Hurricane In A Tea Cup
Based as it is on the premature trimming of a tree and the ailments of an old man, this episode doesn’t quite progress at neck-breaking speed, something that by now we are conditioned to accept with a stiff upper lip and some resignation. Opened by one of those flashbacks letting us know that Elizabeth Regina attended Hogwarth to learn her royal brand of magic, meaning that the titular crown, the orb and the scepter are her specific horcruxes, Knowledge Is Power take the scenic route to demonstrate the contrary.
The Queen feels ignorant in everything that matters and commissions one of England’s brightest minds to perfect her education, cruelly lacking in anything practical, or even more mundanely, scientific. The role of that surrogate teacher is to appear with a book which never will be opened, have a nice cup of tea while Her Majesty rambles about being illiterate, then answer a couple of trite questions about the topic of day, then ceremoniously retires. He actually does that a couple of times before reaching the conclusion that Her Majesty’s education is indeed perfect as it is. Some hell of a dramatic curve.
Elizabeth Regina nevertheless has a point feeling bored. The only topic besides the weather is lineage, preferably dogs’ and horses’, because even this safe ground becomes shifty regarding humans beings. Her private secretary, whom she inherited from her father, is retiring and is adamant that “his rightful heir” takes his place, even though the Queen of England disagrees. It is, once again, a Downton Abbey upstairs-downstairs dynamic, only with a temperamental butler; it rightfully eclipses Sir Winston’s shaenigans to remain in power far beyond his peremption date.
There’s a fuss about a State visit from President Eisenhower, which is more the pretext for an obscene display of tableware than anything politically resounding. Some confusion ensues about in which castle should Sir Winston be regally admonished after he unwisely kept Her Majesty in the dark about the fact that no one has been at the helm of HMS Britannia for a couple of weeks. Churchill cooes with Anthony Eden while the latter is either sick or addicted in Washington. It would be quite shocking, were it not so understated it becomes rather muddled.
As usual, the best part is the dialogue, which this week includes not less than “sycophantic supplicants”. Queen Mom vaguely alludes to the Royal Rejects. It all wraps up with another insight inside Buckingham Palace”s sex life, thanks to His Royal Highness Philip, Duke of Edimburgh and his appetite for oral play. We are otherwise informed to “never trust a Cecil”, which is as good an advice as ever given by the Windsors. One wonders what Sir Cecil Beaton would have thought of it.