Television: The Crown, "Lisbon" & "Beryl"

I feel like the corgi meter is way low this season. I mean, we see them in one of these episodes, albeit briefly. I'm seriously bummed about the lack of them.

That aside, "Lisbon" is a solid episode that continues practically linearly from the previous two. Philip's secretary Mike is being sued for divorce, and there is a fear this will reflect badly on Philip and/or his marriage to Elizabeth. So Philip must distance himself and demands that Mike resign. Again, I think I'm supposed to feel sorry for Philip, but I don't really. Despite Matt Smith's valiant efforts at looking hangdog and conflicted, I can't find a lot of sympathy for Philip's bad decisions.

Once we loop back around to the first episode of the season—the moment in which Elizabeth asks Philip what it will take to keep him "in"—we see him being invested as a prince. (Sorry if I've previously referred to him as "Prince Philip" in other posts; I'd forgotten he wasn't for a while. I have to admit, that makes me feel a bit sorry for him because what a yo-yo: you are a prince, then you aren't, and then the life you signed up for gets shunted down another path entirely. "Can I just have a bit of dignity?" Uh, here, be a prince again. Um . . . We all know that dignity and titles are not equivalent, right? But we'll get to that in a couple more episodes.)

Meanwhile, in "Beryl" we look more closely at Princess Margaret's continued struggle to be a modern woman in an antiquated monarchy. ("Modern" being relative to the 1950s.) I know a lot of people found this episode really interesting, but I didn't. I'm just not as into Margaret's counterculture thing as some others are, I guess. For me, she works better as punctuation throughout the story rather than a whole block of prose in and of herself.

Long story not all that short, Margaret is sad at a friend's wedding because she still can't marry that one divorced guy. So she makes a kind of verbal engagement with Billy Wallace who then can't even come to the event where they're supposed to announce their engagement because he's hungover and all bloodied up from a fight. Margaret disavows him and can hardly stomach Elizabeth's and Philip's tenth anniversary love fest, so she runs off to hang out with a photographer named Tony. Instead of going with Cecil Beaton's official birthday photos, Margaret uses one of Tony's "rawer" photographs, which appears in the newspapers and leaves everyone aghast.

Meh. This episode felt so incredibly slow, and I just didn't buy any tension between Margaret and Tony. I don't know if that's the actors or what, but I yawned my way through it. I would have preferred this woven together with some other story line rather than being the focus of an entire episode. But I know I'm in the minority here, so . . . ::shrug::

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