the crown, season 3 is not soooo bad

My previous post made it seem like I dislike The Crown (or at least season 3), but it is still a good show

So, what was good about season 3 of The Crown? There were several really good episodes.

I’ll make a blanket statement that I wish they had left the season 1 & 2 cast in place through the 1966 episode and added at least two of the first three episodes to season 2. QEII was about 38 years old in 1964 (end of season 2/beginning of season 3) and 43 in 1969 (starting at season 3, episode 4). Clair Foy was about 35 years old in 2019 when the season was shot and Olivia Coleman was about 45.

  1. Olding (1964) – I was looking forward to this one because I have always loved spy stories. It was good, but seemed a slow way to start season 3. This episode could have been shuffled in the timeline – although Blunt was identified as a mole in 1964, he stayed in his position until 1972 and was publicly exposed in 1979. The show could have reframed the episode to focus on one of those later dates.
  2. Margaretology (1965) – I had a hard time with this one for two reasons: a) Helena Bonham Carter as Margaret and b) the fabrication or exaggeration of much of the storyline. The show is not a documentary and the episode was entertaining, but there is a fine line between fudging a bit to heighten the drama and just completely making up a story. For me, this one crosses the line – on the UK bailout, on Margaret’s return to the UK and on the wild party with LBJ. So many liberties taken with the actual events – it was disappointing. Also, not to be ageist, but Margaret was about 35 years old when she went on that trip; she and Tony Armstrong-Jones were viewed as vibrant and modern (Vanessa Kirby would have been 30 when playing her and HBC was about 53). I enjoy HBC and she had great shoes in this episode, but IMO, it would have been better with Vanessa Kirby tacked on to season 2 or dropped.
  3. The Aberfan episode (1966) was really well done and so effective, with the children singing early in the episode and the shadows at then end. It was gut-wrenching to see that wall of slurry and know what was coming. It was an amazing episode and one of the best of the season. My problem with the episode, as I mentioned in the prior post, was in the focus on whether the Queen cried. It is such a sexist storyline, as it would never have been a focus had there been a king rather than a queen. Also, I’m not sure what the issue is with this season, but they seem determined to have the Queen seem to be in a perpetual snit or sporting a flat affect. Foy’s Queen may have perfected a “blank face” but you always knew what she was thinking and feeling. I would have loved to see her in this episode – she would have pulled off that emotional but distant balance very nicely.
  4. Bubbikins (1969) – had they started season 3 with this one (starring the new cast), I would have cheered! This was one of my favorite episodes of the season – Princess Alice and Princess Anne – who could ask for more? This also had inaccuracies, but they were definitely on the “fudging” side of the line. The Philip and Anne casting was excellent – they really look like father and daughter.
  5. Coup – ugh. This was my least favorite episode. While it was great to see the Queen having some fun and taking a trip down “what might have been” lane, the coup side of the story was fairly boring, featured a bunch of characters not seen before and never seen again, and the real “coup” didn’t play out as shown (i.e., this was on the “making it up” side of the line). I hoped that Charles Dance (Dickie Mountbatten) would play Philip in seasons 5 and 6, so seeing him here was a little disappointing, though the last scene with him and Princess Alice was golden.
  6. Twyysog Cmyru – this was in my top three episodes. The portrayal of Charles was well-done – Josh O’Connor did a great job. Although again having some inaccuracies (his real speech didn’t go as far as this one did), it seemed to capture the moment pretty well. But they seem determined to make the Queen unlikable – her rebuke of Charles toward the end of the episode was HARSH! She may have been correct in her assessment of his actions but it’s painful to see her lash out at him. This is where the event-jumping format of season 3 suffers in comparison to the relationship–based seasons 1 and 2. Adding an episode or two that focused on their relationship would have put her reaction in a broader context, e.g., practicing the investiture, introducing the red box, talking about how life will change for him, her growing exasperation with him or his rebellious side coming out over time. She may not have been hands-on in the earlier seasons, but she didn’t seem to actively dislike her children. Further, there are photos from this period in their lives showing the Queen and Charles smiling and laughing together, suggesting that the relationship between the Queen and Charles wasn’t all bad, but you wouldn’t know that from this show!
  7. Moondust – a.k.a. Philip’s whining again. It was great to see the family getting up and watching the moon landing and to see Philip engaged in something. But, really, he is just exhausting. We’ve moved away from the “young man angst” of the earlier seasons and into “midlife crisis”. The notion that Philip was the only one coming up with the “big questions” was silly. The astronauts were on a global tour and even if they hadn’t come up with answers to questions about what it was like on the moon or in space, NASA would have helped them develop answers to these questions. The idea that they could only speak in engineer-ese or relate everything to mechanics is insulting.

The remaining three episodes I don’t remember very well – broad plots, yes; details, no. So perhaps I’ll comment on those later. I do remember the return of David and Wallis (i.e., the Duke and Duchess of Windsor), who now seem to look a lot like Derek Jacobi and Geraldine Chaplin.

Also, what do they have against Americans – we seem to be portrayed as bumbling, crass, idiots or all of the above (see JFK, LBJ and the astronauts); the only ones to escape this treatment were Billy Graham and (to some extent) Jackie Kennedy. [Side note: I just rewatched the Dear Mrs. Kennedy episode … from JFK’s manhandling his wife to Jackie’s oversharing with the Queen that she was probably just high when she said all those nasty things about her … it was as off-base as I remembered. But the Queen’s dance was fab and the Martin’s commentary during the dance was really great!]

where have you been?

It’s been a crazy year!

Last June, I changed jobs and started working from home on a regular basis. It was great because I could be available to my mother at all times. She was not interested in joining clubs or going out. She has very little short-term memory at this point and becomes anxious when alone. So, working from home was perfect!

Until it wasn’t …. In December, I realized that I was spending about 18 hours a day in my bedroom – my office was there, my bed was there, and my post-mom’s-bedtime TV watching was there. I also realized that my mother’s lack of privacy, while not a problem for her, was becoming a problem for me. It was excluding me from using most of the apartment space. So, I started thinking about moving. I thought about it for months and just when I decided to act, the COVID-19 restrictions kicked in. So, I waited a bit longer and in July started looking and tracking properties. In August, I decided to get serious. In September, I sold my condo and bought a 2-bedroom unit in the same building.

The new place needed work. Some of the renovations were done before we moved in, some are in progress now and some will come down the line. It’s been a challenge to move and it seems to be taking a long time to settle in. The good news is that I think that by the end of December, we will be in good shape. We’ll still have the “down the line” renovations to do, but we will be in good shape.

I am not a patient person, so it is stressful that it is taking this long to settle in. Part of the problem has been that I needed to order some furniture that takes a while to get here, so we have boxes of books and bookcases with dishes and glasses, and other stuff hanging about. But the bigger problem is that I was just exhausted. Really, just flat out tired and stressed. I just need to breathe deeply and be patient – we will get there in the end.

As to the blog, here is the plan – with the goal of one or two posts a week:

  • A few more posts on The Crown and perhaps some other TV shows – this has been about all I can manage these days,
  • Some posts on books that I read a while ago – hopefully, this will make me want to pick up books and read again,
  • A few posts about how my mom has been doing with all of this chaos (answer, pretty well!),
  • A few posts about renovations and how they are going and how everything looks – these will likely be in late December or in January,
  • And a few random posts about other stuff.

the crown, season 3

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So, I’m back again! It’s been an interesting year. More of that to come in future posts.

I started this post months ago, shortly after I finished season 3 of The Crown. It was an interesting season in that there were some parts that were very intense and other parts that were, dare I say, a little boring. If seasons 1 and 2 were more uniformly good, IMO, season 3 was a bit of a mixed bag. Mom and I are starting the series again, so may have more comments on seasons 1-3. I’m also watching season 4 with friends. It will be a bit of a smattering of thoughts, I’m afraid!

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