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TV Recaps

The Crown recap: 'Vergangenheit'

The Duke of Windsor’s damning past is revealed

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Robert Viglasky/Netflix

The Crown

type:
TV Show
Current Status:
In Season
seasons:
1
run date:
11/04/16
author:
Nancy Bilyeau
broadcaster:
Netflix
publisher:
Touchstone
genre:
Drama

We gave it an A-

We lay our scene in fair Thuringian Forest, Germany, in 1945, where a German private named Loesch is showing some U.S. troops to a burial spot. The men dig up a box full of letters, papers, and rolls of film. We later learn Loesch had hidden these during Hitler’s demise and is now giving them up in exchange for freedom in a country of his choice and a generous pension to last the rest of his lifetime.

PREVIOUSLY: The Crown recap: ‘Marionettes’

Continuing in the aftermath of the Second World War, word reaches the British government via a translator that these documents contain some seriously damning information. Winston Churchill (yay, John Lithgow’s back!) takes the information to the palace immediately. Along with King George, we learn that these are the Marburg files — though, unless you’re a history buff, we still don’t know what they contain. We do know it’s bad though, as the royals are all flustered and believe the papers can never see the light of day, as they’ll bring shame upon the family. What could this report contain? Let’s find out.

In the present day, Elizabeth and her mother are watching American evangelist Reverend Billy Graham on television. Elizabeth is quite taken by him. The Queen Mum thinks he’s a zealot on account of the fact that he’s shouting, and “only zealots shout.”

Over in Paris, it’s the Duke of Windsor (a.k.a. Kind Edward before he abdicated, a.k.a. David) and Wallis Simpsons’ dog Trooper’s birthday, and they’ve gathered friends at their home to sing to him. Yes, you read that correctly. Ah, but David is bored by his life of fraternizing with “people of no consequence,” trying on outfits for a costume party, and general frivolity. He decides he needs to return to London to seek employment — and possibly forgiveness for abdicating, if he can wing it. Wallis is pretty fed up with David’s tiresome, delusional ways, but he’s adamant he has friends back home who will help his cause.

OBSESSED WITH THE CROWN? Follow PEOPLE’s daily royal coverage.

So the DoW writes to ask Elizabeth for permission to enter the country. Elizabeth, who is more interested in organizing an opportunity to meet with Reverend Graham, allows it. On arrival in the U.K., David wastes no time in sitting down to dinner with a group of sycophantic friends who are happy to help him violate the agreements made after his abdication and have started campaigning for his employment. They suggest things like a military title, a position within the board of trade (he likes that less; he think it’s “grubby”), or diplomatic service, like an unofficial ambassador. Basically, it seems David wants a title but no real hard work. He writes a bunch of ugly letters about everyone he encounters to his beloved Wallis, but he thinks all is well and heads to bed hopeful. (Next: The contents of the Marburg files)

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