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S04.E01: Gold Stick

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As Elizabeth welcomes Britain's first woman prime minister and Charles meets a young Diana Spencer, an IRA attack brings tragedy to the royal family.

Dropping on Sunday, November 15, 2020.

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What a fantastic first episode!

Mountbatten's death was shocking, even though most of us knew it was going to happen.

Charles Dance is amazing, however, I never really got a handle on Mountbatten or Dickie. Sometimes he seemed like an elegant and kind man and other times he seemed like a pretentious weirdo.

Until the explosion I thought the royal family had the most wonderful life with pretty horses, beautiful country sides, and magnificent castles.

I hated the way Phillip was shaking Charles...he is not tough enough to handle that...unlike Anne.

I also hate that they are still going with the fallacy that Dickie arranged or forced Camilla into marriage with Parker-Bowles.

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Ok, I respect cultural differences, but a bit of old regular crying would have been way less emotionally awkward than the conversation between Philip and Charles.

I don't know if Charles and Diana met like that for the first time, but I had the feeling that she was the kind of quirky girl that ends up boiling your pet rabbit at the end of the movie.

Is GA doing a good work as Thatcher? I'm not British and to me she sounds a bit forced, but maybe Thatcher spoke like that.

 

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Well that was definitely a good start to the season! Fantastic cinematography. I was on the edge of my seat waiting for the boat explosion - they're really just jumping right into it this time.

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I was a little bit disappointed that there was at no point ANY discussion about the political backgrounds of the event. It seemed to gloss over all the events which actually lead to the explosive situation in the first place.

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2 hours ago, Ellaria Sand said:

What a wonderful way to kick-off the new season! I loved the pastoral scenes at Balmorlal, Iceland and at Classiebawn Castle.

It will take time for me to get used to Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher. The first meeting with QE was entertaining in its awkwardness. I look forward to more scenes between these two powerful women. (And then to compare those scenes with Phillip's negative comments about a female prime minister. Looks like he will be a barrel of laughs this season!)  

Diana! Every viewer - including myself - will have a lot of preconceived notions about this relationship. I will try hard to view what's on screen as a dramatization and interpretation of real life events and not expect to see the "truth" (whatever that may mean). Judging by what I've seen so far, Charles appears to be completely charmed by young Diana. She seemed to be a breath of fresh air.

I will be surprised if I don't binge the entire series today.


I think Gillian is nailing it. Here is Thatcher 
 

 

i know what you mean in regards to Diana. I mean. for me. I wasn't even born yet, but you still... know the story. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I

 

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1 minute ago, Daisy said:


I think Gillian is nailing it. Here is Thatcher 

i know what you mean in regards to Diana. I mean. for me. I wasn't even born yet, but you still... know the story. It will be interesting to see how it all plays out. I

 

I didn't mean to imply that she wasn't "nailing it." I remember Thatcher when she was PM. I also remember Meryl Streep's interpretation of her.  This is a tough role to play and, so far, I like what she is doing with it.

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2 minutes ago, Ellaria Sand said:

I didn't mean to imply that she wasn't "nailing it." I remember Thatcher when she was PM. I also remember Meryl Streep's interpretation of her.  This is a tough role to play and, so far, I like what she is doing with it.

 

My goodness am I ever tired. I swear i thought you asked if that's how Thatcher talked (that's why I looked it up lol). I'm sorry! 

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4 hours ago, qtpye said:

I hated the way Phillip was shaking Charles...

I kept thinking Phillip was about to strangle Charles. The resentment he had of Charles and Dickie's relationship was oozing off of the screen.

4 hours ago, Daisy said:

It would have been nice to see Anne's marriage and what not.

If not that they could have at least shown her attempted kidnapping; that was a massive strike against this show for me.

I think this was a really good start to the season.

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8 minutes ago, Daisy said:

 

My goodness am I ever tired. I swear i thought you asked if that's how Thatcher talked (that's why I looked it up lol). I'm sorry! 

Apologies not necessary! I'm so used to GA in other roles that it is taking an adjustment to see/hear her as Thatcher. There is no question that she is doing a great job.

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Yeah, it is kind of strange that Anne is present pretty much all the time, but there is nothing really about her outside of two or three scenes. She is just there to provide commentary.

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5 hours ago, Daisy said:

I honestly think the Queen showed more happiness and emotion in this episode than she did of all season 3. It was so startling!

I agree. Olivia Colman seems finally found her role. 

3 hours ago, Helena Dax said:

Ok, I respect cultural differences, but a bit of old regular crying would have been way less emotionally awkward than the conversation between Philip and Charles.

One actor told me that the art is not to cry yourself, but make your audience cry. 

6 hours ago, Daisy said:

I know the peerage is very small... but i mean. between Anne being involved with Camilla's husband, and Charles being involved with Diana's sister... it kinda squigs me out. 

Camilla's husband wasn't a peer (she is callers Mrs Parker Bowles).

In any case, both things were true irl.

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Well, that started the season off with a bang.

I’ll show myself out...

Seriously though, this episode got me even more excited for the season then I had been, which was already a very high level. Mountbatten’s death was well done, even if would have been nicer to see all the British/Irish tension boiling up as it did in real life. I am also intrigued by the relationship between the Queen and the Thatcher. Two women in power in a mans world who came to their positions in two very different ways should make for great interactions.

I thought Diana’s portrayal was spot in, even if the first meeting had vibes of manic pixie dream girl. You can definitely see what attracted Charles to her, even if they were wrong for each other.

I loved Anne getting back on the horse and was glad she did well. It was cute to see Elizabeth and Phillip cheering her on like normal parents at their kids school sporting competition.

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39 minutes ago, MadyGirl1987 said:

I loved Anne getting back on the horse

That was one thing that confused me.  Did I hear Anne say she had become afraid of riding?  If so, how did that happen?  Did she have a fall?

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2 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

That was one thing that confused me.  Did I hear Anne say she had become afraid of riding?  If so, how did that happen?  Did she have a fall?

I got the impression she had been in a slump and gotten discouraged.

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Did Margaret Thatcher REALLY say that about women?  That they (we) are emotional?   I wasn't even born (my mom was still pregnant with me at the time) when she became PM?

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20 hours ago, Spartan Girl said:

Mountbatten’s death sequence reminded me of the infamous baptism sequence in The Godfather, it was that tense.

Philip really sucks as a father.

I also got the Godfather 'vibe' from that sequence.  

True - Philip was not a good father but I also felt he just really did not like/love Charles much overall.  I don't think he ever thought Charles was man enough to be his son.  I have read that Philip always felt that Anne was the child that should have been the 'oldest son' because of her personality and he (as indicated by him later on) liked Anne much more than Charles.  

Edited by freeser
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15 minutes ago, Spartan Girl said:

Mountbatten’s death sequence reminded me of the infamous baptism sequence in The Godfather, it was that tense.

Good, I'm glad I wasn't the only one. Well, if you're going to crib, crib from the best.

Philip was a bit harsh to Charles, but I'll give him a little bit of a pass, because he was grieving and he was drunk.

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31 minutes ago, MadyGirl1987 said:
34 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

That was one thing that confused me.  Did I hear Anne say she had become afraid of riding?  If so, how did that happen?  Did she have a fall?

I got the impression she had been in a slump and gotten discouraged.

IIRC (from real life; I'm an oldz), she'd had a bad run where her horse balked at taking the jumps and she fell and/or her times weren't good enough for her to place high enough for the next event.

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Did Margaret Thatcher REALLY say that about women?  That they (we) are emotional?   I wasn't even born (my mom was still pregnant with me at the time) when she became PM?

Not sure if she said that, but it sums up her attitude pretty much. Frankly, Imho there has never been a female Prime minister, not really. Because being female isn't just about gender, it is also about a certain attitude. Thatcher acted like a man (and a pretty macho man) to get where she was, and she had no time to even touch the system. I guess she thought that women's right were a waste of time because women just could lift themselves to the top if they just wanted to, because she managed to do it.

I always wondered if she would ever be ready to admit that her version of a better Britain was a complete failure if she saw the results today. But I guess she just would blame others for being "too weak".

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22 minutes ago, swanpride said:

Not sure if she said that, but it sums up her attitude pretty much. Frankly, Imho there has never been a female Prime minister, not really. Because being female isn't just about gender, it is also about a certain attitude. Thatcher acted like a man (and a pretty macho man) to get where she was, and she had no time to even touch the system. I guess she thought that women's right were a waste of time because women just could lift themselves to the top if they just wanted to, because she managed to do it.

I always wondered if she would ever be ready to admit that her version of a better Britain was a complete failure if she saw the results today. But I guess she just would blame others for being "too weak".

It could have been the time.  While things really haven't changed THAT much, it was worse 40+ years ago.  She really DID have to "act like a man," whereas she wouldn't have to (as much, anyway) today.  I'm not sure she'd have that kind of attitude if she were PM in 2020.  Besides, she wouldn't seem "woke."

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All these events happened before my time too, and I never really understood Diana. I'm sure she was a nice woman and she's iconic but it just never resonated with me. 

But I did like the woodsprite costume. I thought it was sweet.

As soon as Lord Mountbatten mentioned the lobster, I remembered what would happen. I liked that the funeral scene was overlapped with the IRA claiming responsibility and drowned out Charles's speech.  That was some explosion though.

Poor Anne, I would have also liked to see her wedding. It felt sort of shoved in there without purpose.

I was aghast that Philip, was jealous of his own son. Just what the hell? You're in your 60's, how is this even reasonable?

 

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To a degree, yes, but Thatcher could have helped to lift up a few women in the party, and she never did. And when I say "lift up" I don't necessarily mean the position of a minister. She was in power for eleven years, a lot of time to make at least some small changes. But that was never her in her interest, she cared more about her big plan, and about keeping her donors happy.

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IMO, Gillian Anderson has got Margaret Thatcher down so well, that I'm probably going to have to watch some X-files as a palate cleanser to get her portrayal out of my mind (not a Thatcher fan).

Diana didn't even look 18 at times, and it's just very creepy to think of a 30 something man taking an interest in her because he needs to marry somebody without a 'past'. 

 

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1 minute ago, Ceindreadh said:

IMO, Gillian Anderson has got Margaret Thatcher down so well, that I'm probably going to have to watch some X-files as a palate cleanser to get her portrayal out of my mind (not a Thatcher fan).

Diana didn't even look 18 at times, and it's just very creepy to think of a 30 something man taking an interest in her because he needs to marry somebody without a 'past'. 

 

I don't think Charles was ever "interested" in Diana.  He was (more or less) FORCED into a relationship with her.  He liked her, but not really in THAT way.  

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1 hour ago, swanpride said:

Thatcher acted like a man (and a pretty macho man) to get where she was

You have a point because I found it downright jarring that they chose to depict her ironing a shirt.  That seemed entirely out-of-character given her personalty and, quite frankly, her social status.  (Surely she had hired help that took care of her domestic chores.)

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2 hours ago, PRgal said:

Did Margaret Thatcher REALLY say that about women?  That they (we) are emotional?   I wasn't even born (my mom was still pregnant with me at the time) when she became PM?

 

1 hour ago, swanpride said:

Not sure if she said that, but it sums up her attitude pretty much. Frankly, Imho there has never been a female Prime minister, not really. Because being female isn't just about gender, it is also about a certain attitude. Thatcher acted like a man (and a pretty macho man) to get where she was, and she had no time to even touch the system. I guess she thought that women's right were a waste of time because women just could lift themselves to the top if they just wanted to, because she managed to do it.

 

51 minutes ago, PRgal said:

It could have been the time.  While things really haven't changed THAT much, it was worse 40+ years ago.  She really DID have to "act like a man," whereas she wouldn't have to (as much, anyway) today.  I'm not sure she'd have that kind of attitude if she were PM in 2020.  Besides, she wouldn't seem "woke."

I don't think it was time. In other countries there used to be a couple women in the government, typically as a minister of social and health or education, so called "soft" matters. 

Thatcher was a typical "queen bee": "I am not like other women: they are weak and emotional, I am strong and reasonable".

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16 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

You have a point because I found it downright jarring that they chose to depict her ironing a shirt.  That seemed entirely out-of-character given her personalty and, quite frankly, her social status.  (Surely she had hired help that took care of her domestic chores.)

Same.  It could be dramatic licence to show that she’s part of the (to quote (or maybe misquote) Drake) “started from the bottom, now I’m here” world.  

 

1 minute ago, Roseanna said:

 

 

I don't think it was time. In other countries there used to be a couple women in the government, typically as a minister of social and health or education, so called "soft" matters. 

Thatcher was a typical "queen bee": "I am not like other women: they are weak and emotional, I am strong and reasonable".

True, but she had zero women. 

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You have a point because I found it downright jarring that they chose to depict her ironing a shirt.  That seemed entirely out-of-character given her personalty and, quite frankly, her social status.  (Surely she had hired help that took care of her domestic chores.)

I didn't mind that, since it underlined that she actually believed in the role of the women...she just thought that she was strong enough to do the job of a man on top of it.

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True, but she had zero women. 

And she pretty much choose to keep it that way. As others pointed out around this time other countries which had MALE leaders already had women in some political positions. Granted, usually related to "Family" or any offices which are considered as "soft" (and which are habitually given to women nowadays btw), but this through and through male cabinet of Thatcher was kind of unusual during that time. I mean, while she was PM, Norway way lead by Gro Harlem Brundtland, who paved the way for a LOT of women. And during the era Kohl the number of female ministers rose from one to three (one of them being naturally Angela Merkel).

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Great episode it you can set aside how they are trying to make terrible people look like the good guys. It was easier for me to separate the hagiography of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillips among others in earlier seasons. With them covering more recent history it’s hard to forget how truly terrible these people are

8 hours ago, swanpride said:

I was a little bit disappointed that there was at no point ANY discussion about the political backgrounds of the event. It seemed to gloss over all the events which actually lead to the explosive situation in the first place.

I feel like this show has glossed over  British occupation of Northern Ireland and the issues in Scotland as well. It’s a show with a very British point of view

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I'm watching this for the second time and again I am AGAIN confused as to Anne's marital status in this episode.  I know that she eventually marries Captain Mark Phillips and he IS mentioned in this episode but the dialog is confusing as to whether he is or is not her husband at this point.  So, okay, off I go to Wikipedia.

She married him in 1973.

Lord Mountbatten was assassinated in August, 1979.

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2 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

I'm watching this for the second time and again I am AGAIN confused as to Anne's marital status in this episode.  I know that she eventually marries Captain Mark Phillips and he IS mentioned in this episode but the dialog is confusing as to whether he is or is not her husband at this point.  So, okay, off I go to Wikipedia.

She married him in 1973.

Lord Mountbatten was assassinated in August, 1979.

I think Zara was born c.1977, so she was even a mother.

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7 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

I'm watching this for the second time and again I am AGAIN confused as to Anne's marital status in this episode.  I know that she eventually marries Captain Mark Phillips and he IS mentioned in this episode but the dialog is confusing as to whether he is or is not her husband at this point.  So, okay, off I go to Wikipedia.

She married him in 1973.

Lord Mountbatten was assassinated in August, 1979.

When discussing whether she should get back to competing, Anne referred to him as her husband (she told her father her husband would also be competing). 

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52 minutes ago, tvrox said:

Anne referred to him as her husband (she told her father her husband would also be competing). 

Yes she did but then she said something that implied they were NOT married.  Or at least that's how I took it, so I was confused.  Which is not a great thing for the show.  If they can confuse an Anglophile like me that can confuse anyone.

 

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23 minutes ago, WatchrTina said:

Yes she did but then she said something that implied they were NOT married.  Or at least that's how I took it, so I was confused.  Which is not a great thing for the show.  If they can confuse an Anglophile like me that can confuse anyone.

 

I had the same question. Phillip said, “He is your husband.” Her response was, “Just about.” I thought the writing for Anne was really bad this episode with nothing to distinguish her from the previous season despite being married with a small son. I thought the show was missing with the timeline again. 

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4 hours ago, WatchrTina said:

You have a point because I found it downright jarring that they chose to depict her ironing a shirt.  That seemed entirely out-of-character given her personalty and, quite frankly, her social status.  (Surely she had hired help that took care of her domestic chores.)

One of the clearest memories I have of Thatcher was an attempt to “feminize” her by filming her carrying out traditional female chores.  The one video that came back to me when I saw her ironing in this episode, was her helpful tips on how to hem a skirt.  “Rrrroll” the hem and don’t iron it down in case you want to adjust the hem later. 

It’s good advice, and I think of it every time I hem a garment, even though I don’t share her politics. But thank God female leaders (mainly) no longer feel obliged to prove their ovaries this way. 

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What a great first episode for Season 4! I'd have to rank this episode higher than any in S3, with the possible exception of "Aberfan."

The suspense leading up to the assassination of Lord Mountbatten was very well done. We all may have known exactly what was coming, but the "when" was intense.

The scene with Philip and Anne as she readies herself to go on the hunt with "the Boss" had me confused about the time frame, as Philip mentions that he wondered if Anne was thinking of the Olympics. Once it is established that was the day of Mountbatten's death, we know we're in 1979, but from Philip's conversation he made it seem this would be Anne's first chance at Olympic competition, when she had, in fact, competed in the '76 Olympics in Montreal. (I remember that because a big deal was made even here in the US that one of the Royals would be competing.) I guess he was speaking of the potential for 1980, but something could have been mentioned about her being part of the U.K. team in '76. That entire scene was a bit unclear as Anne mentions she had spent much of the past year on her back, which made me wonder if she had sustained a serious injury.

The scene with Philip and Charles following Mountbatten's death, was just awful, starting with "Oh, it's you." What an unimaginable amount of jealousy on Philip's part. Would not the instinct have been to pur an arm around your son as you mourn a man you both cared about so deeply? I wasn't expecting any  tears but what about some basic human empathy? He was written as something of a psychopath for this scene. A bit too over the top, IMO.

Also, just as info, Margaret Thatcher was not the first female head of government for a major nation as has been suggested above.
Indira Gandhi was the Prime Minister of India from 1966-77 and again from 1980 until her assassination in 1984.
Golda Meir was the Prime Minister of Israel from 1969–74.

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7 minutes ago, ProudMary said:

That entire scene was a bit unclear as Anne mentions she had spent much of the past year on her back, which made me wonder if she had sustained a serious injury.

I guessed that she was referring to a difficult pregnancy -- one where she ended up confined to bed for a good portion of it -- but I have no idea if that is correct.

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29 minutes ago, ProudMary said:

The scene with Philip and Anne as she readies herself to go on the hunt with "the Boss" had me confused about the time frame, as Philip mentions that he wondered if Anne was thinking of the Olympics. Once it is established that was the day of Mountbatten's death, we know we're in 1979, but from Philip's conversation he made it seem this would be Anne's first chance at Olympic competition, when she had, in fact, competed in the '76 Olympics in Montreal. (I remember that because a big deal was made even here in the US that one of the Royals would be competing.) I guess he was speaking of the potential for 1980, but something could have been mentioned about her being part of the U.K. team in '76. That entire scene was a bit unclear as Anne mentions she had spent much of the past year on her back, which made me wonder if she had sustained a serious injury.

I had to watch it twice to understand what they were saying. When Phillip talked about being proud of having an Olympian in the family it was past tense. She said “an Olympian who spent much of the past year on her backside.” Basically, she had a bad year with falls and was thinking of quitting and Phillip was encouraging to try and return to the Olympics. 

The show put events out of order again because the Badminton trials from the end of the episodes actually happened months before Mountbatten was assassinated. 

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saoirse

Stick to discussion of the episode, please. Discussion or mention of future events is NOT ALLOWED in episode topics, including mention of 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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