Review: The Crown Season 2 Episode 9 “Paterfamilias”

A key characteristic of an institution, whether it be a school or the Monarchy, is the concept of tradition and establishment, promoting practises symbolic of ideological perspective or purpose. In that sense, ‘The Crown’ makes an excellent decision to compare the schooling years of Philip and Charles and to explore how while the institution may stay the same, individual reaction or perception of it may differ. This leads to a harrowing, heart-wrenching and insightful story, especially in recognising how Philip’s experiences informed his outlook on life, including his son. Matt Smith gives his best performance yet as Prince Philip, thriving in the commanding, powerful role his character has in controlling his son’s education, while also eliciting the frustration he has in not connecting with Charles. In illustrating Philip as genuinely interested in the concept of multi-generational education but also ignorant of Charles’ individual issues, the episode highlights him as tormented by his own past. Ignoring Elizabeth for most of the episode therefore seems suitable to discuss such a relationship. Yet, it also does mean that any criticism she has of Philip, his decisions, or the influence he may be having on the future of the Crown is only briefly mentioned. In a more subtle way, the episode may be criticising this absence from Elizabeth, noting an inability to truly involve herself with her children, instead slamming the door shut. That thematic notion makes sense considering this episode does randomly decide to focus on Charles after little attempt earlier. While the paralysing emotion is there, as is excellent character development, much of this episode does feel familiar, and therefore Elizabeth’s presence could have contributed. 8.3/10

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