Review by Dan Skip Allen
As past seasons have gone by, The Crown has dealt with its fair share of drama, death, and deception. Passing the torch from Claire Foy, Venessa Kirby, and Matt Smith to Olivia Colman, Helena Bonham Carter, and Tobias Menzies as the three leads. The fourth season brings in two new leads to go with these three regulars of the Netflix show: Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher and Emma Corrin as Diana Spencer, the Princess of Wales. These two new characters bring a lot of new drama to the show. This makes for an interesting season four of The Crown.
As the '70s end and the '80s kick off, England is at war with the terroristic IRA. This is also a time of the new Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. She is tasked with dealing with this problem right off the bat in her first year as leader of Great Britain. England has always been at war with other countries about their religious beliefs and Ireland is no different. Separated into North and South, it took a while to get this situation under control. Thatcher needed help from the United States.
While Thatcher was getting things underway as Prime Minister, Prince Charles was still sowing his oats as a bachelor. Of course, he had been under constant scrutiny to find a suitable bride and to get married. This was more difficult than anybody thought. He is in love with Camilla Parker Bowles, but the Crown has stated she isn't a suitable bride for him. Inadvertently, he stumbles across the sister of a friend and this begins his relationship with Diana Spencer, and a tumultuous one at that.
Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) just seems like a sad sack this season. He's always moping about not being able to be with Camilla and being stuck with Diana. Maybe this was how the real Prince Charles was, so he is copying him. It just wasn't that enjoyable to watch. He kind of dragged down the show, even if that was how the character was written and then acted by O'Connor. He was the worst part of season four of The Crown.
The two new leads add quite a bit of story, but the previous leads especially Olivia Colman, have quite a lot to do. She still has to be an intermediary for Thatcher as well as being a mother to her children and friend of sorts to her new daughter-in-law, sometimes having to say the unpopular things nobody wants to hear. She is put in the middle of a lot of the stories that go on this season.
Taken from headlines and writings from Peter Morgan, the show really delves deep into the events of the late '70s and early '80s, from the war at the Falkland Islands to scandals involving Charles and Diana. The show explores a lot of the things that were percolating to the surface during this time in the country's history and the turmoil amongst the people of the country. Leaders and Royales alike had a lot to overcome challenges during these years. The writers delivered on all of it. Reports say the Crown was not happy with their depiction this season of the show. I say it's a television show, it needs to be engaging and interesting. That it was as far as I'm concerned.
I lived through this age of the show. Of course, I wasn't in the rooms or locations these events took place, so I couldn't say what was real or wasn't real. All I can go off of is my memory and what I saw on television or read in American newspapers. It seems to me this was pretty authentic to the real events. The season flowed together nicely as far as I could tell. It's on par if not better than the previous seasons because I remember most of these events from when I was a kid.
This season is authentic to the previous season and the memory of the Crown. It captures the glitz and glamour as well as the tragedy and the triumphs. The main thing it gets is the hardships and the hard times these characters have to live through. It's not all wine and roses for these leaders and royals. As always, this show lives up to the hype and stands out among great dramatic fare. It will surely be nominated for awards come awards season.
The Crown is now streaming on Netflix.