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S03.E01: Olding

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The royal family mourns the passing of Winston Churchill. The United Kingdom ushers in a new prime minister, the Labour Party's Harold Wilson whom Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth hear might be a Soviet spy.

Dropping on Netflix on Sunday, November 17, 2019.

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Right back into the thick of things in episode one. The change in cast is seamless so far.

 I'm not overly familiar with this period of British history or Prime Minister Wilson, so there's an element of intrigue that wasn't there with Churchill. I'm determined not to look it up!

Edited by 2727
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Honestly, they confused me a little bit. It might be the translation, but they kept calling Wilson a "Liberal" and I was all "Huh, I don't think that the Lib dems ever provided a PM".

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4 hours ago, 2727 said:

Right back into the thick of things in episode one. The change in cast is seamless so far.

 I'm not overly familiar with this period of British history or Prime Minister Wilson, so there's an element of intrigue that wasn't there with Churchill. I'm determined not to look it up!

Agree...the change in cast was seamless and well done. I was excited about the casting of Tobias Menzies and he did not disappoint (as usual).

Jason Watkins was impressive during his first meeting with the Queen as PM. He had the right amount of bravado and uneasiness. HBC looks stunning in every scene. I’m sure that she will be glorious as Margaret.

Very glad that The Crown has returned.

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And that's why season 2. The marital partnership grown up between Elizabeth and Philip puts the crown on their story. All conveyed behind the eyes and within the gestures of both actors. Early in their first scene, Tobias Menzies took one GIF from Matt Smith's Philip -- that suggestively equine bridling of his head in wordless commentary -- and seemed to distill it through his core and out again, with no ado. "Right," it said. "Here we are."

"Settled sovereign." The word that the courtier avoided was maturity, and that's what's new in the second of the two portraits of the Queen. But both profiles sharply defined and in their clarity, in stark contrast to the public and hidden face within the Rubens portrait -- symbolizing Blunt and the Establishment over which the Queen reigns. 

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I love Olivia Colman, but thought the episode was kind of dumb.  I mean, are we supposed to believe that Elizabeth, after more than a decade on the throne, truly believed that Harold Wilson was a Soviet spy?  Whatever you think of Elizabeth, I never got the impression she would be quite so taken with rumors.  Some of her reactions made it seem as though she expected Wilson to do a triple back flip into her receiving room, strangle her to death and then jump through a window in a daring escape.         

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Well, considering the paranoia back in the day, I can see her being worried about it, but I can't see her jumping to conclusions and not waiting for firm confirmation.

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22 minutes ago, JustDucky said:

The speech Elizabeth gave at the art exhibition made me applaud.  It wasn't complicated, but it was brilliant and well-delivered.

Indeed, it was. It has me wondering if those were the exact words spoken by Quern Elizabeth at the exhibit's actual opening. (I'm too lazy to search for it right now as I'm ready to watch Ep.3 but wanted to comment here before I forget which episode is which!) #BingeWatchIssues The conversation that followed between Philip and the traitor made me glad that I had just re-watched the final episode of S2 yesterday.

So far, I'm pleased with the re-casting across the board. Tobias Menzies is particularly good.

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So somewhere in the royal archives, there is a pillow that says "it's not easy being a Princess" embroidered on it?

I had imagined Churchills funeral to be more elaborate. This show does funeral scenes so well, and having it interspersed with the spy stuff was a letdown.

I wasn't sure about the casting of Tobias Menzies, but I could get used to this.

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6 hours ago, swanpride said:

Honestly, they confused me a little bit. It might be the translation, but they kept calling Wilson a "Liberal" and I was all "Huh, I don't think that the Lib dems ever provided a PM".

It was nothing to do with the Lib dems its that his views were seen as more liberal.

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11 hours ago, Helena Dax said:

We're back!

Loved the bit about the stamps as a comment on the change of actors heh.

Elizabeth and Philip's relationship seems way more relaxed and mature now and the actors have great chemistry. Sadly, you can't say the same about Margaret and her husband.(I mean the relationship between the characters, they seem to be unhappy).

I was half asleep when I watched the first three episodes, and so I'm not quite sure which happened where, so I need to be careful here 😉 .

That said, I was one of the few unsure of the change in cast, no matter how wonderful the actors were, I did so love the first two seasons cast!  

Worries gone!  They were all wonderful, and I did appreciate the whole slight tongue in cheek "new stamps" way of approaching the cast change.  It skated close to, but a decent distance from the line of "camp" and I adored it.

6 hours ago, Ellaria Sand said:

Agree...the change in cast was seamless and well done. I was excited about the casting of Tobias Menzies and he did not disappoint (as usual).

Jason Watkins was impressive during his first meeting with the Queen as PM. He had the right amount of bravado and uneasiness. HBC looks stunning in every scene. I’m sure that she will be glorious as Margaret.

Very glad that The Crown has returned.

I loved it, and I agree that the PM captured just the right feel there.  Margaret is going to be so wonderful!

2 hours ago, txhorns79 said:

I love Olivia Colman, but thought the episode was kind of dumb.  I mean, are we supposed to believe that Elizabeth, after more than a decade on the throne, truly believed that Harold Wilson was a Soviet spy?  Whatever you think of Elizabeth, I never got the impression she would be quite so taken with rumors.  Some of her reactions made it seem as though she expected Wilson to do a triple back flip into her receiving room, strangle her to death and then jump through a window in a daring escape.         

At that time, and certainly a bit later, in 1985, Russian spies were coming out of the woodwork, and nearly all were a shock and surprise.  She didn't seem to jump right on that bandwagon, but gradually began to suspect more and more.  I completely bought that.

How does one deal with a traitor, or a suspected traitor?  I thought she walked those lines well.  After all, Phillip's information from his "lunch club" had always been pretty accurate before, so, I can see her listening carefully to her husband there.

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It was nothing to do with the Lib dems its that his views were seen as more liberal

Yeah, I got that (eventually) but I was first a little bit confused.

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OK, this is bizarre. After ignoring the Queen’s other surviving  uncle, Henry Duke of Gloucester, he suddenly pops up in this episode at dinner and his birthday party, but what isn’t shown is that he had a near fatal car accident (possibly due to a stroke) on the way home from Churchill’s funeral. I mean, I thought that was the whole reason that they had him in this episode. Very odd choice on the part of the writer.

Yay for not replacing Lithgow for his one last scene. Also, a good explanation of why Blunt was able to continue in the Queen’s employ even after being unmasked. Loved the Queen’s interactions with Wilson.

I’m liking Menzies more as a more subdued, older Philip than Colman as Queen. I think that she’s showing less humanity somehow, but maybe that is on purpose. 

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4 minutes ago, Yokosmom said:

I’m liking Menzies more as a more subdued, older Philip than Colman as Queen. I think that she’s showing less humanity somehow, but maybe that is on purpose. 

I love the irritation and tension between Philip and Elizabeth, especially during the she's making noise endlessly, he has the TV turned up scene.

I couldn't help but think that Philip still at his "lunch club" was a not so subtle hint that he's still cheating on her.  Along with their attitudes to one another, it made me feel like they had reached the partnership phase of marriage, or rather, the acceptance phase.

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1 hour ago, Yokosmom said:

OK, this is bizarre. After ignoring the Queen’s other surviving  uncle, Henry Duke of Gloucester, he suddenly pops up in this episode at dinner and his birthday party, but what isn’t shown is that he had a near fatal car accident (possibly due to a stroke) on the way home from Churchill’s funeral. I mean, I thought that was the whole reason that they had him in this episode. Very odd choice on the part of the writer.

Also, the Duke of Gloucester's birthday was at the end of March and Churchill died in January.  

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4 hours ago, Umbelina said:

After all, Phillip's information from his "lunch club" had always been pretty accurate before, so, I can see her listening carefully to her husband there.

She's the Queen.  She has access or can get her staff to access information that is a lot better than Phillip's lunch club.  For example, she seemed to honestly believe there was a real possibility Wilson had poisoned his predecessor, when it turned out he died related to lupus.  That's a whole bunch of silliness.       

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5 hours ago, ProudMary said:

So far, I'm pleased with the re-casting across the board. Tobias Menzies is particularly good.

I think he is particularly gifted at playing unlikeable characters, so yeah. 

The first role I ever saw Samuel West play was Anthony Blunt in Cambridge Spies. He was good in that so I guess they figured that was one less role to cast for this production.

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49 minutes ago, txhorns79 said:

She's the Queen.  She has access or can get her staff to access information that is a lot better than Phillip's lunch club.  For example, she seemed to honestly believe there was a real possibility Wilson had poisoned his predecessor, when it turned out he died related to lupus.  That's a whole bunch of silliness.       

Except they don't seem to always tell her everything, for example, when Winston had his strokes.  

I'm just pointing out that Philip's lunch club definitely seemed to include members of cabinet, and spies, and an upper class assortment of military, business, and political leaders, probably along with a diplomat or 9.  In a few episodes Philip told Elizabeth more than she had learned on her own, for example, the details about the Suez Canal, and a few other things I can't bring to mind right now.

Philip, excluded from the BOX, seemed to develop multiple sources of his own to keep abreast of events and politics, and they seemed to share information and women freely.  So, just IMO of course, Elizabeth has learned that Philip certainly knows quite a bit.  I don't think she'd dismiss his intel out of hand.  If anything, she might trust him more.

In this episode for example, they, her government, KNEW about the art historian long before they decided it was time to clue her in.

Edited by Umbelina
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16 hours ago, 2727 said:

Right back into the thick of things in episode one. The change in cast is seamless so far

I have one small nitpick:  both Elizabeth and Margaret have blue eyes and they were recast with actors who have brown eyes.  There was a flashback scene with them as children and the actors had blue eyes.  I love OC and HBC, but I find the eye color thing a distraction.  That being said, I watched all ten episodes today and loved it.

I especially like the casting of Prince Phillip and Prince Charles.

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We return to another season of royal hijinks, now neck deep into the cold war! With the passing of Winston, it really does feel like the end of an era. Great to have this show back!

I thought that the changes in casting were pretty seamless, and I was a bit worried. I mean, I cant complain about Olivia Colman and Tobias Menzies and I knew they would be excellent, but I didnt know if they could just jump right into these parts after I got used to the original cast, but I think it worked really well. The scene with the postage was a nice way to show the passing of time. 

It seems like Elizabeth and Philip have settled into a more comfortable partnership, its too  bad that it sounds like Margaret's marriage isnt going as well. I mean, I know how this goes, but its still too bad considering how much Margaret wanted it to work. Of course, the cracks were already showing last season which was set years ago from this, so its not surprising. 

The story about the royal art historian passing information to the KGB is so wild, that it has to be true. That speech that the queen gave was pitch perfect, filled with so much double meaning and nuance, with so much buried anger and even hurt at this betrayal. 

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The fact that Blunt was allowed to stay in Elizabeth’s employ after his secret confession is so bizarre to me. I understand the need to keep up appearances, and I get that he was given immunity - but quietly dismissing him should still have been an option.

Blunt threatening to reveal Philip’s adultery is an interesting theory. But why would Elizabeth (who wasn’t there to hear the threat) agree to keep him on?

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I thought they overdid the stuff with Wilson a bit.  The basic idea that a lot of people in the more Tory circles would be alarmed at any Labour government is certainly on point, but at points they were acting like he was somebody they knew nothing about and had come from nowhere, when he had been a senior Labour frontbencher for well over a decade at that point.

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I was unsure how about the cast switch over. I know why they did it but it can be hard to adjust to a new cast. No matter how great the cast is to see Olivia Colman instead after liking Claire Foy for two seasons. But it worked. It took no time at all to adjust to seeing them in the roles. I liked seeing Elizabeth and Philip getting along whether its love or settle in and comfort they seem in a better place. Which is nice. I was so tired of Matt Smith's character always yelling, whining and treating his wife like crap.

Elizabeth jumping to the wrong conclusions about Wilson made sense. Aside from the rumors he seemed like the type that you'd think to be a spy. Turning out it was someone else that seemed so unlikely. That's usually the spy. I wish I could say I surprised he kept his job because otherwise it would make the government and intelligence look bad. 

I loved her speech. It was awesome and spot on. I liked Philip's attempt to tell him off only to have it turned around on him. 

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I am happy for The Crown to be back, but as much as I love Olivia Colman it was jarring to see us go from Claire Foy to her.  And I was trying to think about the age of Elizabeth at that time.  Remember we just saw a beautiful young Elizabeth competing in a way with Jackie Kennedy.  And now she is suddenly old and frumpy?

The storyline is great and made me look up all kinds of things.  Google Anthony Blunt.  It will take you to learn more about Michael Straight, which will take you to the Auchinchloss family which is also linked to the Bouviers and the Kennedys.  Who knew?

https://www.washingtonpost.com/history/2019/11/17/fact-checking-the-crown-did-queen-elizabeth-let-known-kgb-spy-work-buckingham-palace/

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I was kind of wondering why they did the switch now. I initially assumed that the show would cover more time, but since it pretty much got stuck around 1970, there was really no reason to make the switch just yet. Unless they somehow thought that now that Charles is an adult, Elizabeth just has to look more matronly to match him.

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Also, a good explanation of why Blunt was able to continue in the Queen’s employ even after being unmasked.

Just exactly what was Blunt hinting at? Wondering about drug-fueled orgies, or the more routine affairs.

I love OC in this. I've seen Claire Foy in at least three roles, and her face is often an impassive mask. I assume it's meant to be stoicism, which Elizabeth has in spades, but OC conveyed some emotion and reaction while retaining the stoicism, and Foy generally didn't. She and Matt Smith bored me.

Always a treat to see Menzies.

Those horrible 60s boxy pastel suits. Many women wore them and they were so unflattering.

Looks like HBC (Head Bitch in Charge? Just kidding) will do justice to playing Margaret. It would be so easy to slide into cartoon.

Loved the photography and production values.

With this set of actors, this season will be a yummy treat and I'm going to avoid binging to make it last.

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1 hour ago, pasdetrois said:

Just exactly what was Blunt hinting at? Wondering about drug-fueled orgies, or the more routine affairs.

The Profumo Affair, depicted in season 2's Mystery Man. The Profumo Affair had helped lead to the end of longtime Tory governance, so Blunt was also hinting that any connection to the Queen's consort -- if made public -- might do the same for the monarchy. 

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I'm so glad this show is back.  It reminds me of how magnificent television can be.

I found this episode incredibly interesting, mostly because I had no real previous knowledge of the situation it portrayed.  I really had no clue where it was going and was actually convinced that it was the PM and not the curator who was the spy.

I also spent a far amount of time on IMDB trying to figure out where I've seen a number of the supporting actors.  I'm a bit haunted by the actor who plays Wilson.  He seems so familiar, although I have seen very little (maybe none) of his previous work.

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7 hours ago, andromeda331 said:

Elizabeth jumping to the wrong conclusions about Wilson made sense. Aside from the rumors he seemed like the type that you'd think to be a spy. Turning out it was someone else that seemed so unlikely. That's usually the spy. I wish I could say I surprised he kept his job because otherwise it would make the government and intelligence look bad. 

But couldn't they just announce that he'd decided to retire, or make up some other innocuous reason for why he was leaving? (I get that their hands were tied once he revealed he had the paintings of Philip, but they seemed to be willing to let him stay on even before that revelation.)

7 hours ago, bannana said:

And I was trying to think about the age of Elizabeth at that time.  Remember we just saw a beautiful young Elizabeth competing in a way with Jackie Kennedy.  And now she is suddenly old and frumpy?

Just a year after the end of the Jackie Kennedy episode! (And less than a year after the end of the season two finale.)

I'd have guessed that they'd skip ahead a few years. I figured the first season was primarily about the 50s, and the second season primarily about the 60s, and the third would pick up with the '70s. But apparently not.

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Great episode!  I'm so glad to have The Crown back.  

While I wonder if they could have gone another year with the old cast, (the new cast look noticeably older), the show has not lost a step with this new cast.  Olivia Colman is terrific as Elizabeth and this show continues to knock it out of the park when it comes to casting the Prime Minister role.  Jason Watkins is a terrific addition to the cast.

So glad that we got one more scene with John Lightgow as Winston.  It really felt like the end of an era and Colman's monologue to him as great.

I also get the need to keep up appearances but I can't believe they kept that traitorous snake Blunt as the Palace for another eight years.

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14 hours ago, monakane said:

I have one small nitpick:  both Elizabeth and Margaret have blue eyes and they were recast with actors who have brown eyes.  There was a flashback scene with them as children and the actors had blue eyes.  I love OC and HBC, but I find the eye color thing a distraction.  That being said, I watched all ten episodes today and loved it.

I especially like the casting of Prince Phillip and Prince Charles.

I agree about the eye color.  I find it highly annoying when shows make this glaringly obvious mistake !  Can't they at least wear colored lenses or CGI their eyes?  Ugh.   I found it highly distracting to the point of taking away from the storyline.    

Edited by jnymph
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I'll be the lone dissenter here and say I think they should have kept Claire Foy and Matt Smith for at least another season. The change was so abrupt in such a short time span. Last season they were meeting JFK and that was 1961. This episode took place in 1964 and suddenly Elizabeth looks about 20 years older. I think this would have worked better if they were jumping ahead 10 years or more. I'm sure by the end of the season that much time will have passed but it just feels like everyone has aged too much in three years. 

Also, Elizabeth gave birth to Prince Edward in 1964, at the age of 38. Olivia Colman is 45 and, arguably, looks like she's beyond child bearing age.

That said I'm sure I'll get used to the cast. I think Tobias Menzies might be on the short side to play Phillip but they seem to be doing a good job with the camera angles.

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Yeah, I think I commented elsewhere that I would have waited with the change, too. I thought it was because they would cover a bigger time span, but it feels as if the Crown has suddenly realised that if they continue in the speed the show had beforehand, they would touch to current events by season seven, and getting in areas which are more difficult to research (because naturally certain information are only available once they are deemed to not being damaging anymore) even earlier.

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1 hour ago, Blakeston said:

But couldn't they just announce that he'd decided to retire, or make up some other innocuous reason for why he was leaving? (I get that their hands were tied once he revealed he had the paintings of Philip, but they seemed to be willing to let him stay on even before that revelation.)

The real story about why Blunt was protected, according to The Daily Beast.

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Well, whatever the reason was, the one given in the show makes zero sense. Why the hell should the MI-5 try to hide the existence of the spy to preserve trust when the information about him came from the Americans in the first place.

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swanpride: It is confusing. Wilson was small-l liberal. BUT until the rise of the Labour Party in the early 20th century, the two main parties were Conservatives ("Tories") and the Liberal Party ("Whigs"). If you take a look at Gilbert and Sullivan's IOLANTHE you'll see these are the two parties when that was written. After Labour became the bigger party, the Liberal party faded for some time. Then, in the 1980s, it merged with a new party, the Social Democrats (I think mostly comprising former Conservatives), to form today's Liberal Democrats. The LibDems have never had a PM; but the old Liberal Party did.

Re the eye color: I wouldn't have noticed in this, but it drove me nuts when in the movie ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA they cast Jennifer Connolly (brown eyes) to play the child version of the adult character played by Elizabeth McGovern (blue eyes). Also in DOWNTON ABBEY apparently it bothered no one but me that both the Downton parents had blue eyes and their three daughters all had brown eyes. I kept expecting the show to disclose long-term infidelity on McGovern's character's part...but it never did.

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So what? My father has grey eyes (like a lot of people in his family) and my mother something between brown and green (while most people in her family had blue eyes). My eyes are so dark brown, they are nearly black. Got them from my grandfather (on my mothers side). Genes are sometimes a strange thing. While parents with blue eyes often have children with blue eyes, it's not some sort of hard rule.

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On 11/17/2019 at 12:28 PM, Aliferously said:

I wasn't sure about the casting of Tobias Menzies, but I could get used to this.

I thought Tobias was perfect casting, so I'm happy with it.

21 hours ago, Umbelina said:

I love the irritation and tension between Philip and Elizabeth, especially during the she's making noise endlessly, he has the TV turned up scene.

That was both hilarious in the "established married couple" way, and that Phillip had the servant turning up the sound when he could have almost leaned over to do it himself. Ah, the laziness of privilege.

7 hours ago, pasdetrois said:

I love OC in this. I've seen Claire Foy in at least three roles, and her face is often an impassive mask. I assume it's meant to be stoicism, which Elizabeth has in spades, but OC conveyed some emotion and reaction while retaining the stoicism, and Foy generally didn't. She and Matt Smith bored me.

This is definitely one of those mileage varies issues. I thought Claire showed tons of emotion in a seemingly passive face. I love Olivia too, so I'm enjoying her version as well.

5 hours ago, OtterMommy said:

I also spent a far amount of time on IMDB trying to figure out where I've seen a number of the supporting actors.  I'm a bit haunted by the actor who plays Wilson.  He seems so familiar, although I have seen very little (maybe none) of his previous work.

The man does have tons of credits. I've seen him in a couple of things, but don't remember him in them. But I finally found Being Human - which is the one show I remember both him and his character.

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10 minutes ago, swanpride said:

So what? My father has grey eyes (like a lot of people in his family) and my mother something between brown and green (while most people in her family had blue eyes). My eyes are so dark brown, they are nearly black. Got them from my grandfather (on my mothers side). Genes are sometimes a strange thing. While parents with blue eyes often have children with blue eyes, it's not some sort of hard rule.

Eye color is a strange thing. Few inherited traits are absolute. Typically speaking, two completely blue eyed parents won't produce a brown eyed child - as blue is a recessive gene and brown is dominant. On the other hand, I have two blue eyed children because my husband has blue eyes, and my mother did as well, even though I have dark brown eyes.

That being said, though it annoys momentarily, I can generally hand wave it if the acting is good. some people can't tolerate contact lenses, and CGI is expensive.

Edited by Clanstarling
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Please stick to the episode; deeper discussion of the cast is best suited  for the cast topic, while as always, future history is a spoiler beyond this episode. Thank you!

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5 hours ago, swanpride said:

Well, whatever the reason was, the one given in the show makes zero sense. Why the hell should the MI-5 try to hide the existence of the spy to preserve trust when the information about him came from the Americans in the first place.

That might be the point.  This was going on right under MI-5's noses and they missed it.  They needed to be told by folks who were clear across the ocean. 

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I saw real affection between Elizabeth and Phillip in this episode that I liked. He did that cute kiss goodbye moment. Then he took her by the hand to lead her off stage while giving the spy a dirty look. Then he asked to speak with the spy to try to persuade him to leave the palace quietly. In both of those scenes, he seemed protective of Elizabeth. 

I also noted his crankiness when she noisily buttered her toast while he was trying to watch the news, but that didn’t seem like a sign that there was no love or affection left between them. It seemed like normal everyday annoying things a spouse does sometimes.

It’s certainly Margaret and Tony who are a disaster. He hates her at this point, which is just sad. 

Finally, after this first episode, I have every confidence in the recast. I think Tobias Menze is playing Philip very similarly to how Matt did, especially in their speaking style. That goes for Olivia and Claire too. They really nailed those speaking patterns. I also noticed that Olivia folds her hands the same, and Tobias puts one hand in his front pocket the same too, so they do some physical ticks to make them seem familiar to us in these roles.

Edited by Fallacy
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23 hours ago, atlantaloves said:

Okay everybody, is this season totally binge worthy? I am gearing up to start watching! Can't wait. 

Yes! I've binged it once and I'm doing it again to catch stuff I missed the first time around. 

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As noted above, I was unhappy with the mishandling of the Duke of Gloucester (especially since closed captioning kept referring to him as the Duke of Kent). I would like to see more of the extended royal family. I also felt Churchill's funeral was lacking in grandeur. So far I am happy enough with the recasts.

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I was somewhat disappointed with Churchill's funeral. I wanted it to look more impressive, although that would have cost a fortune. Still, it's Churchill, and his final send off was a very big deal. He got the kind of funeral Royals received. He lay in state, and Big Ben was muted.  They could have talked more about this even if they couldn't afford to show it.

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2 hours ago, toolazy said:
8 hours ago, swanpride said:

Well, whatever the reason was, the one given in the show makes zero sense. Why the hell should the MI-5 try to hide the existence of the spy to preserve trust when the information about him came from the Americans in the first place.

That might be the point.  This was going on right under MI-5's noses and they missed it.  They needed to be told by folks who were clear across the ocean. 

Anthony Blunt was as deeply Establishment as anyone: the right family, the rights schools, etc. His betrayals shook the British intelligence community to its core. (It shook the American intelligence community, too, and fueled a bunch of mole searches that ruined more than one career.)

There's a wonderful Alan Bennett play called A Question of Attribution, in which the queen and Blunt discuss art, but the undercurrents are about her maybe knowing he's a Soviet spy, and they spar very entertainingly. There was a bit of that in Elizabeth's speech at the exhibition.

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saoirse

A reminder that discussion/mention of future events is not allowed in episode topics. This includes mentioning individuals who have not yet appeared, or events that occur in future decades. Posts will be removed; repeated violations may incur further sanctions.

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