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saoirse

S02.E08: Dear Mrs. Kennedy

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Inspired by Jackie Kennedy and against her government's wishes, Elizabeth takes an unconventional approach to resolving an issue with Ghana.

 

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17 hours ago, saoirse said:

I thought that it was odd that Mrs. Kennedy didn't follow protocol when meeting the Queen - she always struck me as someone who made sure to know that sort of thing 

I don't think that happened irl. President Kennedy's father had been the US Ambassador, the family met the royal family and her sister married Billy Cavendish. In The Death of a President by William Machester Jackie is instructed that as a wife to a head of state she doesn't need to curtsy.

That reminds me that the Finnish president, Mauno Koivisto, angered that Diana came late to baptize the ship that the Finns had made and that the Britis press ignored him, prohibited his companions to curtsy to her, as showing allegiance to a foreign power would be regarded as treason.

Re: the Radziwills. Didn't Jackie try to get the Queen invite also them but that didn't succeed because of divorce?

13 hours ago, PinkRibbons said:

Can someone explain to me what Elizabeth realized when she saw Jackie was still wearing her bloodstained suit? I'm feeling incredibly dense.

That although she had been unhappy because of his frequent infedilities, her love for him was stronger than her hurt feelings.

Irl, Jackie was many time urged to change her clothes but she "wanted show them what they have done". We have seen this scene so many times that we don't really understand how horrible it was to her: she wasn't the only woman whose husband has been killed, but it was rare that the wife was present, and so near that she was in danger to be killed herself. Also, when she decided to walk in the funeral, whether it was safe.

Whatever Philip may have done, he never publicly humilated Elizabeth like Jack Kennedy who would leave the party and his wife in order to have sex with some woman.  That's a big difference.    

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58 minutes ago, Bama said:

Anyone know how accurate the things Jackie supposedly said about QE were?

The looks of pain and hurt and insecurity that flitted across Claire Foy's face all the while trying to hold her poise was remarkable acting.

Jackie IRL *was* very critical IIRC. I don't know if the comments were word for word accurate but that much is true. (I'll try and dig up some articles) 

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17 minutes ago, Cirien said:

Jackie IRL *was* very critical IIRC. I don't know if the comments were word for word accurate but that much is true. (I'll try and dig up some articles) 

That kind of criticism is often due to envy: because somebody has something you don't (in this case, Elizabeth's hereditary position that was for life whereas Jackie's position was due to her husband and was temporary), you put her down with other things she doesn't have. F.ex. when some woman has a successful career whereas you don't, you critize her lack of cooking skills.

The other reason may have Jackie's unhappiness because her husband's constant philandeering. In order to avoid to see pity in the others' eyes, you amuse them by ridiculing somebody else.       

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I was impressed with all the horses (stunning) and guards that the Queen brought out to welcome Mrs Kennedy. That was quite the staged impression she was trying to give her right down to the ones on the stairs wearing armor. 

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As a fan of Jackie’s style (and follower of Tom and Lorenzo’s Mad Men and The Crown style blogs) this episode really does show how fresh and modern she presented herself as compared to Elizabeth, whose gown read more Prom 1955. I thought Liz’s suit at their tea was a bit more sleek and Chanel compared to her usual at-home wear.

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8 hours ago, irisheyes said:

Just started watching, but I love the Queen Mother banging on the TV and QE wanting her to stop, “It’s rented!”  Pretty sure she can spring for a TV of her own. ?

It reminds me of the episode when Mountbatten comes for lunch and tells Elizabeth that the food is dreadful "It's like the schoolroom - everything that should be hot is cold and vice-versa", and then in Paterfamilias we find out that

 

Spoiler

The heir to the throne is living like someone who's homeless.

 

I love how the glamour is being taken out of the image of the Royal Family in that time - it remember reading that Diana got a real culture shock when she experienced all this (though she went to boarding school herself, so it shouldn't have been new to her!).

 

But all those horses and horse guards were my  favourite part of the episode too - I love a power play like that.

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I’m in so deep on the binge watching.  This is terrible:  I’m going to spend 10 hours this weekend watching this thing!  This show is so enthralling, though.  This was another hour that just flew by.

Funniest moment award for me was when they were on the plane from Ghana, Elizabeth asked if the stories were positive or negative, and when told they were positive, she “acquiesced” and said that she would take a quick look.

As an American, I’ve grown up with Jackie Kennedy on a bit of a pedestal and heard the story of the raving success of the France trip many times, so I was a little taken aback by the somewhat uncouth presentation of both Kennedys in London at first.  I get not curtsying because the American establishment to this day ties themselves in knots if an American leader is perceived to show any subservience to others, even if it is the customary sign of greeting or respect (like bowing in Japan).  But the incorrect title usage seemed odd.

I wanted to say to fictional Jackie that she was one to criticize the Queen for being incurious and dull when fictional Jackie was kind of a dud on their private tour:  she seemed bored by the throne room and steered the conversation to how shy she is when Elizabeth was keeping it respectfully professional and noting interesting things about the palace.  If I were imagining a conversation between them, I might have thought that the famous White House restoration that Jackie undertook would have come up.

I felt bad for Jackie with the foot in mouth at the Radizwell dinner, though.  That was a kind explanation that the writer imagined for why Jackie may have crapped on the royal family like that.

A past episode mentioned how Elizabeth was a little cold with Charles (which I haven’t really seen on the show to this point).  I actually thought that the end of this episode was a good follow-up demonstrator of how perhaps Elizabeth’s perceived coldness comes to pass.  She is not outwardly emotional, and she feels bad for not revealing more of herself during the apology, but Philip, like everyone else in her life, reinforces that she’s right not to express herself personally like that (something she’s been told since the moment she became queen).  So it’s not hard to imagine that she would have been a bit remote with her family, as well.

Thoroughly enjoyable episode, although I agree that JFK was badly miscast and not convincingly written.

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6 hours ago, Peace 47 said:

I wanted to say to fictional Jackie that she was one to criticize the Queen for being incurious and dull when fictional Jackie was kind of a dud on their private tour:  she seemed bored by the throne room and steered the conversation to how shy she is when Elizabeth was keeping it respectfully professional and noting interesting things about the palace.  If I were imagining a conversation between them, I might have thought that the famous White House restoration that Jackie undertook would have come up.

I also wondered why that wasn't spoken about as it would have leveled the playing field (as much as one could when dealing with the Queen). Plus Jackie Kennedy was known on the equestrian circuit and the Queen rode as well. Horses and riding the hunt would have been another topic of conversation that would have been "safe" for them. Actually I'm a little surprised that so little has been said about the Queens fondness for riding. Yes, we have seen her astride but her deep love for horses and her beloved Corgis (shown) runs deep. 

Edited by Mindthinkr · Reason: Wasn't instead of was! Big Difference!
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On 12/8/2017 at 10:10 PM, PinkRibbons said:

Can someone explain to me what Elizabeth realized when she saw Jackie was still wearing her bloodstained suit? I'm feeling incredibly dense.

After rewatching: that Jackie had done it on purpose (explanation above).

7 hours ago, Peace 47 said:

As an American, I’ve grown up with Jackie Kennedy on a bit of a pedestal and heard the story of the raving success of the France trip many times, so I was a little taken aback by the somewhat uncouth presentation of both Kennedys in London at first.  I get not curtsying because the American establishment to this day ties themselves in knots if an American leader is perceived to show any subservience to others, even if it is the customary sign of greeting or respect (like bowing in Japan).  But the incorrect title usage seemed odd.

I wanted to say to fictional Jackie that she was one to criticize the Queen for being incurious and dull when fictional Jackie was kind of a dud on their private tour:  she seemed bored by the throne room and steered the conversation to how shy she is when Elizabeth was keeping it respectfully professional and noting interesting things about the palace.  If I were imagining a conversation between them, I might have thought that the famous White House restoration that Jackie undertook would have come up.

I felt bad for Jackie with the foot in mouth at the Radizwell dinner, though.  That was a kind explanation that the writer imagined for why Jackie may have crapped on the royal family like that.

Jackie's words were witty (and irl she also criticized White House before her) and one can't deny that there was truth in them: Elizabeth was not famous for her intellectual hobbies or conversational skills and Britain was going downhill. (Cf. what the Americans said about the sleeping Eden in S1.) 

However, as there seemed to be a private understanding and even friendshp between them, Jackie was shown to be a cold and rude snob who played another what she really was.

Before all, whatever Jackie thought, it was her job as First Lady to make a good impression on the head of state of an important ally (as it was also Elizabeth job also ) and teherfore it was stupid of her to speak in a dinner where there was also British citizens present. 

Therfore, I am not even sure how sincere her apology was: she was certainly sorry that Elizabeth learned of her words but did she really admire Elizabeth or did she only say it? 

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3 minutes ago, Roseanna said:

 

Therfore, I am not even sure how sincere her apology was: she was certainly sorry that Elizabeth learned of her words but did she really admire Elizabeth or did she only say it? 

I think she was embarrassed (ashamed if the reason was the "cocktail") and was told to make nice. 

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This episode made me so emotional as it was a pivotal time for West Africa. People have no idea how important Kwame Nkrumah was to Ghana and Africa as a whole. His somewhat ruthlessness was needed to liberate, yes liberate the people of Ghana and Africa from years of European rule. Elizabeth would have been wise to appear onboard with the changes.Besides the PR,  they were going to gain their independence with or without the Crown's consent. Te country like most in the British colony honor the queen by representing it in it's  National Coat of Arms.

I wasn't impressed with Michael C Hall as Kennedy. What was with the accent. Did love Jackie and the Queen's scenes though.

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Definitely my least favourite episode so far.

Nothing really rang true for me, I know Jackie Kennedy was critical of the Queen/Buckingham Palace but was it really at a party under the influence of Dr Feelgood's amphetamines? Yeesh, Michael C. Hall was... not good. His accent was awful, not to mention the fact he barely resembles JFK. Also not a fan of the insinuation of domestic violence it felt kind of unnecessary. Jodi Balfour was okay but she wasn't enough to save the plot line for me. 

Could they not afford Matthew Goode and Greg Wise for this episode? If Porchey (surprised to see him again) was at this dinner, then I don't see why the Queen's brother-in-law would not be there. As Elizabeth and Philip had a full conversation about Mountbatten could they not at least shown him at the dinner? 

Michael Adeane's face every time someone suggest breaking or breaks protocol is utterly hilarious. His and Martin's commentary of the Kennedys visit was priceless, probably my favourite part of the episode. 

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6 hours ago, Roseanna said:

 

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Yes, episodes dealt themes, so later ones go back in time and the last one ends in Edward's Christening. 

The clock is also applied.  President Kennedy was shot at 12:30 and Dallas six hours after the Greenwich time. 18.30 is rather late for work outside.

 

This was one of my quibbles with the episode - we were living in Paris, which is some way south of London, and in late November it was completely dark around 5 pm.  We got a call around 8, which would have been 7 London time, so there was no chance of people being outside dragging logs around when the news came through.  

Another quibble is their effort to show both Mr. and Mrs. Kennedy as socially so awkward and unsophisticated.  It's not at all believable.  And I agree fervently that the actor had absolutely none of Jack's charisma, and he was not nearly as good-looking.  Although I thought the episode was quite good, they really missed the mark with the Kennedys pretty disastrously.

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55 minutes ago, Deputy Deputy CoS said:

I wasn't impressed with Michael C Hall as Kennedy. What was with the accent. Did love Jackie and the Queen's scenes though.

Holy cow, how did I miss that this was Michael C. Hall?!   He’s such a talented actor, and in a couple of the definitive TV dramas of the past 20 years to boot, I’m surprised that his characterization missed the mark so much here.

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Agree that the casting of the Kennedys took me out of the episode, but I did like the moment when Elizabeth, during the storm, caught her reflection in the mirror and saw her own mother. That was well done and lots of us can relate. 

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3 hours ago, Bananna said:

Could they not afford Matthew Goode and Greg Wise for this episode? If Porchey (surprised to see him again) was at this dinner, then I don't see why the Queen's brother-in-law would not be there.

I think I read (in an article posted by someone here but I can't remember where) that due to a bit of passive aggressiveness between Elizabeth and Jackie, Margaret (and I guess Tony by extension) wasn't invited. Elizabeth knew that Jackie wanted to meet them, so she disinvited them. 

After a bit of google, it's this one from the Washington Post:

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Jackie, in reality, insisted on inviting to the dinner her sister and brother-in-law, a Polish prince who had been divorced twice. One divorce back then was too many for the queen and the monarchy. The queen objected. The first lady objected to the objection.

A tense negotiation among diplomats ended favorably for Jackie — until she saw the full guest list. Left off the queen’s list was her own more fashionable and risque sister, Princess Margaret, and their aunt Princess Marina. The queen knew the first lady wanted to be photographed with them.

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I’m not sure if some sophisticated critics might say that the heavy overlay of relentless theme music during moments of crisis is a bit much for this show on the whole, but damned if I don’t get completely drawn into the mood conveyed when they do it.  Like at the end when Elizabeth was returning to the castle to listen to the increasingly grim news reports of JFK’s condition, and that music just built and built, it really added to the drama of the situation.

The way Claire Foy’s face fell when she heard the report that JFK had been administered last rites was also a moving bit of acting.

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23 hours ago, Quilt Fairy said:

For a show that has been so spot-on with most of its casting, they were really off with the actor who played  President Kennedy.  Not only did he not look like Kennedy or talk like Kennedy, he had none of Kennedy's charm or charisma. 

I haven't seen any actor succeed in President Kennedy's role. 

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I think they missed the mark in both Kennedys, especially Michael C. Hall. He was terrible. The hairdresser went bananas on Jackie's bouffant. Way exaggerated.

Otherwise, this has been an excellent series.

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6 hours ago, Roseanna said:

I haven't seen any actor succeed in President Kennedy's role. 

I really wonder who could.  

I also wonder how much of that backstage interaction between the Kennedys was based on the real persons.  

Edited by PeterPirate
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22 hours ago, Bananna said:

His [Michael Adean] and Martin's commentary of the Kennedys visit was priceless, probably my favourite part of the episode. 

YES! I could have watched a whole hour of their horror at the breaches in protocol! 

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14 hours ago, Roseanna said:

I haven't seen any actor succeed in President Kennedy's role.

Bruce Greenwood gave it a decent nudge in Thirteen Days, but on the whole yes I agree with you. 

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14 hours ago, Roseanna said:

I haven't seen any actor succeed in President Kennedy's role. 

I recently saw Rob Reiner's film, LBJ and was quite impressed with Jeffrey Donovan's turn as JFK.  I also thought Greg Kinnear did a good job as JFK in the television mini-series, The Kennedys a few years back.  Michael C. Hall was surprisingly awful here; IMO the first poor casting choice in this otherwise perfectly cast series.

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2 hours ago, anna0852 said:

I was just about to reference Bruce Greenwood in 13 Days! He's the only one I've ever seen come close to a good JFK.

Add me to the list of people who wanted to hold up Bruce Greenwood's performance in Thirteen Days as an example of someone who was able to do really well as JFK. I thought the casting overall in Thirteen Days was done very well, and it is one of my favourite movies.

But that is off topic. Michael C Hall is no Bruce Greenwood.

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Jack and Jackie took me out of the episode whenever they appeared. It's shocking that such a well-done series blew those two characters so badly. Jackie's hair never looked like that mess unless she was boating and in the wind!

I, too, loved Michael and Martin!

It was a nice bit of subtlety to indicate Elizabeth's pregnancy by the difficulty with her boots. 

And Jackie had more blood on her than depicted.

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Agreed, the JFK portrayal was awful - I'm not sure exactly what that accent was, but it was bad.  

I got a kick out of Martin Charteris relaying to London what was going on in Ghana.  "What are they doing?!"  "I believe...it's the foxtrot."   I find that character so likable and I'm glad that they've kept him in the story here and there. 

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23 hours ago, Roseanna said:

I haven't seen any actor succeed in President Kennedy's role. 

This. And I like this actor a lot ordinarily.

Kennedy is one of those famous people that have not yet been captured- i never believe any of the actors.  Whereas I’ve seen a few very good Churchill’s.

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5 hours ago, BananaPants said:

I got a kick out of Martin Charteris relaying to London what was going on in Ghana.  "What are they doing?!"  "I believe...it's the foxtrot."   I find that character so likable and I'm glad that they've kept him in the story here and there. 

I like Charteris too and he would have spared Elizabeth of blunders in public and made necessary reforms in time. 

But it's not only RL that demanded that Charteris was passed to a second-rate role. Also dramatically it's not good to have only pleasant characters who think alike - then there would be no struggles. 

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3 hours ago, Renee in CA said:

Kennedy is one of those famous people that have not yet been captured- i never believe any of the actors.  Whereas I’ve seen a few very good Churchill’s.

As a previous poster commented, Greg Kinnear looked a lot like JFK in the cable miniseries "The Kennedys".  Another ringer was Caspar Phillipson who played JFK in "Jackie".  Rob Lowe was decent-looking in "Killing Kennedy" too.   Brett Stimely (with prosthetics) is almost a doppelganger for JFK often used whenever there is a historical representation without much acting required.  And Donovan and Greenwood have also been mentioned.

I didn't like this Jackie's nose that much (looked more like her when I covered it when viewing) but she did a great job on her voice and speech.

https://www.ranker.com/list/actors-who-played-jfk/ranker-film

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/gallery/hollywood-does-jfk-12-actors-568389/1

http://ew.com/movies/john-f-kennedy-movies-tv/

https://www.thewrap.com/rob-lowe-patrick-dempsey-john-kennedy-actors-played-jfk-photos/

Edited by SWLinPHX
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9 hours ago, jschoolgirl said:

Jack and Jackie took me out of the episode whenever they appeared. It's shocking that such a well-done series blew those two characters so badly.

I agree. I had a hard time with their scenes. Michael C. Hall is a fine actor but his portrayal of Jack Kennedy was...well, not good. Casting has otherwise been superb (Nina Gold is terrific) but this was a bad choice.

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Did the dance between the Queen and the leader of Ghana really happen?  I found it charming, but that's just my 2017 POV.

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4 minutes ago, PRgal said:

Did the dance between the Queen and the leader of Ghana really happen?  I found it charming, but that's just my 2017 POV.

Yes it happened.

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On 12/11/2017 at 10:14 PM, BananaPants said:

I got a kick out of Martin Charteris relaying to London what was going on in Ghana.  "What are they doing?!"  "I believe...it's the foxtrot."   I find that character so likable and I'm glad that they've kept him in the story here and there. 

My favorite part was when the Queen and Nkrumah were going around in a wide circle and the photographers had to lean back and they leaned into Martin. His reaction was funny.

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Add me to the list of those disappointed with the Kennedy casting.  Besides the bad accent, Michael C Hall (who I usually love in everything) is too short for JFK.  The actor playing Bobby would have been a better choice.

Ok, I feel dense, but what exactly was accomplished by the dance?  

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Ugh, awful casting and portrayal of JFK. The guy was a womanizing amphetamine addict, but he also had charisma and intelligence. Very lazy writing, and I kind of wish they had kept him out of the episode altogether. The actress who played Jackie wasn't bad, and that's a TOUGH role.

Edited by IndianPaintbrush
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3 hours ago, TexasGal said:

The actor playing Bobby would have been a better choice.

I actually recognized him! Julian Ovenden, who was also on Downton Abbey as one of Lady Mary's love interests that didn't pan out. Although I recognized him from the tv show Smash where he actually played singing JFK.

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