19th November 2020

The Crown Season 4 Is The Crowning Glory…Or Is It?

The Crown Season 4(Netflix. 10 Episodes)

Starring Olivia Colman ,Tobias Menzies, Helena BonhamCarter, Ben Daniels, Marion Bailey, Erin Doherty, Josh O’Connor, Emerald Fennell, Charles Dance, Gillian Anderson and Emma Corrin.

Rating: ****

Having invested 40 hours of  my  life  in this , one of the finest  serials that Netflix has produced, ten of those hours  in  the last  four days  unwilling to miss  a single  beat  from the episodes  collectively  constituting Season  4, the  question I asked  myself  was, ‘Was it worth it?’And  the answer is an emphatic yes! I can’t wait for the next season, to experience more about the vulnerabilities and  transgressions of Britain’s most  revered royal family.Gosh, if this family can be so muddled in its priorities, who are we?

In its   4-year existence  The Crown has made us  loyal to the Royal. The first season featured Claire Foy as Princess Elizabeth. Ms Foy’s attempts to come to  terms with her thorny crown were majestically  portrayed. Most of us became  subjects  to the Crown in Season 1. Season 2 featured   the same cast. But the struggle  for  Princess-Queen  Elizabeth  to  find her bearings was diversified into several new channel,giving Season 2  a bigger emotional heft than 1.

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Season 3  brought in  the acclaimed Olivia Colman as Elizabeth . I’ve always had a problem in  accepting Ms Colman’s reputation as a great actress. No matter what she  plays, she look stricken, anxious that  the  roast chicken in the oven may burn and the dinner guests  would have to go home  unfed. 

Not that Queen Elizabeth needs  to do even a day of cooking in her life. But you get my drift? In Season 4  Ms Coleman’s Elizabeth  allows herself  to be walked  all over by Gillian Anderson’s Margaret Thatcher every  time they meet  over  tea.Why only  Maggie! The Queen looks lost(remember the roast in  the oven?)  even when  sparring with her feisty sister Margaret(Helena BonhamCarter, one  of the  highlights  of the series)  or  exchanging barbs with her patient bemused silently suffering  husband Prince Philip(Tobias Menzies,uniformly brilliant). I wish Ms Colman would  show some  added spunk  in her habitual  stonecolddemeanour.

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 In  this season’s best episode(5) , a psychologically disturbed stranger  Michael Fagan(Tom Brooke, incredibly in-character)  walks right into the Queen’s bedroom to discuss the state of Britian’s economy brought to the brink by  Margaret Thatcher.

 Ms Anderson’s  Ms Thatcher begins  as  though she were caricaturing the original(something that Meryl Streepnever  did in The Iron  Lady) and then the  clever  articulate performance  gradually  settles into being a source  of   illimitable  power  and impact.  It won’t be  wrong to say Gillian Anderson stands  heads and shoulders  above  the  stellar  cast  in   Season 4.

As  for debutante Emma Corrin’s  Princess Diana, what can I say  except…awwww!  The  role is written in  flattering shades. Diana is an imp ,a  gamine, a  child of whimsy , a breath of fresh air, and Ms Corrin just  let  her Diana play to the galleries. Opposite her Josh O’Connor(an actor I usually  like) comes across as  such a sexist wimp. I am sorry to say  O’Connor has gone through  the entire series playing Charles with one  dour expression.He  resents Diana getting all the attention in their marriage  and  the  best  part of this  scenestealingroyal deal is , we  are never sure if Diana is innocently  playing to the galleries  or doing it deliberately.What we are sure of is,  Season 4 of  The Crown is heavily weighed against Prince Charles. While Diana  can  do no wrong,  he can  do nothing else.

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At  the end  of Season 4  the Crown stands at a fascinating crossroad. We know  exactly where this would go. But the journey is  no less  intriguing and engaging for  it.Can we skip the  rest of the year  and go straight to November  in 2021?

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