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The Crown Season 5 review: Dirty attacks don't make pretty TV shows

As the Queen of England, Imelda Staunton comes in and sweeps one off their feet: at 60, old but not dejected; breaking but not bitter. And THAT, is The Crown's sole source of praise this season.

2.5/5rating
The Crown Season 5 review: Dirty attacks don't make pretty TV shows
The Crown Season 5 is riddled with metaphors
  • Pallabi Dey Purkayastha

Last Updated: 08.45 AM, Nov 11, 2022

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STORY: As it happens with most iconic shows circling iconic people, The Crown Season 5, despite its best efforts, has run out of ideas to make mundane moments iconic on screen in the lives of the most-talked-about family in the world.

REVIEW: Oh, Dear Lord, Peter Morgan must really be scratching his head over all the condescending reviews that have started to surface on the internet, calling his final patch of work on the Royal Family of Britain as dissapointing and unflattering. All of which, by the way, is true. 

Some dramas shape your overall TV-consuming sensibilities, while others drag on for so long that with every irrelevant scene and/or a series of poorly conceptualised sequence, something in you shatters, too. And—it breaks my heart to say this—The Crown Season 5 (final outing) falls right under the latter category.  

A still from the show
A still from the show

After all the initial grandeur, followed by some astounding acting, courtesy younger versions of the Queen, Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton (of Vera Drake, Another Year fame) comes in and sweeps one off their feet: at 60, old but not dejected; breaking but not bitter. And THAT, is The Crown's sole source of praise this season ... period. 

The final installment cherrypicks the most controversial years of the family's life in public: the plethora of scandals from the 1990s, and how the now-deceased Queen had tactfully handled what, some may say, was a PR disaster of the century. Of course, the season has its eyes set on Charles (Dominic West) and Diana (Elizabeth Debicki). There, at the centre of it all are two of the most fascinating characters to have ever lived in the public eye, yet Morgan obsesses over shifting loyalities and dwindling morals and not building them on screen for who they are: scandalous, loved, yet liked and despised all at once. 

This season is more aggressive and bitchier in its tone and treatment than its predecessors. For one, the Queen's revenge interview with Martin Bashir (Prasanna Puwanarajah) is an inclusion that seemed more like a mud-slinging campaign and not an earnest effort at moving the plot forward ("The script demanded it," as they say.) No points for guessing, there are many of those sprinlked all over Morgan's self-written script.

Without even realising, the creator hides the show's many discrepancies by mounting a near-perfect period-apt set and inculcating the constant sniping that constituted the Charles-Diana drama. Sorry, relationship.  

Speaking of that, West's Charles is understandably more authoritative and publically charming than his estranged wife. But, Debicki, too, gives a homage-esque performance as Diana. Sure, the spitting resemblance and that elaborate wardrobe helped but can restrained rage be taught? I reckon not. 

You know what they say about all good things must come to an end? The Crown Season 5 should have taken that adage a bit more personally. 

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