‘The Crown’ Season 2, Episode 2 Recap: Cue the Distractions & Backlash
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
“What happens on tour, stays on tour” seems to be the motto for Philip’s (Matt Smith) adventures around the world in season two of The Crown. From Mombasa to New Guinea, Philip makes the most of his trip by engaging in competitive sports, introducing cricket to the locals and watching beautiful women gyrate, natch.
It’s a shame he has to take a break from sports camp to open the Olympics in Australia, which involves speeches, ribbons, photo ops and all the things the duke finds tedious. Still, his suffering is short-lived, as he soon finds an attractive blond reporter to flirt with. Players gotta play, after all.
Elizabeth (Claire Foy), meanwhile, is dealing with the backlash of the Suez Crisis. As the country braces itself for fuel rations, Elizabeth’s advisers point out that Britain’s reputation for diplomacy has been shattered by Prime Minister Anthony Eden’s (Jeremy Northam) misstep. Eden is struggling with his guilt health and needs time off, he says. So he runs off to Jamaica, where the memory of his foolish mistakes is sure to slip away one mai tai at a time.
And there’s other trouble brewing. The wife (Chloe Pirrie) of Philip’s private secretary, Mike Parker (Daniel Ings), is asking for a divorce. Again, the good ol’ boys in charge try to dissuade her, as perpetual absence is not grounds for the dissolution of a marriage in the ’50s. Ever resourceful, she tracks down one of the women at her husband’s boisterous lunch club and asks her to provide evidence that will allow her to leave her husband. But birds of a feather flock together, and if Parker’s wife proves his infidelity, the same assumptions will extend to Philip. That simply will not do.
Proving Parker’s philandering doesn’t prove to be a challenge, however. The waitress quickly supplies Mrs. Parker with a letter written by her husband that details the boys’ “five-month stag night.” Oof.
Back in Australia, Philip’s vacation flirtation takes a dive when the pretty young thing he’s chatting with throws shade at his family. He’s suddenly overcome by flashbacks of his mother suffering a mental breakdown and his school year in Germany, where he lived with his Nazi sister. Feeling slighted, Philip gets sassy and the reporter continues to prod until he storms out in a huff. Not so fun when someone calls you out, is it Philip?
Much to Phil’s annoyance, those pesky duties of being a duke continue to follow him around with a request to make a Christmas speech to the Commonwealth nations. The point of the speech is to have the royal couple appear united despite their five-month separation. Philip agonizes over his Christmas speech and ultimately pontificates about how it’s an every-man-for-himself world.
The queen, hearing the undercurrent of his message loud and clear, sends Philip her greetings over the radio, telling him a large united family is waiting for him and will always be waiting. Philip rereads the card his wife left in his briefcase. But can he—or does he even want to—keep up this charade?
Who knew royal romance was so exhausting?