Netflix’s drama limited series “Queen,” or “Krolowa” in native Polish, is a feel-good show with subtle messages of acceptance presented well. It shows an established bespoke tailor in Paris thinking of retiring soon, when a letter from his granddaughter makes him return to his hometown in Poland. Along with being a professional fashion designer, Sylwester also passionately expresses himself as a drag queen, very famous in Parisian concert halls. With an obvious story and mostly predictable character traits, “Queen” is nothing to be taken too seriously, but the four-episode long watch does have some little effect by the end.
‘Queen’ Plot Summary: What Is The Show About?
An elderly gentleman named Sylwester spends his days in his Parisian bespoke tailoring shop designing suits and clothes for high-society clients, but he has recently been considering retiring and moving to a more peaceful life somewhere in the French Riviera. Despite his assistant’s pleas to turn his business into a global modern chain store, Sylwester prefers to shut the shop down rather than lose the fine personal touch in his products, which is his expertise. Besides his fairly successful business, the man also has a different identity, that of an explosively entertaining drag queen singer and dancer, Loretta. Sylwester is not only popular as a celebrated artist on stage, but also regularly designs costumes for such shows and is a loved man among all drag queen performers. Before moving away from Paris, Loretta is given a grand farewell by one such group, led by Sylwester’s best friend and choreographer, Corentin. While checking his daily mail one day, the man comes across an informal-looking envelope with an address and stamps of Poland. Avoiding the letter for quite some time, he finally reads it and is quite shocked by its contents. A girl, claiming to be his granddaughter, has written him a letter, pleading with him to return to Poland and donate a kidney to his sick daughter. Where the problem was, as Sylwester tells Corentin, was that he had left Poland and come to France when his wife was pregnant with their daughter, and had never returned or been in any contact with them ever since. Not only had he never seen or known about his granddaughter, Izabela, but Sylwester also had never seen his own daughter, Wioletta. With the past suddenly returning to him, Sylwester does not want to return or reply to the letter at first, while Corentin keeps insisting that he should go back. Finally, after his last performance in Paris as Loretta, the man decides to postpone his retirement plans for some time and return to his native mining town of Silesia.
How Does Sylwester’s Family React To His Return?
Sylwester returns to his hometown and is greeted by his young adult granddaughter, Iza, who reveals that she had gone through her grandmother’s belongings and had found a letter from Sylwester Bork. Realizing that the man must be her grandfather, she looked up the name on the internet, which ultimately led her to him. After Iza puts him up in a quaint hotel room, Sylwester cleans up nooks and corners of it and sets it up as his own, with his expensive coats and suits arranged neatly. Soon he prepares to meet his daughter for the first time, as Iza is about to take him to their house, and he picks up flowers for this meeting. However, right before entering the house, the girl tells him that she has not yet told her mother about any of this development, and it is going to be a surprise for her too. Wiola makes her appearance, as a visibly sick woman struggling to make free movements, and is quite surprised to see an unknown elderly man inside their house with flowers in his hand. Sylwester awkwardly introduces himself as her father, and Iza quickly explains why he is here, and Wiola is understandably livid at the entire thing. She clearly denies accepting any help, let alone a kidney, from a father who has been absent throughout her entire life and never cared to come to see her even once. As the woman turns Sylwester out of their house, he offers some money to Iza as help, and she, too, is angered by this. Disturbed and lonely, Sylwester gets drunk on wine that night and also dresses up as Loretta, the identity in which he finds his true self. The next morning, he prepares to book a train ticket to return to Paris, but on his way, he sees an ambulance going towards Wiola’s residence and follows it. Much like what he was fearing, Sylwester saw his sick daughter having to be carried into the ambulance and driven to the hospital as her condition was getting worse.
The father quickly follows Wiola to the hospital, taking Iza along, and then readily agrees to donate his kidney to her, as the hospital is still struggling to find a donor. Iza says that she cannot donate because she has hepatitis, and then lies that Wiola has already signed an official form accepting Sylwester as her donor, but actually gets hold of the form later and forges her mother’s signature on it. Iza convinces her grandfather to move into their apartment and stay with them after the surgery. She moves his things from the hotel room with the help of her friends. She stumbles upon her grandfather’s drag queen clothes and also a pair of prosthetic breasts, but thinks that he needs them for his designing profession. Back at the hospital, the kidney transplant goes well, but Wiola is angry when she realizes that her father has donated his kidney to her. After some calming down, she agrees to let Sylwester move into her apartment, and the man starts to live with Iza in their house. The two gradually bond with each other, as he cooks her food and manages the house, and Iza now reveals a serious secret she has been struggling to keep with her for days. Among her very close friend group are two young men, Marek and Darek, and Iza had gotten physically intimate with both of them at various instances in the past, and now she is pregnant. She is not sure who the father is, and Iza fears that revealing this will make both the men leave her, so she asks for Sylwester’s advice. The mature and experienced man slightly asks her if she wants to keep the child or give it away after birth, but this infuriates Iza, and she storms out of the room. She finally builds up the courage to tell both her friends about her situation, and the two men have a serious fist-fight between them at work the next day. However, both of them remain warm and caring towards Iza, unlike how she had feared their reaction would be. Wiola returns home after a few days and tries returning to work as a theatre teacher for small kids. When she remains cold towards her father, Sylwester dresses up as Loreta and shows Wiola his real self. The daughter is shocked beyond her wits initially and is about to express her disgust at such an act when a terrible mining accident in the town causes an earthquake, and the conversation is interrupted.
How Does The Mining Accident Turn Things Around For Sylwester And Wiola?
Wiola’s first thought after the accident is the well-being of her daughter, who works as a server at the cafeteria of the mine office. Sylwester quickly changes over and accompanies her to the office, where hundreds have already gathered to check on the safety of the workers. While many workers are quickly rescued, Marek and Darek, who are coal miners, remain stuck underneath the rubble, and a special rescue team is sent to get them out. The rescue operation continues for a few days while Iza and her family return home. Wiola watches Loreta’s performances on the internet and seems to gradually grow more accepting of her father’s identity. While explaining her sickness and recovery to her young students, she talks about Sylwester as a good and kind-hearted man. She has a direct conversation with her father soon after and agrees with his homosexuality but still scoffs at his cross-dressing. Sylwester admits that he had gone away so many years ago because he was ashamed of his identity and was scared to reveal himself to his wife. Now he calmly states that getting validation or acceptance from his daughter was not his purpose, but he genuinely wanted to reveal his true self to her. Around this time, young Iza returns home in a desperate condition, as her water has broken, and her family rushes her to the hospital. Iza gives birth to a baby son, still unaware of the fates of her two friends. The rescue team finally reaches Darek and Marek, but only one of them survived the accident. As Darek is pulled out with heavy injuries and admitted to the hospital, Marek is announced to be dead. When Iza regains consciousness after childbirth, she learns of this terrible news and is further saddened and concerned by the condition of her baby, who needs to be operated on as he was born prematurely.
First, the fate of the miners who tragically died from the accident, and then Iza’s childbirth and her sad situation slowly help Wiola and Sylwester build up a bond. Talking more freely with each other, the two go to see their grandson and great-grandson for the first time. It is now that Wiola first hugs her father and expresses her wish to do something to support the families of those killed in the accident. Together they came up with the idea of organizing a fundraising program with song and dance to gather money for the families whose sole bread-earners passed away in the accident. They meet with the director of the coal mine, Patryk Adamski, to get permission for such an event, and it becomes clear that Sylwester and Patryk used to be lovers. Before leaving Poland, Sylwester had been gifted a ring by Patryk, which he still wears on his finger all the time; but Patryk, now a married and established man, does not express the same feelings anymore, and just formally gives them the permission for the program. Knowing that the program needs to be very elaborate and eye-catching, they invite an established popstar, Elizabeth Zasada, who originally hails from the region, to perform for free. Sylwester is given the charge of directing a show where the miners will sing and dance, and the man calls upon his choreographer best friend Corentin for help. Together, they start training the mine workers for the program, and Sylwester plans elaborate costumes for them to wear. Although the workers are very awkward and stiff at first, they gradually open up to the idea and sincerely practice the choreography. Another obstruction presents itself when a few of the workers suddenly call a strike against the administration, but that too is helped out when Darek recovers from his injuries. The man himself visits the protestors and convinces them to help the fundraiser so that they can actually monetarily assist the grieving and helpless families. Darek also visits the maternity wing of the hospital and sees Iza and her baby son. Together, they decide to raise the kid as their own and let go of any doubts about the child’s biological father. On the day of the program, Elizabeth Zasada arrives at the place but also arrogantly leaves when her own designed costumes are not accepted by Wiola. The woman, for the first time, stands up for her father, and when the pop star leaves the show, she demands the return of Loretta one last time to cheer up the evening like she always did in Paris.
‘Queen’ Ending Explained: What Happens To Sylwester? Does His Family Finally Accept Him?
Despite having many inhibitions about presenting a drag queen performance in his Polish hometown, Sylwester is finally convinced by his daughter and best friend. He changes over into Loretta and wholeheartedly plays the role, greatly entertaining the audience with her singing and energy on stage. With the show being telecast on live TV and also streamed on the internet, funds raised gradually rose, and the whole cause was greatly helped when one hundred thousand euros were donated by drag queens from all across Europe. Iza also watches the stream at the hospital with Darek, and she is delighted to see her grandfather as such an entertaining and enigmatic character. Lastly, Patryk also meets Sylwester backstage to congratulate him, and the two embrace each other before parting again, but this perhaps serves as a well-deserved closure for Sylwester. Six months pass, and Sylwester is seen again in his tailoring shop in Paris, which has been revived and is back in business again. However, Iza, too, has now moved to Paris, along with her baby and possibly even Darek, and the young woman often leaves young Sylwester Jr., named after her loving grandfather, in the tailoring shop. Wiola, meanwhile, has recovered her health and has also moved in with her long-time colleague and new romantic partner, Jozef. The elderly Sylwester now loves his time with his family, especially with the baby, and they all plan to spend the next Christmas together.
Despite a sense of settlement all over the ending, Sylwester still remains free and young at heart, though, as he is seen to share a spark of chemistry with a young passer-by man at the very end of the episode. “Queen” wraps itself up with a sense of inhibition-less self-acceptance that it had often shown previously too. The workers at the mining company in Poland had gradually accepted Corentin and Sylwester despite initially looking down upon them due to their sexual orientation and gender identities. The series presents all of it without making it look too forced or pushed around, despite it being clear that its ideas are quite far-fetched from reality. Overall, going by Netflix standards, “Queen” is not that bad a watch at all.
“Queen” is a 2022 Polish Drama Series streaming on Netflix.