Verdict: The Crown Season 1 Episode 9 “Assassins”

The performance from John Lithgow here is magnificent, providing his character with an abundance of nuance in promoting his contrasting aspects of power and fragility. This is his episode and he owns every scene he is, as the writing is able to be both critical and admiring of Churchill, presenting him as a man of undoubtably good intentions and patriotism while also stubborn and bullish. The dialogue and interactions between Churchill and Sutherland are masterfully handled in both writing and direction, using their meetings to find the hidden vulnerabilities in the Prime Minister. However, I am still not a fan of centring each episode on a specific event. While it works in this case with Winston, The Queen’s storyline with the horses feels like an afterthought, and something that should have been inserted throughout the series considering that horse breeding is practically the Royal family business. It just felt odd to have it randomly positioned in here. But it did allow for a further examination of Philip and Elizabeth’s relationship, something paralleled with the relationship between Churchill and his country. This also allowed for further development of Elizabeth in showcasing her life before Philip. Overall, this episode was heartbreaking in regard to Churchill’s arc, but it finished on an optimistic note that highlights the effect that the man had, and still has. 9.6/10