The Crown Season 4 Review: Star Rating: 4/5 Stars (Four Stars)
All hail the queen, technically the queens this time. Because Netflix’s The Crown Season 4 is for the lack of a word, ‘Explosion’ of great content and you cannot stop yourself from bowing down in front of the women this season. After a pitch-perfect three seasons run, The Crown returns with the fourth. Olivia Coleman is still reigning as the Queen, but there is Princess Diana and Margaret Thatcher too. Read on to know how that goes.
Cast: Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Helena Bonham Carter, Gillian Anderson, Emma Corrin, Josh O’Connor, Erin Doherty, Emerald Fennell and ensemble.
The Crown Season 4 Review: What’s It About?
The ’70s are gone, and the Royals are all set to step in a new decade. Charles (Josh) is a 30-year-old prince, and the family is finding a suitable bride for the future king. Enters Diana Spencer (Emma). While what looks like a fairy-tale is a war ground behind closed doors. Amid this are the First Woman Prime Minister of UK, Margaret Thatcher (Gillian) and her decisive policies. The disagreement between her and the Queen (Olivia) take centre stage and what follows is the showcase and protection of power.
The Crown Season 4 Review: What Works:
The Crown has always been a show about a woman who sat on the highest throne and found her way through grey-haired men who felt she was weak. We saw spectacular actors, including Claire Foy and Olivia Colman bring to life this complicated and pretty much controversial person pitch perfectly.
With season 4, Peter Morgan introduces two more women (Princess Diana & Margaret Thatcher) who have navigated and are navigating their way through the same gaze. Before we come to how precious Emma Corrin and Gillian Anderson as actors are, let’s take this moment and applaud Morgan for sticking to his soap opera format of writing.
It’s the Royals, yes there is subtlety, but some drama comes handy, and Morgan knows that. For, e.g., in the very first episode when Lord Mountbatten is assassinated by the IRA, and a drunk Philip (Tobias Menzies) confronts son Charles (Josh O’Connor) you see how the two are in turn repeating the same things thus creating and effect. Same goes in the last scene where Philip is talking to Diana. Now, this is one of the many scenes and in the scheme of the whole series, a small one. But Morgan successfully and smoothly manages the crescendo throughout.
Like my review for the third season read, and I repeat it, Peter Morgan is brave and bold in what he has to say. For instance, in season 4 he doesn’t shy away from talking about Prince Charles’ extramarital affair, that to with a married woman. Or the fact that the royals literally declared living relatives dead, just because they were mentally unstable. The move was to show the world that their bloodline was pure. Sounds crazy, right? Morgan shows you the craziness. Fun fact: one of the mentally unstable cousins, Katherine Bowes-Lyon, declared dead in the ’80s, actually died in 2014, just six years ago. BOOM!
Welcome, Princess Diana. Season 4 of The Crown in my view is the darkest yet. There are three women at the forefront. Diana enters the screenplay with her naivety and concludes with a sense of adjustment. What if she doesn’t bend? Olivia’s Queen in a scene asks. Helena’s Princess Margaret says “She will break”. And that very much sums up Diana’s journey through the royal madness and a highly troubled marriage.
Being an audience for The Crown for almost 30 hours now, when Emma Corrin enters the show, it seems like a human has just landed in this alien world. Diana wasn’t wrong; she was just a misfit. Emma plays the part with conviction and honesty. The last frame and her eyes will stay with me for some time.
There is Margaret Thatcher too, the first lady PM. While Diana’s universe creates an indirect effect on the Queen’s life, Thatcher is at loggerheads face to face. A character beautifully written and impeccably performed by Gillian Anderson, Thatcher is not just a PM, but in a way everything opposite to that Queen Elizabeth ll is. We get to know her more than the chair she sits on. Here is a woman who never wants anyone to go empty stomach from her home, be it her cabinet of ministers. This character goes down in the history of The Crown. It isn’t just written with a single layer without any dimension, rather it’s 3D. Anderson also gets a big chunk of Thatcher’s success as a character.
Special Mention to Helena Bonham Carter, whose Prince Margaret is the beating heart in a world who functions like robotics. In the review of the third season, I was not sure about her physical appearance to match Margret from the first two seasons, but Helena has made the character her own this time. And I would like to take my words back. Josh O’Connor also gets to showcase his calibre, and he does it just right.
The Crown has always been about the silences more the words. Season 4 sticks to it too. But when the words enter, they wallop you. The background score, the set design, costumes, the cinematography is worth every accolade.
PS: There is a sequence when a man literally breached the gates of Buckingham Palace and reached the Queen’s room. Metaphorically the makers show you how it wasn’t just a man but an embodiment of the million unemployed souls asking for livelihood and life. This episode happens to be my favourite this season. Watch out for Olivia’s acting in the scene.
The Crown Season 4 Review: What Doesn’t Work:
The biggest reason why I was rooting for this season was the fact that Princess Diana was all set to enter. For that matter, wedding scenes in The Crown have been my favourites. Remember Margaret’s wedding to Antony, seemed like the god of beauty managed the lens that day. On that note, not showing us Charles and Diana’s wedding was criminal.
Erin Doherty’s Anne while being a promising actor and a very intriguing character is not much explored. Erin gets some of the best dialogues, but her arc doesn’t get the justice it deserves. Maybe season 5 might have more of her, will have to wait.
The Crown Season 4 Review: Last Words
I have always said this; The Crown is education, drama and entertainment all in one, a complete package. WATCH THE CROWN RIGHT AWAY, and I cannot give you more reasons. There are great actors, intriguing storyline and above all, curiosity about the most controversial family that still holds their position.