"Coping with Tragedy Through Faith"
What You Need To Know:
“Aberfan” is a highly emotional, intense episode. It shows how each character deals with the disaster differently based on their emotions. The episode’s music adds greatly to the situation’s intensity. “Aberfan” is filled with Christian content. Scripture is read, church hymns are sung, and a discussion occurs on how the families who lost loved ones are turning to God in a time of anger and grief. MOVIEGUIDE® advises caution for older children for THE CROWN: Aberfan because of several profanities and tragedy.
“Aberfan” is Episode Three of the third season of THE CROWN. It follows the village of Aberfan, Wales after a junior school was devastated by an avalanche from a coal waste tip. The Queen battles inner demons throughout the episode as to whether it’s her duty to make an appearance at the disaster site or stay in London. “Aberfan” has a Christian worldview as Scripture is read, hymns are sung and discussions of people worshipping the Lord through tragedy occur.
The episode starts on a rainy afternoon in Aberfan, Wales on Thursday, Oct. 20, 1966. The teacher at Pantglas Junior School is giving his students a homework assignment to memorize a song for the next day.
Cut to the next morning. Coal workers are headed up to Tip Seven, a coal waste tip, where a train has been derailed and part of it has landed in a sink hole because of the rain. The tip begins to be unstable, so the workers rush to tell their supervisor in an effort to save lives.
All of this is happening as the children are gathering back at school ready to perform the song they memorized at the assembly. However, just as the teacher finishes taking attendance, an avalanche from the coal waste tip overwhelms the school and buries everyone alive. The whole village is now digging to save the children.
Queen Elizabeth is immediately notified, and a statement’s released on her behalf. The government requests Prime Minister Harold Wilson to go to the site that afternoon and to use one of the Queen’s planes, unless she herself wants to visit the site. The Queen makes the pivotal decision not to go and says that the Queen visits hospitals, not accident scenes.
Prime Minister Wilson arrives in Wales. After seeing the disaster site, he goes to give a press conference. Meanwhile, Princess Margaret’s husband hears of the disaster over the radio and immediately collects his things to go and help.
When Prime Minister Wilson returns, he meets the Queen to give her an update, and to urge her to visit the village. However, she’s afraid she will paralyze the situation by showing up and stands firm on her decision not to go.
The next day the Queen has breakfast with her mother and sister, while her sister recounts what her husband has seen in Aberfan. While she’s talking, the Queen looks like she feels guilty, but still does nothing.
Almost a week after the disaster, Prince Philip is sent to Aberfan for the funeral of the lost children. While at the funeral listening to the village sing a hymn worshipping God in this hard time, Philip is overcome with emotion.
After Philip returns, a piece is published in the paper about how the Queen has been absent from Aberfan. The Queen is shocked that Prime Minister Wilson allowed the piece to run, but this encourages her to make a visit to the disaster site.
“Aberfan” is a highly emotional and intense episode filled with disaster and grief. The episode shows how each character deals with the disaster differently based on their own emotions. The music throughout adds to the situation’s intensity.
“Aberfan” is filled with positive Christian content. Scripture is read, church hymns are sung, and a discussion is had on how the families who lost loved ones are turning to God in a time of anger and grief to deal with the situation. MOVIEGUIDE® advises a light caution for older children due to some light foul language and the tragedy depicted.