The Crown Episode 2 review: Hyde Park Corner sees Elizabeth head to Africa

the crown africa hyde park corner stephen daldry matt smith claire foy peter morgan netflix

It’s a look at the decadence and dark side of royalty, with the first confrontation with the colonialism and imperial tendencies that the crown still represented at this point; Elizabeth casually refers to the people of Nairobi as savages, while Philip demonstrates some of the tactless behaviour he’s become known for in recent years.

It’s interesting to see the show tackle these themes, albeit not in much depth – it’s difficult to read exactly whether the show is romanticising or rejecting this behaviour. Perhaps more accurately, it’s simply saying that it happened – and there’s a certain power in that, to just represent the flaws of our characters, and not shying away from the things that can make them dislikeable.

This is another positive review of The Crown, because I thought it handled the themes of colonialism and imperialism reasonably well. By the end of the series, I was far less convinced of this. I suspect that Hyde Park Corner would have been a good starting point, had they built on it further, but – well, I’m getting ahead of myself somewhat now.

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The Crown Episode 1 review: Wolferton Splash is a strong start for Netflix’s royal drama

the crown episode 1 wolferton splash matt smith claire foy royal wedding netflix peter morgan stephen daldry

In many ways, this episode is dedicated to setting up the chessboard. It’s not quite about Elizabeth (Claire Foy) in the way one might have expected; rather, it’s dedicated to contextualising her story and introducing the characters. We spend most of our time focused on King George (Jared Harris), Elizabeth’s father – as he copes with a terminal illness, we begin to get an impression of quite how difficult the life of a monarch is, and what exactly Elizabeth will face over the rest of the series. 

The first of several reviews of The Crown I did for CultBox; it’s a series that I have something of a complicated opinion on, in that it’s probably quite good, but I don’t actually like it very much.

(That’s going to become increasingly apparent across the rest of these reviews, but the seeds of it are here even now; it’s interesting to read this initial review back, after having watched the rest of the show and grown increasingly disillusioned with it.)

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