‘The Crown’ Season 2, Episode 6 Recap: To Forgive or to Deport? That Is the Question
*Warning: Spoilers ahead*
Season two, episode six throws us right into the midst of chaos. It all begins with a flashback to 1945, with Winston Churchill (John Lithgow) barking orders at a wartime paper. When the subsequent headlines are plunked down on the king’s (Jared Harris) desk, he kvetches that the English people will never forgive the monarchy…if these papers ever go to print. It’s all very dramatic, so we’re going to guess this is about Prince Edward’s (Alex Jennings) connections to the Third Reich. (It’s not a spoiler, people, it’s history.)
While we’re slowly being clued into Eddie’s nefarious wartime activities, surely he’s aware of what a treacherous weasel he is. But no, a decade after WWII, Eddie seems to have forgotten all about it as he flutters around Paris, attending parties with his American socialite wife, Wallis (Lia Williams). When the silly hats at a costume party fail to entertain him, he sighs that a “life of pleasure really has its limits” and tells Wallis he needs a purpose. Poor, Eddie...not.
Eddie wants to return to Britain and research a book. What he doesn’t know is that historians have discovered incriminating “secret documents” and feel very strongly that they must be published, as it’s their duty as historians to reveal the truth. If he actually saw this coming, perhaps he wouldn’t have sat around writing letters to Peaches about his dreadful existence of dinner parties and pals who agree to set him up with work.
At Windsor Castle, Elizabeth (Claire Foy) and her mommy (Victoria Hamilton), the Queen Elizabeth, are watching TV. The Queen Mother is horrified that people are weeping like children listening to Christian evangelist preacher Billy Graham (Paul Sparks). What happened to the British stiff upper lip? (Side note: Netflix, it’s not that we don’t love Sparks on House of Cards, he’s great! But it’s OK to occasionally dip into a different talent pool.)
Unlike her mother, Elizabeth is curious about Graham and invites him to Windsor to deliver a service. Philip thinks his sermon is a drag, but Liz is all about it. She gushes like a schoolgirl as she praises Graham. “It’s lovely as queen to disappear and be a simple Christian. I think of myself as a simple Christian,” she tells him. If feeling like a simple congregant gets her this excited, she may need to get out a bit more. Alas, enjoy the moment, Liz. It’s not going to last very long.
Elizabeth’s religious revelry quickly subsides when the Queen Mother informs her of Eddie’s naughty files. Oh, and mother dearest slides in that the government and royal family have been conspiring to hide this information from Elizabeth all along. Cool.
Meanwhile, Edward relays his hope of landing a purposeful job to Wallis via a letter. It’s this same optimism that prevents him from recognizing that the queen summoning him to Buckingham Palace is not about having a little family reunion.
Upon his return to the motherland, Eddie tells Elizabeth that he wants to serve his country. She claps back that he had his chance and he gave it up. Clearly not reading into her frostiness, he lists the three jobs he’d like her to approve. It’s delicious watching Elizabeth delay her verdict, as she allows him to think he’s getting away with, well, murder.
She then proceeds to give Eddie the CliffsNotes version of what she’s discovered about his relationship with the Nazi high command. Edward defends his choices by saying he felt England and Germany should never be enemies after WWI. He asks Elizabeth to make peace with him, telling her the public will side with him and dismiss the documents as propaganda.
Conflicted, Elizabeth asks Philip (Matt Smith) for his advice on forgiveness, to which Philip defensively responds, “What have I done now?” Ironically, nothing…for once. Elizabeth explains the situation with Edward, and Philip tells her to talk to Tommy (Pip Torrens), who was Edward’s private secretary when he was king.
When the queen goes to see Tommy, he brings her into a room in his house where he is reconstructing a miniature version of the Battle of Salamanca. So, Tommy does have a hobby other than stirring the pot! But we digress...
Elizabeth tells Tommy she’d like to forgive Edward, and Tommy says that would be a big mistake. The Marburg files, it seems, are only part of the story. Wallis was believed to be a spy for the Germans and even shared a bed with the German ambassador. Edward would share classified documents with her, to the point where the government stopped sharing sensitive material with Ed because of the suspected exchange. The scandal!
But that’s not all. The pair also visited Hitler in Germany. There was a plan in place to reinstate Edward as king in exchange for giving the Germans free rein across Europe. Edward even visited SS training schools and early versions of concentration camps.
Elizabeth looks horrified. We’re horrified. Who isn’t horrified at this point?!
And it gets, uh, better? The duke apparently told the German government that the continued bombing of the UK and the slaughter of his fellow countrymen would soon make Britain ready for peace.
Edward can kiss his return to the UK goodbye. Good riddance!
“Who has fed you this poison?” Edward asks when Elizabeth tells him she was keen to forgive him but now deems his actions unforgivable.
“I care to my own mind,” Elizabeth says.
“You have no mind of your own,” he says.
No he didn’t!
When Billy Graham returns to visit the queen, she asks to hear his views on forgiveness. Are there circumstances where one can be a good Christian and not forgive?
“No man is beneath forgiveness,” Graham says, but tells her the solution is to pray for those you cannot forgive. And so, with no other option regarding her uncle, Elizabeth prays.
That’s when Philip returns home drunk after a night out with Tommy and the Queen Mother (oh, to be a fly on that wall...), toasting Elizabeth for kicking Edward out of the country. Philip is so turned on by her actions that he initiates royal baby making. Perhaps there is hope for these two yet.