“Moondust” is Episode Seven of the third season of THE CROWN. The episode follows Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, as he marvels at the American astronauts who land and walk on the moon in July 1969. An adventurer, Philip struggles with aging, his role in the world and a desire to be a man of action. Queen Elizabeth invites the astronauts to visit Buckingham Palace, but the meeting doesn’t go as Prince Philip imagined. When his mother dies, Philip details his frustrations with himself and the questions and thoughts he has about faith. Eventually, Philip comes to terms with his need for faith in God.
“Moondust” is an engrossing episode of THE CROWN. The story poignantly depicts the characters’ emotions. The filmmakers deftly combine the action with soundbites and film clips from the actual events. Christian viewers of “Moondust” will enjoy the episode’s strong Christian worldview. Prince Philip grows from being an apathetic Christian to one of repentance and a need to walk alongside other believers. MOVIEGUIDE® advises a light caution for “Moondust” because of brief, light foul language and some alcohol use.
(CCC, BBB, L, A, D, M):
Dominant Worldview and Other Worldview Content/Elements:
Very strong Christian worldview where main character struggles with his Christian faith and admits he needs help, turning to Christian priests who can come alongside him, character ponders the beauty and vastness of creation with awe and wonder, characters discuss how people are turning away from the church in the pursuit of worldly knowledge, but that’s ultimately an idea that’s refuted by the glory of the Lord as Creator, a character scorns priests for not being men of action but later apologizes and repents for his poor behavior, Scripture is discussed, some scenes are set in a church, crosses are depicted
Two profanities and three light British obscenities
No real violence but one sister jokingly hits her kid brother with a pillow to pretend it’s a meteorite from space during a comical moment
Characters have wine over dinner, there’s champagne during a celebration and a cocktail party occurs
Smoking and/or Drug Use and Abuse:
Smoking in one scene, but it was popular during the time period; and,
Sarcasm and a character jokingly refers to a Christian retreat center as a concentration camp.
Set in July 1969, the “Moondust” episode of THE CROWN follows Prince Philip, Queen Elizabeth’s husband, as he marvels at the American astronauts who successfully travel to the moon, land on it and return home.
The episode begins on July 5, 1969 as Philip watches his television in Buckingham Palace. Three male astronauts, Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong and Michael Collins, discuss their concerns and excitement about their upcoming voyage to the moon during a press conference. If they succeed, it will be a first for all of humanity.
Queen Elizabeth, Philip and their family go to a Sunday church service shortly thereafter. Philip is indignant to attend, and Elizabeth puts out feelers for a younger priest who can keep the congregation engaged. Enter Dean Robin Wood, the man hired to do the job. Wood implores Philip to use one of the spare homes on the ground as a retreat center for British priests. Philip reluctantly agrees but thinks that action, rather than discussion, is better medicine.
The royal household awakes in the middle of the night to see the moon landing on July 20, 1969. After the three American astronauts successfully land, Philip stays up late watching the television and listening to the great achievements of these men. He even tears up. Days later, while flying an airplane, Philip pushes the engine to its capacity to get a thrill and taste for how the astronauts might’ve felt.
Wood asks Philip to check out the new retreat center called St. George’s. However, Philip is restless and openly expresses his distaste for their conversations about faith because they’re not “doing” anything. Philip storms out of their meeting.
Queen Elizabeth extends an invitation to the astronauts to come to Buckingham Palace. Before their arrival, Philip meticulously plans questions for the trio, for their one on one meeting. However, once he sits in front of them, their sense of vigor and zeal for their accomplishment isn’t what he was expecting.
Philip returns to St. George’s after his mother, a nun, passes away. In this scene, Philip details his frustrations with the astronauts, himself, and the questions and thoughts he has on faith. The episode ends with him asking for “help” from the other priests at the retreat center.
“Moondust” is a well-produced episode of Netflix’s THE CROWN. The music in the episode is evocative, the story poignantly depicts the character emotions, and the filmmakers stylistically marry the action of the actors with soundbites and film clips from the actual events.
Christian audiences of “Moondust” will enjoy the episode’s very strong Christian worldview. Most positively is the character transformation of Prince Philip from an apathetic Christian to one of repentance and a need to walk alongside other believers. However, “Moondust” does merit light caution for brief foul language and alcohol use.
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