‘The Crown’ season 5 review: Imelda Staunton takes over as queen when Netflix series returns


Ownership questions over the fifth season of “The Crown,” which premieres two months after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, are largely overshadowed by other issues as the Netflix series reloads with new prestigious talents in key roles and old problems, although it feels more disjointed than unusual. The result is an uneven campaign that reinforces the sense that the Emmy-winning series is in danger of extending its reign too far.

This issue is among the juiciest bits of palace intrigue in the new season, as Prince Charles (Dominic West) frets over his status as heir-in-waiting and openly talks about “Queen Victoria Syndrome” , a reference to his mother, the queen (Imelda). Staunton), being too rooted in the past and tradition to meet the changing demands of a modern monarchy.

Of course, the season begins in 1991, so there’s the tantalizing knowledge that Elizabeth would retain that title for another three decades, and that Charles is about to do a lot of damage to his public image thanks to the breakdown of his marriage to Diana (Elizabeth Debicki). which perfectly captures Diana’s pensive and vaguely sad look. The character fares less well in terms of emotional perceptions, as this time around he’s portrayed less sympathetically, at least in his naivety about the hell that speaking publicly about the royal family would unleash.

The uneasiness associated with these public outbursts falls on the new Prime Minister, John Major (Jonny Lee Miller), who recognizes the dynamics of what’s going on better than the key players, which doesn’t make his role any less uncomfortable for he

Writer-producer Peter Morgan once again dives into all sorts of situations throughout the 10 episodes, including the unlikely friendship that develops between Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce, who plays a major role) and Penny Knatchbull (Natascha McElhone ), the much younger woman in Philip’s Godfather, which begins as he seeks to console her for the tragic death of her daughter.

Philip also takes it upon himself to scold Diana for not understanding the institution she married into, reminding her that “it’s not a family.” It’s a system.”

Still, given the focus on Diana and Charles this decade, the digressions seem more pronounced, and in some cases questionable, this season from the situation of Princess Margaret (now Lesley Manville), who has not Peace be with her. past, to an extensive detour into the backstory of Dodi and Mohamed al-Fayed (“The Kite Runner” Khalid Abdalla and Salim Daw, respectively), Diana’s eventual boyfriend and her wealthy father obsessed with status, in whose eyes the younger man will never be able. get enough

Throw in an episode devoted to the sordid history of Russia and the royals surrounding the revolution, and it occasionally feels like a bridge or two too far.

The upper lips remain incredibly stiff, even in the most difficult circumstances. When Charles privately tells his mother about Diana, “I did what you asked, Mom. I tried to make it work,” she bitterly replies that “being happily married is a preference rather than a requirement.”

The casting remains eye-popping on almost every level (Timothy Dalton even makes a small but significant cameo), and for those who can’t get enough actual gossip, Morgan once again introduces audiences to his version of what developed behind closed doors. , as Charles and Diana chatting quietly after their divorce was finalized.

“You were never young, even when you were young,” he tells her.

“The Crown” has been great, as evidenced by the Emmy for its fourth season, and it’s still pretty good. However, given the highs the younger versions of these characters delivered, to borrow from the Queen, watching the current season feels more like a preference than a requirement.

“The Crown” begins its fifth season on November 9 on Netflix.

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