With season 4 of royal historical drama The Crown marking the final season before the final change of actors, they send their stories out with a bang this season in some phenomenal performances. There are spoilers for The Crown up ahead, especially for the new characters this season, Gillian Anderson as Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Emma Corrin as Princess Diana.
In season 3, we saw Prince Charles (Josh O'Connor) fall for Camilla Parker Bowles (Emerald Fennell), and now in season 4, Diana is thrown into the mix, thanks in no small part to grandparental meddling. Of course, Charles and Diana are a terrible match for each other, mostly owing to the fact that Charles is a whiny man-baby who is still hung up on Camilla, even though literally everyone tells him to grow up and move on with his life. Instead, he just takes all his frustration out by making Diana feel isolated and alone, leading to her famous eating disorder and affairs.
Speaking of isolation, the island-of-a-Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher comes in at the start of the season as a force to be reckoned with. The juxtaposition of her against the Queen is superbly well done – they are of similar age, but wildly different stations with Thatcher's father being a modest shopkeeper and The Queen being raised in the lap of luxury from day one. This also puts them at odds politically as they frequently have differing ideas on how the country should be run.
As for the other characters, watching The Queen (Olivia Colman) and her husband Prince Phillip (Tobias Menzies) age into their relationship and grow together as a couple has been adorable. It's not a huge shift they beat you over the head with, just a touch more affection; but when you look back on early episodes of their turbulent relationship, the evolution is clear. Especially when you compare it to Charles and Diana's marriage, you begin to understand why they're giving the advice they are to the young couple.
I could gush all day at how good of a job this season, in particular, does with showing life in The Crown universe from the perspective of the people – this is especially vital under Thatcher's reign as Prime Minister. Her years in power were some of the toughest for the economy and public opinion of her is still far from positive. At the end of the day though, The Crown is fiction, as all the private events and happenings of the monarchy are strictly kept private. That doesn't keep Netflix from filling in the blanks between well-documented historical events with some Grade-A fictional historical drama.