‘The Crown’ Season 2, Episode 3 Recap: Relationships Are, Like, Hard
*Spoiler alert: This is not a cheerful episode*
In season 2, episode three of The Crown, Elizabeth (Claire Foy) tries to do her best Beyoncé impression (read: be an independent woman), but it’s clear her husband’s absence is getting to her. To make a sticky situation worse, Mike Parker’s (Daniel Ings) divorce is totally on, which means Philip (Matt Smith) is about to have his name dragged through the mud as well. And the icing on the royal drama cake? Prime Minister Anthony Eden (Jeremy Northam) returns from Jamaica with a slight tan and a bone to pick. Brace yourself for trouble...
There’s some major colluding behind the scenes to keep Mike and his wife, Eileen (Chloe Pirrie), together. King George VI’s retired private secretary, Tommy Lascelles (Pip Torrens), sets out to find Eileen and asks her to hold off announcing the end of her marriage so she doesn’t destroy the royal marriage in the process. She, in turn, effectively asks him to sod off.
Eden’s welcome to the Cabinet is hardly warm, and his colleagues don’t mince words when they tell him it was a less-than-stellar idea to attack Egypt. Eden lashes out and reminds them they were all once behind him. He then stomps over to see the queen at Sandringham and vent, but he’s met by an angry mob instead of a sympathetic Liz. He finally gets the hint and offers the queen his resignation. The guy should have just stayed in Jamaica...
Elizabeth admits she felt the decision to go to war was rushed, but she understands his frustrations of trying to live up to the legend that is Winston Churchill (John Lithgow). Eden admits he’ll make history by being an epic failure. Le sigh.
Rather than spend time naming Eden’s successor, Elizabeth must deal with the implications of Mike Parker’s divorce and the irritating headlines that will ensue (and directly affect her) from his infidelity. Mike’s letter bragging about their (read: Philip’s) exploits on the royal tour will no doubt go public.
The blissfully ignorant Mike is finally confronted with the issues in his marriage and is informed of his wife’s plan to leave him. Phil, the kind chap that he is, is there for his friend, but he is more concerned that the news of their boisterous ways has reached his wife.
And it has indeed. Elizabeth visits Eileen Parker and reminds her of how they used to go grocery shopping together on Malta. (That’s fun to picture.) Eileen isn’t interested in a trip down nostalgia lane and shows Elizabeth the letter from Mike bragging about his escapades. Elizabeth asks Eileen to hold off on the divorce, but it looks like royal decree (thus far) only extends to her own sister, Princess Margaret. Eileen forges ahead without even looking back.
The British press has a field day with the divorce announcement, but so far Phillip has remained out of the headlines. The duke asks for Mike’s resignation ASAP to avoid further scandal and tells him “There is no room for humanity” before casually dropping him off in the nearest harbor. Boy, bye.
A royally romantic reunion is planned for the queen and Philip in order to settle the ever-churning rumor mill, but romantic it is not. As Elizabeth sees her husband for the first time in months, she tersely informs him they’ll talk later (you know what that means, Philip) before heading out to be photographed together—all smiles, of course.
Suddenly, we’re back on the boat where we started the season and the marital issues are aplenty. The royal couple lay their cards on the table and compare their relationship to prison. (Joy!) Elizabeth tells Philip he needs to grow up, and he bemoans his lesser stature.
“I’m currently outranked by my 8-year-old son,” Philip wails as he demands more respect.
Queen Elizabeth is not here for his nonsense and reasonably points out, “He is the heir to the throne.” QE: one. Philip: zero.
Nonetheless, Elizabeth opts to keep her marriage intact by granting Philip a golden goose the title of Prince of the U.K. and Northern Ireland. Now he has a crown, a cape and everything, but all that royal garb isn’t enough to hide his childish behavior. Now would be a great time for Elizabeth to share a bottle of wine (or four) and a rant with Eileen.
It’s Philip, however, who goes over to Mike’s for some whiskey and girl talk. Mike’s off to Australia, and Philip wishes he could join because Elizabeth just told him she wants more kids. Mike points out that Elizabeth might want a few kids who she doesn’t view as mortal threats, because as the heir to the throne, Charles represents her death. Go ahead and let that sink in..