News
176 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…

Why I’m Jewish AND I support BDS
Comment
169 views
Comment
169 views

Why I’m Jewish AND I support BDS

Sarah McIntosh - May 2, 2018

The idea of a land where my religious identity is welcomed and where I feel safe to be myself and live in peace is a beautiful idea…

Student research happening at Sussex
Features
145 views
Features
145 views

Student research happening at Sussex

Nikolaos Manesis - May 1, 2018

(Image source: Flickr, Pixabay, Wikipedia) Another academic year is coming to a close and with it, the last edition of The Badger. To celebrate our last science…

Sussex Festival cancelled
Campus News
210 views
Campus News
210 views

Sussex Festival cancelled

Jordan Wright - April 30, 2018

The Students’ Union have cancelled their highly anticipated end-of-term event Sussex Festival: Desert Island Disco, which was due to begin on Saturday May 12th. The Students’ Union…

Students’ Union President Gustafsson and Liberate the Debate respond to the cancelled event
Comment
229 views
Comment
229 views

Students’ Union President Gustafsson and Liberate the Debate respond to the cancelled event

Jordan Wright - April 27, 2018

These comment pieces represent the opinions of both the Students' Union and Liberate the Debate with regards to the  recent cancellation of the Society's freedom of speech…

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood
Artist Focus
146 views
Artist Focus
146 views

Artist Focus: Rory Hinshelwood

Louisa Hunt - April 25, 2018

Rory Hinshelwood studies Zoology with Spanish at Sussex. His brand is called Poplar St., at the moment the brand sell embroidered high-quality t-shirts. Rory works mostly in graphics…

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen
Artist Focus
105 views
Artist Focus
105 views

Artist Focus: Maayan Cohen

Emma Phillips - April 24, 2018

The Badger spoke with Sussex University’s Maayan Cohen about her creative workshop, ‘Bits and Pieces.’ Can you tell us a bit about Bits and Pieces- what’s the…

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review
Arts
134 views
Arts
134 views

Voodoo enthralls at The Old Market – review

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

As part of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Undisciplined, Voodoo comes to being as a collaboration between South East Dance and Project O. Project O brings artists Alexandrina…

Arts
136 views

Trial & error: Sex, sass and foolishness through dance

Ricardo Reverón Blanco - April 24, 2018

For the concluding show of South East Dance’s micro-festival, Double Bill brings two short performances to The Old Market’s stage: Comebacks I thought of later by Eleanor…