The Crown: Marionettes
December 14, 2017 10:06 PM - Season 2, Episode 5 - Subscribe

After Elizabeth makes a tone-deaf speech at a Jaguar factory, she and the monarchy come under public attack from an outspoken lord.
posted by Cash4Lead (23 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Wow, Michael Adeane is really not very good at his job. He has to bring in Tommy to fight off a suggestion from his junior!?

I appreciate the way the narrative of this episode messes with our sense of who we're cheering for. The opening scene paints the vet as the hero, reinforced by the satisfaction the Royal Family takes in hearing about Altrincham getting socked. Over the episode we come to sympathize with Altrincham and see Elizabeth as cold and distant (it's also hard to commit emotionally when she chews out Michael...is she being cruel or did he need a smack upside the head?). Then in the end you end up respecting both Altrincham and Elizabeth, and sneering at the Milkshake Duck Army Veteran.

I love the way Foy plays the scene with Altrincham. Obviously willing to listen, and she's far more understanding then anyone in the Royal Family of the need to modernize (Phillip goes back and forth), but she doesn't show a hint of weakness or contrition with him. It's a terrific balancing act of being a person and being The Crown.
posted by dry white toast at 9:22 AM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


I too was surprised at the need to bring Tommy back; it happens again in a later episode for a more understandable reason, so maybe using him here was just to try to help the audience remember him for the next occasion? But it immediately made me think that Michael is looking weak.

Very enjoyable episode though; particularly how they ended it, with the Queen Mum complaining and noting how they are losing their power and mystique bit by bit - that in an effort to retain their special roles they are compromising to the point that they may, one day, no longer be special. Which, yeah, but you should remember it’s a better path out than a lot of other royal families got.
posted by nubs at 9:28 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


That's really the overarching theme of The Crown: answering the question of how the monarchy is still even a Thing.
posted by dry white toast at 9:34 AM on December 15, 2017 [1 favorite]


particularly how they ended it, with the Queen Mum complaining and noting how they are losing their power and mystique bit by bit - that in an effort to retain their special roles they are compromising to the point that they may, one day, no longer be special. Which, yeah, but you should remember it’s a better path out than a lot of other royal families got.

Yeah, honestly I am finding this theme particularly fascinating. It seems to be kind of the focal point of the season, I think - the challenges of the modern world versus the ancient world of the royals. Because like - that's partially the problems with Phillip and Elizabeth's marriage, right? The dichotomy between feeling The Duty Of Royals, and That's Not The Real World. Like how in the last episodes, Elizabeth is feeling hurt and betrayed that Phillip is cheating on her, either physically or emotionally, because she has modern expectations of love - but at the same time, she doesn't feel entitled to attack on that axis, but only You Have Disappointed Me As A Royal. And similarly, Phillip doesn't know what to do with his modern needs in that marriage, so he falls back on Moar Ancient Power, Please. But neither of them are really satisfied, because they are containing two different worlds within themselves.
posted by corb at 2:00 PM on December 15, 2017 [11 favorites]


For all we know, Tommy Lascelles is still around, a dignified zombie kept out of the public eye but consulted quietly on the best way to clean up Royal Messes.

(the number of times they brought him back stood out to me as well - he'd retired in season one! there was a huge kerfuffle about it! Elizabeth probably should have buckled down and punted protocol even harder in the hindquarters to skip over Michael Adeane in favor of Martin Charteris)
posted by angeline at 5:31 PM on December 15, 2017 [5 favorites]


Tommy Lascelles: Royal Fixer

(I would probably watch that, even though I find Tommy insufferable)
posted by nubs at 6:54 PM on December 15, 2017 [6 favorites]


(I mean, I see it being Bondesque, except instead of gadgets and guns, its all protocol and mustaches)
posted by nubs at 6:57 PM on December 15, 2017 [7 favorites]


No, wait, put him in a Kingsman movie!
posted by angeline at 7:13 PM on December 15, 2017 [2 favorites]


I cannot picture Tommy in anything that also involves jokes about anal sex.
posted by nubs at 7:30 PM on December 15, 2017


His disapproving stoicism would be so epic.
posted by angeline at 7:46 PM on December 15, 2017 [4 favorites]


I’m blown away that the actress who played the typist in the National Review office also plays Yara Greyjoy in GoT.
posted by kittydelsol at 4:16 AM on December 16, 2017 [8 favorites]




I've really been enjoying this series, although I'm not really a fan of the monarchy. But the last few minutes of this episode kind of depressed me beyond all reason, with all the royals in sight rolling their eyes in contempt at the commoners, even Margaret who was so excited to hang out with people who don't curtsey and whatnot. I don't know what I expected. Maybe I always expect royal people to be like fairy tale royals, wise and loving of their subjects, instead of kind of grasping, jealous, and sneering.
posted by glitter at 9:46 AM on December 16, 2017 [2 favorites]


glitter, I feel like the show is sort of trying to really show the difference between the sneering, entitled Old Guard, and today's modern royals, who by and large do a lot of philanthropic and diplomatic work. This episode marked Elizabeth's shift into her slow growth (very slow if you ask folks who were around in 1997) towards a more adaptable, evolving monarch. Yes, the Queen Mother and Philip and Margaret were awful, but they've all demonstrated their feelings of entitlement quite clearly from the beginning, they've been entrenched in their notions of God-given superiority. Elizabeth has felt the weight of some kind of duty and responsibility to her nation since she became Queen, but she's starting to learn that a nation is made up of its people in a way that is becoming less and less abstract to her over time.

It's a slow process and not everyone is going to be on board for a while, if at all. It can be argued that these days, they're still not entirely on board (what with the castles and giant sparkly jewels and private security detail and what, exactly, does any modern nation need a monarchy for again, anyway?), but looking at many of today's royals, there's a marked improvement in their attitudes towards people, at least so far as we can tell.

Boy, when they introduce Diana in season four and she drags them kicking and screaming towards further humanity and philanthropy, it's going to be seismic.
posted by angeline at 8:03 PM on December 16, 2017 [10 favorites]


I recognized Gemma Whelan immediately, and was subsequently expecting her to play some kind of pivotal role in the episode. Really baffled to have her only contribution be bringing taffy to a meeting and beaming delightedly whenever Lord Altringham said something.

That said, I thoroughly enjoyed an entire episode without the main plot being some sort of romantic or marital turmoil.
posted by sively at 4:46 AM on December 18, 2017


At the second Lord Altrincham was punched, my feed got very slow and that was something to see. There is a cut there you'd never notice.
posted by Mr. Yuck at 9:03 AM on December 18, 2017


Tell us about the cut!
posted by Mogur at 12:43 PM on December 18, 2017 [3 favorites]


I appreciate the way the narrative of this episode messes with our sense of who we're cheering for.

Yes. I loved how the ep starts off with "someone has insulted the queen" - but then once it gets around to showing us his actual points, he's absolutely right, 100%. It's the first hearing of a theme that's to become a constant in Elizabeth's life, even today. (Though most memorably heard again when Diana died.)

This is the best ep yet this season.
posted by dnash at 5:04 PM on December 26, 2017 [1 favorite]


I do hope we can expect a Zadok the Priest montage in the fifth episode of each season.

With this one, though, I'm wondering what the show was trying to convey with it. I thought it was a great spot of comedy ("anointed with oil...") and yet the obvious contrast - between the grandiosity of a coronation and the ordinariness of getting a new hairstyle - seems to clash with the broader theme of the episode, in which Elizabeth is not associated with the spirit of equality (despite an openness to reform for other reasons).

Like sively, mystified by the underuse of Gemma Whelan.

Three things about the broadcast:
  • I thought it was a bit strange that Elizabeth was shown looking at her written script so much when there was a teleprompter. But watching the actual 1957 broadcast, that was pretty authentic!
  • I guess it would have been a bit off-narrative if they had included the part of the speech in which she derided the loss of "morality in personal and public life".
  • This year's broadcast, being the sixtieth anniversary of the 1957 edition, makes reference to the 1957 address and even includes a video clip from it.
But the last few minutes of this episode kind of depressed me beyond all reason, with all the royals in sight rolling their eyes in contempt at the commoners, even Margaret who was so excited to hang out with people who don't curtsey and whatnot. -glitter

Not a good look, for sure, but I can't say I'd be especially excited myself to spend an evening with a random assortment of my compatriots without any common ground whatsoever. It would have been nice if there'd been some explanation of how this group (and the other groups that will presumably follow) was selected.
posted by Clandestine Outlawry at 4:54 PM on December 28, 2017 [2 favorites]


Yes. I loved how the ep starts off with "someone has insulted the queen" - but then once it gets around to showing us his actual points, he's absolutely right, 100%.

It's...not that simple. He is both right and wrong. That's what makes it so complex and fascinating. He's right in that the monarchy, to survive in an age where monarchies are relics, must be relatable - but also, when you make them too relatable, they die. We can argue about whether this is a good or bad thing, but: the monarchy, and Elizabeth in particular, seems to have been walking a tightrope for the last fifty or so years. Destroy too much of the tradition, and people wonder what the point is, if she's just one of them? Too little, and they will topple her.

Also, it's kind of dickish of him to be like: "she's not charismatic enough!" Dude, you get an inherited monarchy, you take the skills of the person you get. That's not exactly the kind of thing that can be taught.
posted by corb at 5:07 PM on December 28, 2017 [1 favorite]


Vidal Baboon.
posted by roger ackroyd at 10:53 PM on January 7, 2018 [6 favorites]


Toffee, not taffy.
posted by bq at 10:56 PM on March 3, 2018


The haircut really irritated me for a couple of reasons. First, Philip’s reaction. He was merciless about her new hairstyle and tied it to their sex life— the implication being he couldn’t possibly be aroused in bed and so she could not get pregnant. What an awful husband. What a tactless clown. If my husband told me my new hairstyle meant he couldn’t get aroused by me I would cry my eyes out ...and then run back to the stylist.

I was also irritated by Elizabeth saying it was easier to take care of. My god! She all those staff members there on hand ready to serve her. She could so easily have the most elaborate, most flattering hairstyle in the world but once again she chooses to follow Mummy’s lead and be as dowdy as possible. How many fabulously wealthy 30 year olds choose to dress exactly like their mothers? I get the idea of wearing what is more or less a uniform because she takes so little interest in clothes yet she still has a vast wardrobe. How many brown cardigans does one woman need?

One thing I have to say about the present day Elizabeth is I love her bright suits. I know she wears them so people can pick her out of a crowd but what makes them especially wonderful is the wide range of colors. I don’t think she has missed any color in the rainbow.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 8:00 PM on June 25, 2018


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