The Crown Season 5 Review
Watching this show is beginning to feel a bit like Desperate Housewives of Buckingham Palace, the trials and tribulations that the Crown goes through in its reign seems to be pushed aside for petty disagreements and personal trauma. No longer is the show about the Crown, this season was the Charles and Diana show and in some ways that is the entertainment that people want to watch, but at the same time it still fell incredibly short.
In season 5 we are thrust into the 1990s where the Queen goes through some of her worst years in her reign, including multiples of her children getting divorced, her Windsor home going up in flames, and and her becoming more out of touch with the common man. We see in this season that she still expects the same gratitude and love that she saw in her early years yet, because the climate and the world has changed including a horrific recession, these things are no longer being met. Especially when the Queen asks for renovations on her yacht and is told that the government cannot pay for it and maybe she should do it herself, plus the fact that TV is becoming a bigger thing in everyone’s lives and so her commitment to the BBC is being overshadowed by other channels including ITV and Channel 4, and how in her years she has to adapt and change but for anyone at that age it can be very hard.
My biggest concern looking forward to season 6 is they have a lot to cover in that season. There have been rumours that they have cast a young Kate Middleton and that the Charles and Camilla’s wedding will take place, and so to go from the mid 90s to suddenly early 2000s there’s a lot that they need to cover and I worry, if it is another 10 episode series, they will do it flippantly or they’re going to have to miss out on big moments. I especially found it surprising that they didn’t have Diana’s death as the finale of this season, being set in the 90s and the fact that the yacht storyline was the focus of the final episode was very underwhelming. So now for season 6, to think you’ve got Diana’s death, Princess Margaret’s death, the Queen Mother’s death, Charles and Camilla’s marriage and even possibly Will meeting Kate at University, you wonder how are they going to do all that and make it exciting and entertaining and give it the time that it deserves.
This season spent so much time looking at the personalities of each of the characters that I did feel like it was very slow and methodical, there were no big moments that were really exciting and while it’s still entertaining to watch, it definitely didn’t have the same punch as previous seasons.
That was until we got to one particular episode…
Ipatiev House depicts the murder of the Romanov family who were cousins to the Queen’s father and were executed incredibly brutally. The storyline, especially for people who may not have heard of it or know too much about it, was very interesting because you learn about Prince Philip using his DNA to identify the remains that they found, but also to know what horrors this family went through during the execution and after their death. It is absolutely heart-wrenching and watching it felt more like I was watching Game of Thrones than the Crown because it was so brutal and didn’t hold anything back. I get the Crown wants to be punchy and have a point and purpose but was this a step too far? Did we need to see how horrific this was, especially when other moments weren’t given the same amount of horror included in them? Especially in reference to the Aberfan disaster. To me, it really felt like it came out of left field and definitely didn’t feel like it sat right in this show. That’s not to say I didn’t appreciate it, because sometimes you have to understand the horror in its entirety to realise what these people went through, but it just seemed a bit too much for this type of show especially with how it’s presented itself thus far.
Another thing that I noticed the producers in this season loved to do was to juxtapose between the English monarchy and the suffering of others. We saw during the Romanov execution that their own cousin was out shooting pheasants, so you had the soldiers shooting these poor people vs the then King shooting pheasants in a much similar manner. Other shots where we saw the children’s marriage’s breaking down was then mirrored by the Queen finding out about Prince Philip’s friendship with Penny and seeing her own relationship have a wobble, but knowing that she does not get the same grace that her kids do in being able to divorce. To use this technique once or twice is fantastic at really punching home the point of how opposing two different worlds can be, but to use it again and again especially in the same season does get a bit underwhelming. I wish they had tried other filmmaking elements to push home the intention that they were hoping for rather than constantly falling back on the same technique.
Overall I think this season was perfectly fine, it definitely wasn’t one of the best and I don’t know whether that’s because of the time that it was set being more recent history so people have more understanding of what was going on so it’s not as exciting, or whether it’s the actual storytelling going down more the personal lives vs the Crown and its duties. I will say that the way that the new cast played their characters was absolutely fantastic and I found them all very enjoyable despite some of them not really looking like the person they were portraying, but I think that’s the biggest win of the season. The actors were fantastic and I just wish that the writing was a bit better and the filmmaking had a bit more to it that it didn’t become quite repetitive and end on such a lull of an episode, there really could have been so much more if they had left it on a cliffhanger like we have seen before.
What do you think of The Crown season 5?
Until next time.