Review: The Crown Season 2 Episode 3 “Lisbon”

Loneliness is the essential ingredient to this episode of ‘The Crown’. For Queen Elizabeth, her ability to deal with the failures of her marriage is limited by her role, an imprisonment of sorts, which is carefully compared to that of Eileen Parker. The episode is structured in a manner to emphasise this contrast, as Parker’s divorce proceedings are cruelly edited between sequences showing the Queen’s isolation and solitude, representing a freedom she does not have. Furthermore, there are insertions of moments of the giddiness we witnessed in the Season premiere, especially as Elizabeth watches and commentates Philip’s film. Claire Foy affirms her perfection in the role during this scene, which must be a defining performance not simply for the actress, but for television. Foy presents amusement and awe denoting the wonder she first saw in Philip, while also eliciting a sense of relief in recognising his care. Most importantly, however, there are slices of anxiety wavering in her expression, as she almost expects to observe footage showing her husband’s less family-man behaviour. These character moments are exceptionally insightful, and as the marriage again takes a turn for the worse as Parker’s divorce becomes public, Elizabeth conducts her confrontation with Philip as one would expect of the Queen. The dialogue is written to assert this position, with Philip the straight-talker, Elizabeth dutifully restrained. The political context and conflict in the Suez Canal is overshadowed during this episode, as is Eden’s fate, but it highlights the show’s direction, a continued struggle between Elizabeth and Philip’s notion of their lives, as personal and public remains one. 9.4/10


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