The Crown (S02E01) “Misadventure”

Netflix’s award winning drama surrounding the English Royal family is back for season two of The Crown.  The first episode brings us 10 years into the future with Prince Phillip (played by Matt Smith) and Queen Elizabeth(played by multiple award winning actress Claire Foy) settled into a routine.  Phillip is embarking on a 5 month royal tour of Britain’s realms, and Elizabeth is home making sure business runs as usual.  Phillip’s right hand man, Michael Paker (played by Will Keen) is experiencing problems at home which don’t seem significant to us yet but come back in a big way during the Royal Tour.

One of the main conflicts early on is the threat of losing the Suez Canal to the Russians, which is a main port in Egypt.  We watch as it is taken over by rebels and see cracks start to form in the foundation of the British Empire as its subjects as it’s colonies start to try to break away and claim independence.

The current Prime Minister, Sir Anthony Eden, (played by Jeremy Northam) is giving a speech saying that while the world changes at a speed unheard of before the war, England must hold on to traditions and the old way of life while giving a speech at his Alma Marta, Eton, which has shaped British Upper Middle Class and ruling class for centuries.  The speech is interrupted, ironically enough, by the real world rearing it’s ugly head and forcing him to deal with the very modern change of Egypt and Russia forming an alliance to oust the British yoke on Egypt.  He hurries out to deal with the very modern real world, symbolically leaving the past in the past.

Eden informs Elizabeth of the plan to deal with the coup by paying the Suez Canal pilots to leave their posts, therefore causing President Nassar to bend the knee.  The plan fails spectacularly, showing the old ways may not be the best ways for dealing with modern times.  This is a definite theme this season.  Does the Monarchy change with the times?  Does it have to?  Or does it cling to old ways that people don’t need or understand anymore because of tradition in a world where Monarchy is no longer the norm?  How does it survive in an ever changing world?  Should it?

This episode shows the beginning of the changing times as modern life intrudes in ways it hasn’t before now.  With divorce becoming more prevalent, we watch as it affects not only the couple going through it but all those around it, Elizabeth and Phillip are drug into a frenzy of rumors as well.  Word that the Royal Tour is just a 5 month Stag Night as one waitress from Phillip’s notorious Lunch Club called it hits England and word that they’re going to divorce spreads like wildfire.  Elizabeth and Phillip have to come to an understanding about their marriage and sacrifices that need to be made in order for it to work.  Of course Elizabeth’s not going to allow divorce ruin her family, so she makes allowances for Phillip in order for him to be “happy” and stay in the marriage.

Compromise, sacrifice, and modern times are the theme in this episode.  What did you think about how they dealt with it?  Do you think this happened in real life?  What did you like about the episode?  Not like?  Let’s discuss.