Monday, November 16, 2020

REVIEW: 'The Crown' - Elizabeth Realizes Her Children Are Lost as Adults While Thatcher Prepares for War in 'Favourites'

Netflix's The Crown - Episode 4.04 "Favourites"

While Margaret Thatcher struggles with the disappearance of her favorite child, Elizabeth reexamines her relationships with her four children.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's The Crown.

"Favourites" was written by Peter Morgan and directed by Paul Whittington

At the moment, Queen Elizabeth's job is to stay on the throne for as long as possible. She feels the urgency of that responsibility after assessing that each of her children is lost as adults. She is perplexed at the notion that parents have their favorite children. She certainly doesn't view her relationship with her four children in that context. Others suggest that she actually does. As such, she sees the vital importance of reaching out to see how each of them is doing as adults. What she finds is absolutely horrifying. Now, Philip offers the perspective that Andrew is Elizabeth's favorite child. He says that without any hesitation. The show itself may not earn that assessment or why Philip feels that way. However, it does extend from the understanding of the unique circumstances behind the births of these children. Elizabeth had Charles and Anne quickly in her marriage to Philip. She had them because it was her duty to protect the line of succession. She had to give herself an heir to the throne. She gave Charles a sibling almost as a backup plan to prepare for any situation that could disrupt that lineage. It's the way things have always been done in this family. And then, Elizabeth had Andrew and Edward as a deal she struck in order to remain happy and engaged in her marriage with Philip. It's a sense of logic that she made a long time ago. As such, it's more personal for her. She wanted more children. As such, the outside perspective suggests that she could have bonds with them that extended beyond a sense of duty. They could be the normal side of the family. And yet, nothing in this family is normal. They always suggest that they are no different than anyone else in the country. That has never been true. They always get special treatment. The children can go to any school they want. It doesn't matter how well equipped they are to handle the pressures of the world. In fact, they may all be driven by their selfish desires and egos. Charles is literally building a castle in his image. It's a projection of his insecurity. He has to build this massive monument to himself and then lashes out whenever someone isn't comfortable in this environment. Of course, Elizabeth is in a unique position with him. When it comes to their meeting, she can actually speak frankly and push back on his suggestions of unhappiness. She has always tried her best to prepare him as the future king. That means he has to be carefully managed. He's still lost and adrift. Elizabeth's solution is often to do nothing. She believes enough time will always pass to heal any wounds. That always worked in her own marriage. She expects Anne to listen to the same advice. Instead, that just affirms how much her mother doesn't particularly care about her as a person. That too is devastating and destructive. Anne has that special relationship with Philip. She can confide in him. He cherishes that as well. He will openly say that she is his favorite. He will make that distinction. That openness leads to so much dysfunction though. It means Mark Thatcher shows such a callous disregard for the lives of his teammates after they go missing in the Sahara Desert. He boasts that he was never truly lost. He wanted to forge his own path in life. The Prime Minister actually encourages that. She perceives it as strength. It's actually recklessness. He doesn't have to deal with any consequences either. Instead, his twin sister Carol is meant to feel less than. She wants that universal love from her mother. She will never get it because Margaret made the assessment long ago that Mark was strong and Carol was weak. It's a brutal form of parenting. It causes personal devastation. And yet, it also gives her a firm grasp on how to handle the burgeoning conflict with Argentina in the Falkland Islands. She is willing to take the country to war in order to maintain the perception of strength. It doesn't matter that the economy is in ruins and her government is unpopular. This is the way to prove to the world that the empire remains a force to be reckoned with on a global scale. That's the way she conducts business. It's cruel and dismissive. It makes Elizabeth see her own family dynamics in a new way. It invigorates her to sit on the throne for as long as she can. And yet, preparations have still been made for the future. The conflicts at the moment though are just as serious and damning. The royal family has the peace and clarity of being above it all. The country at large does not as it sends its brave soldiers off to conflict. That battle is imminent and will be life-changing. Thatcher leads the charge while Elizabeth advocates for the royal family to do nothing in their personal lives. Those are the two lanes from which these decisions are being made. It can offer some clarity. And yet, it provides cruelty to many as well. They will have to serve long after this conflict is done. People worry about the future. That's relatable and meaningful. But lives are still being destroyed and lost because the privileged aren't quick to recognize troubling behavior. At worst, they even coddle it and allow it to grow as has seemingly been the case in most of these generational relationships.