Season 3 of The Crown was my last most anticipated entertainment event of the year and honestly while good, it was still a bit of a let down.
This season of course is the first with the new cast including Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter and Tobias Menzies taking over for the Queen, Margaret and Phillip respectively.
And in the end while I didn’t have any problem with the performances (mostly) I still think it would have worked better if the OG cast had this season, they aged them up and then these guys took over for four and five. I feel the same about some of the smaller roles as well- while Derek Jacobi and Charles Dance are great Greg Wise and Alex Jennings, especially didn’t need to be recast.
I saw someone say they should have saved Dance for older Phillip and now I can’t get that out of my head.
Though I admit I did like Menzies in the role despite my love for Matt Smith. Phillip getting older and out of touch is relatable and he and Olivia Colman actually had really good chemistry.
But then Phillip is a really good example of some of the writing problems- Moondust was a slog that didn’t do him any favors and when we get to the end and why he’s upset, that his mother the awesome Princess Alice has passed, maybe we could have spent the time on that instead of this (false) astronaut worship?
Aberfan (episode 3) the best episode of the season about the Welsh Coal Mining tragedy also suffers from probably my least favorite scene that extended ending concentrating on Olivia Colman squeezing out a tear because ACTING! If they wanted to do a little something different here they could have dealt with the crown having to be silent in the face of the government (both parties) absolutely on-going shitty treatment of those poor people.
I did enjoy Jason Watkins as the Prime Minister this season and thought his relationship with the Queen was well done and the ending more moving than the ending of Aberfan with the fake tear.
Alice, Anne and Princess Margaret were the bright spots of the season. But they had next to nothing to do. There was so much skipped with Anne it was hard to make out the timeline.
All three actresses are great and unfortunately in Princess Margarets case after her marriage falls apart I don’t get the impression there’s much else for her.
Josh O’Connell is fine as Prince Charles for about one episode he’s even likable. But then he meets Camilla and that just goes to shit. (It doesn’t help that Emerald Fennell is my least favorite casting and O’Connell and Doherty have more chemistry.) It also wasn’t a good look to have Charles riding so hard so quick on the poor me pity party or his favorably comparing himself to poor old Uncle Nazi (who he and Wallis got a bit of a rewrite themselves this season) I was waiting for Phillip or someone to bring that stuff up just to see what Charles reaction would have been.
So as far as Charles and Camilla are concerned it wasn’t a good start to a relationship that’s going to take up the rest of the show probably.
Despite everything I’m onto next season. Princess Diana. Margaret Thatcher. (Good Lord the first female Prime Minister is probably going to send Phillip into ‘what did I do with my life tailspin’ number 7,000.) Two of the most written about and documented women of the end of the last century. And considering Thatcher’s relationship with him and Diana and Charles state visit probably a Ronnie/Nancy appearance.
The writers don’t really need to embellish or take liberties with what’s coming because we all know the stories. You don’t need to add anything just let the story breath.