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Saturday, July 2, 2022

The Crown: Season 2 (TheaterByte TV Series Review)

The Crown: Season 2 Key ArtThe first season of The Crown covered the early years during which the now-nonagenarian Queen Elizabeth II first assumed the British throne. At that season’s finale, Elizabeth (Claire Foy) was attempting to find a suitable role to occupy her restless husband, the Duke of Edinburgh Philip (Matt Smith). Season 2 explores the next decade of QE II’s life, as Peter Morgan’s script continues to develop the principal characters of this historical drama in more detail and greater dimension. The ten hour-long episodes pick some key moments near the beginning of the young Monarch’s reign and the roles played by its numerous participants.

New Prime Minister Sir Anthony Eden (Jeremy Northam) is confronted with an escalating international crisis caused by Egyptian President Gamal Abdel Nasser’s (Amir Boutrous) seizure of the Suez Canal. As Britain, France, Israel, Egypt and Russia become involved, a third world war is averted but Britain suffers severe economic repercussions. The clouds of the cold war loom over post-WW II Europe and, as a consequence of the botched Suez affair, Queen Elizabeth gets a new PM, Harold McMillan (Anton Lesser).

The fault lines in the royal marriage repeatedly surface and when “bad boy” Philip embarks on a lengthy world tour, the nasty and highly publicized divorce of his private secretary and best friend, Mike Parker (Daniel Ings) threatens the monarchy itself. Royal advisor Michael Adeane (Will Keen) summons his predecessor Tommy Lascelles (Pip Torrens) out of retirement to do the necessary damage control and prevent Philip from receiving bad publicity.  Elizabeth begins to understand al too well the accommodations required to preserve an essentially arranged marriage and begins by making Philip a Prince.

Younger sister, the free-spirited Princess Margaret (Vanessa Kirby) meets the libertine photographer Anthony Armstrong-Jones (Matthew Goode). Margaret and Tony quickly heat things up in his studio and she hastily decides to marry him. Although Lascelles and Adeane have compiled a substantial seamy dossier on Armstrong-Jones’s escapades, Margaret will not be denied her big Westminster Abbey wedding, delayed only by the birth of the Queen’s third child, Prince Andrew.