Damson - What we're watching... #9
5) Mystery Man (Season 2, Episode 10)
So we start with the most recent episode, until the release of season 3. The historical basis for this belter of an episode is the Profumo affair, and rumours of Philips's involvement. It has never been proven that he had anything to do with it, but the fact that he was chummy with Stephen Ward didn't look particularly good. As far as the show is concerned, he was involved. You can imagine it's one reason why the Royal Family won't watch The Crown. Fabrication or not, it makes for a thrilling episode and one that makes you fully understand why seasons three and four are so eagerly anticipated.
4) Gloriana (Season 1, Episode 10)
From one season finale to another. The final episode of season one was a belter. All of the different stories and dramas that had unfolded throughout the series finally came to a head, from The Queen being torn whether to give Margaret permission to marry a divorcee, to Anthony Eden's continuing health issues, and the Suez crisis. What The Crown has always done incredibly well is create masses of tension in seemingly innocuous conversations, usually between just two people. The scene when Elizabeth has to explain her decision to Margaret is devastatingly good. The pause when Elizabeth discusses the difference between her decision as a sister and her decision as The Queen is excruciating. The key for a great debut season is to hook people with the last episode and make sure they are desperate for more. The Crown sure did that here.
3) Assassins (Season 1, Episode 9)
"Assasins" brings two storylines together that had been bubbling under the surface since the pilot episode: The decline of Winston Churchill's career and the unhappiness of Elizabeth's marriage. The Churchill stuff here is particularly interesting. We also get to meet "Porchey", Elizabeth's old friend and the man that many had expected her to marry before Phillip. The acting here from John Lithgow is absolutely off the charts. Covering the period when parliament commissioned a portrait of him for his 80th birthday and his feelings around that, culminating in a pretty heartbreaking revelation from Winston himself. Stephen Dillane's performance as the painter is so fantastically understated and works very well, complimenting Lithgow's bombastic style. While he does embrace the comical sides of Churchill's personality, it is when he shows how vulnerable he is that he really shines. But then again, it's John Lithgow, what do you expect??
2) Dear Mrs. Kennedy (Season 2, Episode 8)
Another "Dexter" alumnus as The Kennedy's come to town. But, sadly, Michael C. Hall's turn as JFK is the worst thing about the episode. Thankfully, the rest more than makes up for it. Considering The Crown is the second most expensive TV series ever made, it's really something when we say that this is easily the most gorgeous episode to look at. There is so much to digest here, from the aforementioned Kennedy visit to Buckingham Palace to Elizabeth's lovingly recreated trip to Ghana to try and smooth things over with President Kwame Nkrumah. In our opinion, Claire Foy has never been better than she was in this episode. The "apology tea" scene between Elizabeth and Jackie is especially good. There isn't a better "silent" actress in the business.
1) Hyde Park Corner (Season 1, Episode 2)
In the second-ever episode of The Crown, Elizabeth and Phillip are shipped off to Kenya to deputise for the increasingly ill and frail King George. Little did they know in real life that their lives would have been changed forever by the time they landed back home in The UK. One moment Elizabeth is preparing for a return to Malta, and the next she is the new Queen of England. While this episode is all about Elizabeth learning (in part) what her future will hold, Matt Smith's Phillip steals the show. He manages to do something that seems almost impossible: Make Phillip seem empathetic and sympathetic. That is a testament to just how good an actor he is. While it's a shame to lose Claire Foy with series three and four, Olivia Coleman is an incredible replacement. The real loss is Matt Smith, who has absolutely nailed Phillip's mannerisms, movements, and voice every time on screen.
Do you agree with our list? If not, which episodes would you have included? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram @damsonglobal
November 16, 2019