In the first scene of the opening episode of the sixth and final season of The Crown we see a Parisian walking his dog. Near the Pont de l’Alma he sees a limousine chased by scooters diving into a traffic tunnel at high speed, followed by the sound of a large crash.
The accident that we knew was coming has been brought to the fore in the storyline by creator Peter Morgan. We then jump back in time eight weeks and get to see the turbulent relationship of Di (Elisabeth Debicki) and Dodi Al-Fayed (Khalid Abdalla), with a swarm of paparazzi photographers in hot pursuit as a constant motif.
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Mark Moorman writes de Volkskrant about series, films, photography and popular culture.
The Crown has been split into two parts for the final season: the first four episodes, the run-up to the accident and the aftermath, were released on Thursday. The last six episodes can be seen from December 14, with the focus undoubtedly, and thank God, more on the queen is the actual main character in all those seasons, played by three great actresses. The real Elizabeth died during the production of this final season, after which Morgan rewrote the final episode – presumably to commemorate her more than 70-year reign in some way.
Peter Morgan wrote the script for the film in 2006 The Queenwhich focused on the relationship between Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) and the Queen (Helen Mirren, who won an Oscar for her role) in the period surrounding Diane’s death.
The Crown was always at its best, especially in the first two seasons, as a family chronicle that paralleled the events of the crumbling empire. But season 5 and the first episodes of this final season seem to be stuck in an endless and not very tasteful story about a bad marriage and then about the romance between Di and Dodi. The Al-Fayed family in particular comes out very badly, with father Mohamed Al-fayed (Salim Daw) caricatured in his ambition to force a marriage between his son and Di.
After the accident, Charles is suddenly the voice of reason, who, in a rather emphatic speech, demands that his mother open her eyes to the grief of her subjects. With sentences like ‘I let her down in life, I won’t let her down in death‘. You can talk about the historical accuracy of this setup, but dramatically speaking it is a rather flat and emphatic way to express the chaos and sadness of the moment. While that in The Queen just happened so strikingly. In this version it is mainly Philip (Jonathan Pryce) who is portrayed as a vengeful formalist, who continues to emphasize that Di does not deserve royal treatment after the divorce and after her death.
The Crown of course it didn’t suddenly become a soap opera. There are still plenty of sublime little moments in there. In a sigh like ‘Oh, that girl!‘ by Imelda Staunton as Elizabeth, who tries to put away a world of pain, is the series at its best. Furthermore, she seems to have become too much of an extra in her own story. We can only regret the decision to have the ghost of Diana (yes, really) visit the various characters for comforting closing words.
Retake for The Crown to still land well: in a month with the last six episodes.
The Crown, seizoen 6, afl. 1 t/m 4
First four episodes, final season The Crown by Peter Morgan
Met Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Debicki, Dominic West
Available on Netflix
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