Questions about the suitability of a fifth season of “The Crown,” premiering two months after Queen Elizabeth II’s death, are largely overshadowed by other issues, as the Netflix series reloads with prestigious new talent in key roles and old issues, and feels more disjointed than unusual. . The result is an uneven campaign that reinforces the danger of the Emmy-winning series overextending its reign.
That issue is one of the juiciest bits of palace intrigue in the new season, as Prince Charles (Dominic West) frets about his heir status and openly discusses “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 we know that Elizabeth will hold that title for another three decades and that Charles is about to take a huge toll on his public image thanks to the breakdown of his marriage to Diana (Elizabeth Debicki). One that perfectly captures Diana’s pensive and slightly sad look. The character doesn’t fare as well in the emotional aspects, as this time he’s portrayed less sympathetically, at least in his naivety about the hell that speaking publicly about the Royal Family would unleash.
The discomfort associated with these public outbursts falls on the new Prime Minister John Major (Jonny Lee Miller), who knows the dynamics of what’s going on better than the main actors, which doesn’t make his role uncomfortable.
Writer/producer Peter Morgan once again gets into all kinds of situations over the course of 10 episodes, including the unlikely friendship that develops between Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce, who plays a big role) and his wife Penny Knatchbull (Natascha McElhone). Felipe’s child, who starts trying to console him for the tragic death of his daughter.
Philip also takes it upon himself to chide Diana for not understanding the institution she married into, reminding her that “it’s not a family.” It’s a system.”
However, given the focus this decade has placed on Diana and Charles, the digressions seem more obvious – and in some cases, questionable – this season from the plight of Princess Margaret (now Lesley Manville), who has not quite made peace with it. the past, a broad detour into the background of Dodi and Mohamed al-Fayed (Khalid Abdalla and Salim Daw, respectively, of “The Runner”), Diana’s latest boyfriend and wealthy father obsessed with her status, in whose eyes the young man can never be. get enough
Throw in an episode devoted to Russia and the sordid history surrounding the Revolution, and it occasionally feels a bridge or two too far.
The upper lips remain incredibly stiff, even in the harshest of situations. When Charles privately tells his mother about Diana, “I did as you asked, mother. I’ve tried to make it work,” he answers honestly: “Being happily married is a priority rather than a requirement.”
The casting remains brilliantly flexed on almost every level (Timothy Dalton even makes a small but significant cameo) and for those who can’t get enough of the Royal gossip, Morgan again informs the audience of the version of what unfolded behind closed doors. , such as Charles and Diana chatting quietly after the divorce was finalized.
“You were never young, even when you were young,” he tells her.
“The Crown” has been great, as its Emmy haul for its fourth season attests, and it’s still pretty good. However, given the highlights of the younger versions of these characters, borrowing from the Queen, watching the current season is a preference rather than a requirement.
“The Crown” begins its fifth season on November 9 on Netflix.