Review: The Crown Season 2 Episode 6 “Vergangenheit”

While the monarchy is often defined, as this show has suggested, by its fairy-tale perception, inducing the public into a trance of  wonder, duty and patriotism, the Queen’s role as the Head of the Church of England is often forgotten. Christianity of course informs many aspects of the royal institution the show explores, including its arguably patriarchal stance and slow development of modern necessities and tolerances. But it is also central to Elizabeth’s values, displayed excellently here. Her discussions with Graham highlight a need to find inspiration. One may wonder, as she herself does, who inspires the Queen, and if she has no one, can she inspire others? Furthermore, the show also promotes that inspiration is not always just, righteous or acceptable. Edward may be inspired by serving, but who he serves and for what reasons is less honourable. It allows for a complex conundrum for Elizabeth, as she weighs her desire to symbolise Christianity with her reality. It is a far more layered, subtle and less dramatic portrayal of the figure than the last episode’s forceful depiction of her values. However, with this episode, it also becomes clear that the series is continuing its almost episodic approach. While the Elizabeth-Philip relationship issues dominated the first episodes, they feel lost and irrelevant here. Although concessions may have been made in the relationship, no disharmony lingers, which feels odd, as does the sudden dropping of Margaret’s story. I appreciate the historical chronology, but the come and go of key character arcs does feel abrupt. 8.5/10

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