Weekender Bahrain, Monday, January 27 2020

This week, Nebal Shafi reviews Season 3 of the Netflix show Crown.

admin 04-Dec-2019

This week, Nebal Shafi reviews Season 3 of the Netflix show Crown.
Rating: 4/5

When we return to the rarefied world of the acclaimed Netflix series The Crownit’s 1964, and change is afoot in Britain. Winston Churchill is dying, and a new Labour prime minister, Harold Wilson, a man of the people and self-described “ruffian,” has been elected to lead the country out of its economic malaise. Even the stamps are changing, reflecting Queen Elizabeth II’s maturing profile. Now a mother of four and a self-described “old bat,” Her Majesty doesn’t find the new design particularly thrilling but accepts the aging process as inevitable. “One just has to get on with it,” she says. It could be her royal motto. Throughout the third season of The Crown, which takes us up to the Silver Jubilee celebrations of 1977, the changes keep coming and the Queen keeps getting on with it, going through the motions of the monarchy in a series of groovy floral dresses, sensible headscarves, and ridiculous hats.  

In a later episode, Elizabeth insists that she too just "goes to work, gets tired, gets colds." The line is meant to echo Shakespeare's Richard II: "I live with bread like you, feel want, taste grief, need friends,"  thus, his famous point that the crown is "hollow," and the head that it sits on is mortal. But Elizabeth has decided the distinction is irrelevant or hardly worth sulking over like Richard. What ultimately matters to her is the Crown, not the head. That's turned her own heart into a chilly, windswept place. She's repressed her own humanity but hasn't quite come to terms with the sacrifice. It's that internalized friction that Colman brings so memorably to the screen. Her Elizabeth doesn't exactly earn our sympathy but she does earn our empathy. 
Claire Foy's Golden Globe-winning performance was always going to be a tough act to follow but Broadchurch star and Oscar winner Colman does it with aplomb. The performance is all in the voice and Colman nails it as she utters her first line and away audiences are taken with their new Queen. Colman said she was initially imitating Foy initially before finding her feet in the role - and she does make it her own. 

Season three offers deeper insight into the Queen’s stoicism and how she’s been molded into a monarch but still there's the push and pull between the ruler and the woman wearing the crown.

In fact, "The Crown's" third is really just a study of character. It's immutable, after all, whether you're a queen or a pauper. It's what we do with our character that matters. This season magnificently reveals what Elizabeth has done with hers.

The Crown is streaming on Netflix.