The Crown The Kennedys

JFK and Jackie Kennedy Show Up, as Does Billy Graham

The Crown season 2 nears its end around 1963, which means it couldn’t get away with ignoring John F. Kennedy, Jackie Kennedy and the age of Camelot. The Kennedys are not portrayed in the most flattering of light, even though the episode they feature in is certainly sympathetic towards Jackie.

While the idea of American “royalty” the Kennedys clashing with real-life royalty should make for some juicy drama, the episode featuring the Kennedys is sadly a bit of dud. This is primarily an issue of casting. Michael C. Hall, of Dexter fame, plays JFK, and he makes the tragic mistake of going all-in on Kennedy’s famous New England accent. Almost no actor has ever been able to make that accent work on screen, and Hall’s is one of the worst examples of the bunch. He plays JFK as a bit of a clueless creep, perfectly fine with using his wife for political means. That’s fine; no one is going to claim Kennedy was a saint. But Hall’s performance is too cartoonish; like something out of a comic book. It doesn’t fit with the show as a whole. Perhaps the case could be made that since JFK was an American clashing with the rigidity of the UK it makes sense that he seems out of place, but I think that’s giving Hall, and the show, too much credit.

Jodi Balfour, as Jackie Kennedy, doesn’t fare much better. Her performance is a bit better than Hall’s – more subtle, more believable. But Balfour also goes all-in on her character’s accent. Natalie Portman was mocked in some circles for her spot-on imitation of the real Jackie Kennedy’s voice in Jackie, but here Balfour sounds as if she’s doing an impression of Portman doing an impression of herself playing Jackie. It’s distracting. The drama that unfolds, with Elizabeth having a nice meeting with Jackie only to find out that Jackie turned around and ridiculed her at a party, unfolds with a sincere empathy, but it’s not quite enough to make up for those out-of-place performances.

The other big American guest star of season 2 is Christian Evangelist Billy Graham, played by Boardwalk Empire and House of Cards actor Paul Sparks and his great head of hair. Graham appears in the aforementioned episode involving the Duke of Windsor. I won’t delve into Graham’s background and his belief system, but I was curious when I heard of his involvement in the season. “The Billy Graham episode is about Elizabeth wanting to deepen her Christianity,” creator Peter Morgan told Vanity Fair. “She stops reflecting on forgiveness as a central tenant of Christianity at precisely the time that she’s asked whether she can or can’t forgive her uncle for what he did.” Anyone worried that The Crown might grow too religious (as I admit I briefly did) can relax. The fact of the matter is that Graham’s appearance is a very minor one, which is a pity because Sparks is typically a scene-stealing actor who probably could’ve done a lot more with the part had he been given the chance.

the crown claire foy

It Marks The End of Claire Foy’s Reign

Bad news for Claire Foy fans: The Crown season 2 marks the end of her reign as Queen Elizabeth II. Seasons 3 and 4 will have Broadchurch’s Olivia Colman playing Elizabeth as the queen’s age advances. The basic plan is for each season of The Crown to cover approximately ten years in Elizabeth’s reign. The end of season 2 will mark about 20 years, which means it’s time for her to advance in age a bit. Indeed, one of the themes in season 2 involves Elizabeth beginning to feel older, and less youthful, especially when she comes face to face with the glamorous, young Jacqueline Kennedy.

It will be sad to see Foy go, as she’s truly sensational in the part, even more so in season 2 than season 1. Season 2 finds Foy completely in tune with the role, wearing her fictional royalty like a second skin. That said, Colman is a wonderful actress, and it will be exciting to see her take on the character in upcoming seasons. I had wondered if the final episode of season 2 would feature Colman in some capacity, to set viewers up for her inevitable arrival in season 3, but no; she remains unseen.

Of course, this doesn’t necessarily mean Foy will be departing the show forever. She could always return in some sort of flashback. Flashbacks feature heavily into season 2; in fact, there’s an entire episode that’s set in a flashback. In addition to that, both John Lithgow, as Winston Churchill, and Jared Harris, as King George VI, appear in a brief flashback in season 2, even though both of their characters are dead within the current timeline of the show. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Foy return for a cameo or two, schedule permitting.

The Crown season 2 is streaming now.

Pages: Previous page 1 2

Cool Posts From Around the Web: