'The Crown' Season 3: Olivia Colman's teary-eyed close-up from 'Aberfan' deserves a trophy for best scene
Many fans slammed the showrunners for wrongful depiction of the Queen, showing her as someone lacking instant action.
Created by Peter Morgan, Netflix's historical drama 'The Crown' not only chronicles Queen Elizabeth II's reign but also poses as a history lesson. Titled 'Aberfan', the third episode puts the spotlight on the Aberfan coal-tip tragedy.
The disaster took place on 21 October 1966 at around 9.15 am when heavy rain led to a build-up of water within a colliery spoil tip as it slid downhill as a slurry and took several lives. Queen Elizabeth II visited the village eight days after the devastating avalanche killed nearly 116 children and 28 adults.
In the series, the Queen — played by Olivia Colman — can be seen repeatedly snubbing Prime Minister Harold Wilson’s suggestion to meet grieving relatives and later, confessing to her lack of emotions. At the end of the episode, the close-up shot that shows the Queen letting a tear trickle down her cheeks has touched many heartstrings and fans are calling Colman a "legend" for her performance.
"This. Scene. Olivia Colman is an absolute legend. the whole Aberfan episode is a masterpiece. #TheCrown," one tweet read. Another user posted, "Olivia Colman should get all the awards for this close up alone. The Aberfan episode was incredible. #TheCrown."
One viewer wrote: "The Queen basically admitting she is a psychopath at the end of the Aberfan episode was absolutely fascinating... #TheCrown."
Many viewers revisited memories of the disaster in the town. One tweet read, "The Aberfan disaster was brilliantly portrayed in #TheCrown Aberfan is 10 minutes where I used to live and my grandparents remember the disaster vividly. I do like how the show highlights the corruption from the political class with the sorrow not anger from the community."
Another fan posted, "It was so powerful to watch episode 3 of #thecrownseason3 tonight. I'm from Neath, half an hour away from Aberfan and the tragedy is still so raw there. I took this a few months ago. The victims rest peacefully on a hill overlooking the town. Never forget. #Aberfan #TheCrown."
Another post said, "The first episode of #TheCrown’s third season isn’t the most riveting, but stick around for the Aberfan episode. It’s absolutely heartbreaking, but I’m happy at least that this Welsh tragedy is finally being acknowledged and talked about on a much wider scale now than ever before."
The episode made viewers cry their hearts out. "The Aberfan episode of #TheCrown has me bawling immediately, those poor children and that poor town," one Twitter user posted and another wrote, "The scene in the Aberfan episode when the parents were clawing at the dirt was one of the hardest things I’ve watched on TV."
Several viewers condemned the Queen's lack of instant action. "She had to be forced to go to Aberfan after all those children lost their lives. She didn't even write her own letter of condolences. This is the gracious Queen they sing about? #TheCrown," one tweet read and another said, "The Aberfan episode of #TheCrown is just superb. Absolutely horrifying, as it should be. Amazes me how few people seem to know about that tragedy nowadays."
One viewer wrote: "If it's true that the Queen only went to Aberfan because Harold Wilson was ready to start the conversation on abolishing the monarchy then that's just...self servient."
Many others slammed the showrunners for the wrongful depiction of the Queen. "Shame on the #TheCrown's producers! It's ridiculous how they portrayed the Queen as unfeeling during the Aberfan disaster. There's a video on youtube of her visit and she is clearly upset. This episode is inaccurate; don't believe everything you see. Long live the Queen!"
No matter what the reaction, it is great to see how the third season of 'The Crown' managed to shed light on the catastrophic calamity that deserved more attention than it got.