Review: The Crown Season 4

Known for its sublimity in all aspects, from its recreation of a fascinating British history to dazzling sets and casting, the newest season of The Crown has been one of Netflix’s most highly anticipated releases this year.

 

Fans of the show have been waiting for what seems like forever to finally see how the show’s fourth season planned to handle such well-known and controversial figures as Margaret Thatcher and Princess Diana, setting the season up for an undeniably explosive premise. And they did not disappoint. As seen in previous seasons, each of the ten episodes focuses around a significant event in British history, some well-recognised and others less so. And despite the large gaps of time between each episode, as the season begins in 1979 and ends in 1990, each episode still manages to hold its own intensity and curiosity, each hour of the show leaving its viewer desperate for more.

 

The season begins profoundly with an episode centred on both the IRA and the murder of Lord Mountbatten, alongside a close look into Prince Charles’s vastly deteriorated relationships with his family members, evoking a certain sympathy for him that is quick to disappear as the season continues. Thus, the beginning episode sets up the show’s central themes around the Crown’s relationship with political history, anticipating later episodes that evolve around the unrest of the Falklands War and Margaret Thatcher’s disagreements with the Queen over Apartheid sanctions in South Africa. Furthermore, a little over halfway through the season, there is a diversion from the emergent main storyline of the marriage between Charles and Diana. Episode seven, “The Hereditary Principle” recalls the end of season three which concentrated on the mental health of Princess Margaret, as Margaret starts to see a therapist. The episode takes a shocking turn when Margaret discovers members of the extended royal family residing in a mental institution and being completely kept from public knowledge for fear that their disabilities would taint the nation’s trust in the Crown. Both unexpected and startling, this was perhaps amongst one of the most thought-provoking episodes to watch.

 

However, the standout feature on this season of The Crown was undeniably how phenomenal the acting was. Casting in The Crown has always been impeccable, but it reached new heights this season with Gillian Anderson’s chillingly accurate recreation of Margaret Thatcher and the show-stealing performance from Emma Corrin as Princess Diana. In Emma Corrin’s portrayal of one of England’s most beloved historical figures, the viewer watches in both adoration and despair as the young Diana transforms from a shy schoolgirl, in love with her fantasies of love and royalty, into a woman being torn apart by the family and marriage she has entered.

 

The season ends with a poignant speech from Prince Phillip to Diana, in which he warns her that she must learn that her personal misery will never be more important than upholding the image of the monarch, also including the hint of an underlying threat should Diana continue in her poor behaviour. Thus, The Crown ends on an undeniably tragic but enthralling tone, surely making everyone who watched so far to immediately google when the next (and final) season may be expected.