This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Netflix released the whole season the same day.
I Am The Death Smog Of London On The Crown
It's not all my fault, I swear!
Look, I know at least 12,000 people died because of my four-day visit to London, but you can't blame me. I was only a symptom -- of cold weather, way too much poor-quality postwar coal, a showrunner who can't keep his hands off a visual allegory, and Winston Churchill's messed-up midcentury environmental priorities. Hear me out!
I know it seems like I'm just a convenient narrative device: I'm a fog, and everyone's confused and can't see the way forward. Get it? It's a metaphor! But I'm also a genuine historical event that took place during Elizabeth's early reign, and a lot of people (Americans, at least) haven't heard about me, so I'm fair game as a visually appealing history lesson and organizing principle. It's unclear whether all this behind-the-scenes inter-party wrangling actually took place while I was hanging around, but I look pretty cool and I saved so much money by turning this episode into something of a bottle episode that they had plenty to spend on aerial shots of Philip and Peter Townsend in flight!
Now. Did I kill Venetia Scott, the rando non-royal inexplicably included in this show? I mean, if you're asking whether I caused such poor visibility that a bus plowed into her, then yes, I may have had something to do with it -- though in the technical and physical sense, it was more of a blunt-force trauma thing.
And in the abstract and the moral sense, I'm not to blame at all -- you'd have to go to showrunner Peter Morgan for that. Because if there's anyone that needs killing off for the sake of cynically redeeming her powerful old-dude boss while he's in a tough spot, it's an ambitious and enthusiastic young woman. Don't you see? She read his biography and then quoted it back to him, and that kind of thirsty behavior cannot stand. She was too good and too pretty for this world (and also maybe too close to Churchill's bathing routine for comfort, if you know what I mean), so better to have her be insulted by an informed doctor and dispatch her now via freak weather event/mostly preventable environmental disaster/bus. If it hadn't been me, it would have been someone else.
And while we're on the subject, was it I who almost forced Churchill out of office, only to give in at the last second? Well, kiiiiiind of. If I had stuck around for just a little longer, the Queen might have been forced to take Churchill to task for his blatant disregard for my devastating effects. However! I also wouldn't have existed were it not for Churchill's earlier decision that cleaner-burning power stations weren't a priority, so ultimately, that's all him -- and as for lifting just as the Queen called him in for a come-to-Jesus, well, that was just style points on my end. In a sense, everybody got what he or she wanted: Churchill got to remain Prime Minister, the Queen didn't have to ask him to step down, Philip got to continue his flying lessons, and the Queen didn't have to tell him he couldn't. YOU'RE WELCOME, everyone.
If there's somebody on this show I wouldn't consider interfering with -- someone who would simply take to her bed and have a cigarette and go on with her life -- it's Queen Mary of Teck, whose vision remains perfectly clear regardless of literal visibility. This seems like a purposeful comparison on Peter Morgan's part, as everybody else fumbles around in the fog. Mary spouts off clearly and concisely on the divine right of kings and on the Queen's duty to "do nothing and say nothing" as much as possible. (The Queen seems skeptical, though she's smart enough not to back-talk.) Might it be useful for the Queen to be a new kind of monarch? Even if it is, she won't be experimenting with new governing styles as long as her grandma's around, and I can't blame her. Even after the time she's already spent on the throne, the Queen's vision still seems blurry, and she certainly can't go up against Mary of Teck (or anyone else, really) when she's at that kind of disadvantage.