We gave it an A+
Poor Elizabeth is now really pregnant and exhausted. She’s napping on the sofa when she’s interrupted by poor Michael, who definitely has a hard job. He has to deliver the news about Ward killing himself, and about the sketch of Philip. They apparently knew each other from that lunch club. Oh, lord: that goddamn lunch club. You know who hates being humiliated more than anyone? This queen. She thanks him and sends him out. (BTW: Has anyone else thought about how much Claire Foy and Emily Blunt look alike and how someone should cast them as sisters?)
Then we get what is truly one of the most beautiful shots of this whole beautiful series: a stoic Claire Foy, face unreadable, motionless in the snow. It’s stunning. Meanwhile, Michael has still more unpleasant news to deliver. Turns out Macmillan thought he had a cancerous tumor but really it was benign. Still, this loser wants to resign. She visits him in the hospital and he’s super dramatic about the whole thing. His mind can’t be changed, he’s resigning. He suggests his replacement, her close friend the Lord Home of the Hirsel (great name). Elizabeth is straight up furious at every single dude in her life failing her. She switches over to calling him Mister Macmillan and man, is she mad. She gives a fantastic speech about how during her near decade of rule, she’s had three prime ministers and none have lasted. “They’ve been too old, too ill, or too weak.” Guess which one you are, Harold! “A confederacy of quitters.” Dang. The look of disgust she gives him on the way out is priceless.
Philip returns and is shocked by protestors outside the gate. Inside is Margaret, quite pregnant. Tony — whose natural state is languid — lies and smokes on the floor. Margaret is cold to Philip: She informs him that the choice of PM has blown up in Elizabeth’s face and that they had come to check on her. But Elizabeth has flown the coop to Scotland. Margaret stomps off and Tony gets up with a sigh and tells Philip that he’s happy to cover for him in the future. Off camera we hear Margaret sharply call Tony’s name and Matthew Goode nails a very sincere “F—.”
There’s a fun shot of the back of Philip’s head, which looks a lot like that picture. He makes his way to Scotland. He’s very pensive. If he was worried maybe his wife was ready to murder him, he’d be correct. He finds her not in the big house, but a much more humble one, outside on her knees, pruning the roses. It’s sad when you think about the life Elizabeth probably really wanted: just to garden and be with the corgis. She is ice cold. “The idea was to be alone,” she says, snipping a rose with way too much force. Philip tells her if she wants him he’ll be in the main house. There’s a moment when these two stubborn people almost turn toward each other but then each holds their ground.
Neither one budges all night. Perhaps these two are much more alike then we had previously imagined. Finally, he breaks and goes to her. And man, the rest of this scene is just so good. She’s so mad and he tries to explain to her that he gets it. And he’s there for her come what may. She just gives him a withering look and says,
“If only.” He’s fighting tears as she looks at old pictures of her dad and refuses to make eye contact with her husband. He finally is like, Okay, tell me what you are so mad about and what’s up. She spits the name: Stephen Ward. Philip does a hilarious kind of, Who? She tells him about the portraits. Philip denies it all. Especially the Mystery Man photo.
Elizabeth says that he is a mystery man to her. She’s like, Listen, level with me. I’m strong. Tell me the truth. I can’t stand not knowing. They go back and forth for a bit and then she reaches for the ace up her sleeve — she opens a desk drawer where that photo, of the dancer from the first episode, is stashed. Philip walks over and looks at it. She looks at him, at first triumphant to have a winning hand, and then her face crumbles as she can no longer push aside the reality that has been there all along.
He shuts the drawer. He tells her there are two people in the world: There are those whom you assume are reliable and trustworthy who turn out weak (here’s looking at you, Macmillan), and then there are people who appear difficult and complex but are in fact more dependable than anyone thought. “Like me.” Huh! He says quietly he knows that his job is Elizabeth, he’s always known. He’s in, not out.
She’s unmoved. She’s like, Listen, we’re adults: I can look the other way if you need to let off some steam. And here is where Philip really rises to the occasion. He says everything she needs to hear and…am I a sucker for believing him? He kneels before her and tells her he’s not there because of duty or an agreement but because of love. She waits a moment and then puts her head down on his and the camera stays with them and it is truly sweet. Let’s be optimistic and think that maybe Philip got scared straight and this marks a new chapter for the couple.
He’s in the room when she gives birth. She’s pink and crying and the baby is born and his face is incredible — a mixture of awe and affection. She turns and smiles at him and you can see how much she still adores him. He grins at her.
It’s the christening and there’s a royal photo with that super annoying photographer who goes on and on about sunsets and empires and the like. There’s a lot of fussing around in this family and it’s noisy and Elizabeth has her blank face on and finally Philip stands up and tells them to pipe down and to get this picture taken. Everyone is sort of stunned into silence and then…and THEN. My favorite moment ever happens!! Elizabeth gives the tiniest hint of a smile and reaches for Philip’s hand. He turns to her with a smile. AND YAY, we are ending with these two in good shape. I’m super glad and am also super sad that this is the last time we’ll see Claire Foy and Matt Smith in these roles. What a tremendous job they did and have certainly set the bar for seasons to come. Till then The Crown!