Television: The Crown, "Act of God" and "Smoke and Mirrors"

I continue to make my way through this series. In the episode "Act of God" we come close to horror story territory as a dense fog cloaks London, posing a health hazard that leaves many ill and dead. It turns out Churchill knew of the possibility of such an occurrence, had been urged to limit coal consumption because the pollutants are the major contributing factor to the fog, but dismissed it and now... The fog has come... dun-dun-DUN.

Seriously, though, keep in mind this really did happen in 1952, and Churchill nearly lost his position over it. But he's a cunning old thing. When his assistant is hit by a bus that didn't see her because, you know, fog, Churchill goes to the hospital morgue to identify her then uses that to make a public appearance that boosts his popular appeal. Just as Elizabeth is about to give him a good kick in the pants, too, because he won't let Phillip take flying lessons. (Spoiler for those who haven't been around in the last 70+ years: Phillip is allowed to fly in the end.)

"Smoke and Mirrors" then moves on to Elizabeth's coronation. Against tradition and all advice, Liz puts Phil in charge of arranging it, and he brings in TV crews. That's kind of the sum total of the episode except that Uncle David, who had been king for less than a year and never got a coronation, continues to bitch about things. I do understand his frustration, sure—his family is fairly nasty about the whole abdication and his marrying that Wallis woman. It's a wonder their relationship lasted given that, in the end, it seems neither of them were very happy. A lifetime of not getting what you really want will do that to you, I suppose.

Oh, and Queen Mary dies.

As for the coronation, there's a bit of tension between Elizabeth and Phillip when he doesn't want to have to kneel to her during the ceremony but she insists. She tries to explain to Phillip that she is his wife but also the Queen. It's complicated, but once again the show does a fine job of relaying that tension to the viewers. We feel it.

So that leaves us at the halfway mark for this season. So far so good.

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