The Crown: A Take on the Season 2 to Season 3 Changeover

By Nicusor Ciumacencu — Season 2 to Season 3, of the Netflix hit series, The Crown should have transitioned like the gears of an automatic transmission, unless there are poor mechanics in the works.

I remember sometime during Season 2 a young Prince Philip, all drenched in rainwater, sobbing and exhausted, but having learned a lesson it appears, enters the eating room at his royal school and proclaims: “I need help.” That is exactly how this transition from 2 to 3 sounded to me, instead of something imperceptible and well-oiled to move me into the upper gear of my own drive through this long, long series.

Philip’s moment is one of the, by now, familiar déjà-vu occurrences: this time to his youth at the Scotland school. Prince Charles, his son, would later call said school “hell,” when enrolled there almost by force. Daddy wanted the son to walk in the dad’s footsteps; the son was looking to follow in his mom’s.

Josh O’Connor as Prince Charles in military dress (Des Willie / Courtesy of Netflix)

The TV series, after a spectacular start, seems to look for different steps, as benefits the arrival of a new season. No doubt it is a desperate search for attention, conflict…but here at the gates of Season 3 the main question was none other than: what’s better to do for aging? Change the actor completely and risk falling flat or use heavy makeup to add the passing of time on the same face? Did the producers have this question in mind?

I would have chosen the latter —the makeup— just seeing the replacement for the Queen that started with Season 3. I see leafing through the newspapers, I’m not the only one holding this thought. The change of actors is brutal. No bigger mismatch than the Queen’s though.

The new Prince Philip works: He is a believable, older Season 2 Prince Philip. Same with many others but none matters as much as the Queen. She is no longer strikingly beautiful. OK, we lost the big blue eyes. Big deal. The Queen never had big, striking eyes so… but it is nice to look at a beautiful face.

And so, we are shallow and when Hollywood is shallow, we complain.

However, It’s not just that.

The Season 3 Queen doesn’t smile anymore, either. Well, she does it rarely, like when she has a moment of privacy with Porchey, the horse man (royal stables’ manager) that we met previously when she — The Queen, much younger— tried to leave the impression that she was attracted to him. Or maybe it was just the desperation of the producers pushing for that sexual desire, one which may have never existed. Again, the scream “I need help” from a long, long show.

The course of events seems to be slower as well with Season 3, and the viewer, evidently, becomes bored — rapidly. We are a generation of people with the attention span of 10 seconds or less; if nothing happens quickly, we return to our phones, and so The Crown loses us for long minutes. When/if we return — we don’t remember where we were, we feel disconnected — we’re too lazy to rewind, and, thus, move on back to… the phones.

I liked the first two seasons, the Winston Churchill years, the big fog, the coronation, the affair of Princess Margaret, the big blue eyes of Claire Foy.

In season 3, Britain is in deep economic trouble, the troubles may lead to a coup, too, that’s how bad it is, but this new, matured Queen is busy with her horses and nothing else.

It would be unfair to create the impression that the series is total nonsense. It is not. It’s well-written and well-directed. It may be just the change of actors that annoyed thoroughly, with, in truth, so few other annoyances.

We’re steaming through the ‘60s.

But the ‘60s belonged to America. The Brits were just losing steam. Their empire was all gone. Their economy had no clue. Their Royals, unchanged since Richard the Lionheart. The Crown, Season 3 kinda has to reflect that.

I’m gonna watch Season 3 with my phone nearby, switching back and forth, because there’s not much to lose; this is a boring period in politics of Britain. Again, if this were the ‘60s in the U.S., there would have been the greatest events to watch: Kennedy, Moon Landing, Woodstock, MLK and so much more. Of course, the Brits had the Beatles and The Stones, but they don’t seem to interfere with the show, or I may have missed it.

I’m going to stoically watch in preparation for Season 4, when the Iron Lady comes and where Charles meets with the commoner angel Diana, unleashing the catchiest years of an insipid monarchy life. So…talk later.


(NOTE: FEATURED IMAGE BY Des Willie / Courtesy of Netlfix , Pictured (l-r) Ben Daniels, Marion Bailey, Helena Bonham Carter, Olivia Colman, Tobias Menzies, Erin Doherty)


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