‘The Crown’ on Netflix: In Season 5, The Crown is Crooked

The sequel to The Crown, which premieres on Netflix Wednesday amid a royal controversy, is more soap than ever, from Charles and Diana’s War of the Roses to Tampon Gate. Season 5 arrives as the first since the death of Queen Elizabeth II’s anti-hero, but the monarchy and the series struggle to survive.

Every year, the same controversy routinely revolves around Netflix’s crown jewel: Should The Crown and its author Peter Morgan be casual about the facts? Now that the series has arrived in the ’90s and covers events not so far in the past, the controversy is deeper than ever, in part as Prince Charles consults with two politicians in the drama about his mother’s abdication in order to become king. Not exactly a typical son.

Former Prime Minister John Major and his successor Tony Blair were not amused, calling the series “fantasy” and “complete nonsense”. Actress Judi Dench, who won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Elizabeth I in Shakespeare in Love (1998), called the drama “gross thrills.” Then Netflix bowed out, calling The Crown a “fantasy play” for the first time under the trailer.

We get to the mud battle between the Prince and Princess of Wales, the raucous sexual phone call when Charles tells Camilla (Olivia Williams) he wants to reincarnate as a tampon, and Diana’s iconic ‘revenge dress’. But the new season, through thick and thin, finally revolves around Charles (Dominic West) who waits for his ruthless “mummy” to finally die – almost unmistakable given that the Queen passed away two months earlier.

It all starts and ends with freely borrowing. The young Queen, played by Claire Foy, launches the royal yacht Britannia in the hope that “this new ship, like your new Queen, will be reliable and consistent to weather any storm”. When we see her again, she transforms into Imelda Staunton (“Vera Drake”). In the early 1990s, Britain collapses, and so does the old lady’s body. “Consider the cost of the repairs now that their best days are over,” the Queen advised. Why should a taxpayer do this? Why not just shut down the Ancient Creature?

There’s no denying that Peter Morgan, for all his criticism, still takes a pro-royal stance. So far, he’s achieved the rare feat that his lavish, award-winning drama, a blend of real-life sociopolitical and elegant fiction, has gotten better each time. You can’t say that about season five.

Aside from the changed actors again, there’s not much to see. It appears that Elizabeth Debicki was born to play Diana, while Imelda Staunton confidently follows in Olivia Colman’s very big footsteps. It’s not the fault of these actresses that we know the epic inside and out. After all, there are many films and documentaries. Recently, Kristen Stewart played the “Queen of Hearts” in Pablo Larren’s “Spencer” in 2021.

And to make it even more exciting, Morgan has to use his imagination. There is a scene where Charles visits his ex-wife Diana and flirts with her and laughs while she makes him make scrambled eggs for him. The scene is worse than the wet mess on his plate. It is also very likely that it is completely fictional, and one must at times wonder if Peter Morgan is even considering a farce. Distinguished fans may contend with kitsch, but to borrow Morgan’s nautical metaphor, Netflix’s flagship series is in danger of sinking.

(Service – www.netflix.com/at/title/80025678)

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