With The Crown, Netflix and Peter Morgan gave the world an insight in the life of the royals. What goes in and what they stand for. Welcoming deeper inside the hollow world with the season 3, the show returned with a new cast with Oscar winning actress Olivia Coleman in the lead. Did the new cast pass the litmus test? Read to find out!
What’s it about
Written by Peter Morgana and directed by a series of directors, The Crown is Queen Elizabeth II’s story from the time she was incepted to become the queen. While the series is the entry to the royal culture it also flaunts the shortcomings without hiding it behind the bush. The third season is set in the decade between 1964 to 1977 and follows some major incidents including Aberfan disaster, Apollo 11 landing on the moon and Prince Charles’ complicated life.
Where the first two seasons were led by Claire Foy, the 3rd season has an all new cast.
Let’s first answer the biggest question, did the new cast do the job well? I am happy to announce that they did it just right. Though I am not happy with one casting choice, but about that later.
With the new cast one would fear about setting up the base to introduce the new faces. But the makers were smart enough to not fall into the trap. The season kicks off without specifically introducing each and every replacement. The makers here applaud our expertise and love for the show and let you identify the characters.
Olivia Coleman taking the ropes in her hands from where Claire had left had put her under the most amount of pressure. But the actress has an Oscar to her credit for a reason. She gets into the character and embodies the Queen. It is by the end that you realise that Olivia wasn’t trying to replace Claire but make her own niche. Other actors including Tobias Menzies (Philip), Josh O’Connor (Prince Charles) , Jason Watkins (PM Wilson) are amazing and demand your attention.
What wins the most is the writing by Peter, while the first two seasons were about what the royal culture is, the 3rd takes you inside their lives and heads. We meet grown up Charles, an aged like wine Duke of Edenberg Philip, grumpy as always Margret and many more.
The dialogues are references to what their heart craves for, what they really are and what they want but cannot convey directly. It is during two key conversations that is one between Philip and Neil Armstrong and Prince Charles and his love interest Camila Sand, that the two royal men are asked How does it feel to live in that palace. Turns out both go mute, because they do not have an answer, since they have just existed in the palace and not lived in there.
The Crown has always been about conversations more than actions, and the 3rd season does not disappoint. The dialogues are written with the character traits in mind. The conversations turn so engrossing that you feel like a lizard in the room (but there ain’t any in the palace).
The best part about the show is that it isn’t sanitised to hide the mistake of the royals.
The cinematography is commendable. Wide angle shots overshadowing the royals with the grandeur around them to extreme close ups expressing their discomfort are fun to watch and appreciate the production efforts.
Special mention to the irreplaceable Jon Lithgow who plays the former PM Winston Churchill. He is and will forever be my favourite throughout the series.
What might not work
The series is rather meditating and educating than entertaining. It is not for everyone.
Second, while everyone was cast with the physical appearances of all the royals in mind, Princess Margaret did not go well. All credits to Helena Bonham Carter for her talent. While she plays the part with conviction, she fails to look like it.
Third, while getting into the life of the royals, Peter forgot there is a surrounding to be focused in. The first two seasons had instances when a person outside the crown mattered big time. Remember Winston Churchill’s secretary, whose death made him change the policy overnight? Season 3 does not bring us any parallel characters.
Watch Crown and you should. Engross yourself in the experience. Learn a thing or two about the crown, bow before the queen and embrace the dark yet shinny world of the royals that awaits.
Rating: 3.5 stars