Why Netflix’s ‘The Crown’ totally rules in Season 2 – Orange County Register

When Season 2 of Netflix’s “The Crown” opens, Queen Elizabeth II (Claire Foley) and Prince Philip (Matt Smith) are on rough seas, literally.

The royal couple is on a ship during a storm. The date is Feb. 6, 1957. It seems the only place where the they can get a little privacy.

“The rumors haven’t gone away,” Liz sternly tells her husband, adding, “It’s time we put our cards on the table about what has to be done to make this marriage work.”

Philip, as we know, has been unhappy playing second fiddle to his wife during an era where men rarely were subordinate to women. The conversation goes on for a beat or two more, and then we cut back to events to five months before. It’s nearly three episodes before we return to the conversation, repeating the beginning of the heart-to-heart before finishing it.

If “The Crown” was just about the British royal family, it would be mildly interesting at best, but the series created by Peter Morgan (“The Queen,” “Frost/Nixon”) is about more than that. Instead, like his other works, he uses the smaller story as a clever way to re-examining relatively recent history.

In this case, the smaller story just happens to be in a palace. Queen Elizabeth, you’ll remember is relatively powerless. She and her family are kept in plushy cages only to be occasionally paraded out for ceremony’s sake. It is not surprising that they misbehave at times.

When the story picks up again, it’s 1956, and Philip is off on a diplomatic voyage with the navy on the royal yacht to British territories in case – as the queen tells her children – “they get any silly ideas about wanting their independence.”

The trip will take him to the Melbourne Olympics with a rowdy stop on New Guinea along the way. The separation would heighten the endless questions and rumors about the royal marriage.

What we hear from Elizabeth in that first conversation is that “I’ve learned more about humiliation in the last two weeks than I have in a lifetime.” So we know things are heating up. A key storyline of the season is about whether the Duke of Edinburgh had affairs or not.

The wife (Chloe Pirrie ) of his party-loving aide and closest friend Mike Parker (Daniel Ings) was seeking a divorce on charges of infidelity, and the scandal would reflect on Philip.

Meanwhile, the Queen is watching the debacle of the Suez Crisis unfold without being able to do anything. The Conservative Prime Minister Anthony Eden (Jeremy Northam)…

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