The Crown Season 6 Part 1 is the start of the final season of the royal drama exclusively on Netflix. Created by Peter Morgan, the final season stars Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Debicki, Jonathan Pryce, and Dominic West, among others. This first part of the last season was almost exclusively on Princess Diana after her divorce and the reaction from both the Royal Family and the public.
Of all of the storylines within The Crown, over the decades that it has covered, the events of this first part of the final season may be the most intense and difficult to approach. Because of its recency, occurring in 1997, the ramifications and those affected are very much still alive. It’s important to implement the drama whilst remaining as faithful as possible.
The structure can be both understood and excruciating. All four episodes released so far are focused on Diana and what happened after her divorce from Prince Charles. The focus is on her relationship with Dodi Al Fayed and the watchful eyes of the world and the royals. The show is building towards a horrific and monumental moment. And the flow of the show fluctuates between effective and dry. It moves much faster than previous seasons, but there is still a lull, especially in the middle.
The show focuses on the aftermath of events, not necessarily the event itself. This pays more respect to the victims, which is so crucial for this topic. There are plotlines in the early stages, including Charles’ relationship with Camilla Parker-Bowles and the attempt to find the Queen’s blessing to continue with her. There is also the Al Fayed family, following a man with a royal complex, desperate to be king. These are great storylines, all leading to the final, agonizing plot point. But anything else can feel like a distraction, not carrying the punch anymore when something huge is coming.
The pacing does lead to a feeling of sickening dread, building up to a point that is unbearable to see it reach its crescendo. Particular attention is given to the suffocating, horrific behavior of the paparazzi, endlessly hounding Diana. The Crown has followed the symbiotic relationship between the royals and the press since the beginning, from having total control to none at all. It’s impossible to know the actual events behind closed doors minute by minute, but many facets were discovered after the fact that have been implemented within the story and emphasized heavily.
The event and the situations following it have some beautiful but also bewildering moments. A creative decision is made that is the most bizarre and unnatural concept within the entirety of The Crown. It is an unsettling decision that is purely for narrative reasons. It allows for conversations to be had, which has always been the bread and butter of the series. Still, for an event and a situation that caused so much national, perhaps even international, anguish.
The performances are fantastic, and the dialogue is frequently brilliant as well. The novelty of the crown has been the relaying of the cast, switching the main characters every two seasons to better represent the ages of the royal family over the decades. Staunton has been inspired as the Queen’s third and final portrayal, balancing the glimpses of emotion and the quiet restraint the woman displayed over her life. The monarch rarely displayed any sign of soul in public, but that stoicism has to be challenged in her home. Adding humanity to someone who has had to hide it demonstrates the depths of Staunton’s talent.
But the true delight of the last final stretch of the season has been Diana. In a show full of brilliant impressions and interpretations, Debicki has been one of the best by far. She embodies the fame and the fragility of the princess whilst doing an immaculate portrayal. She truly takes over this first part of the season with the glamour and grit that many of the others lack. And through it all is pain, isolation, and sadness.
The dialogue inside the palaces and the castles has often been the drawing factor of this show, and there are so many moments where it excels. This is still a family drama, but the family is as fractured as it’s ever been. It’s full of resentment and bitterness. The Queen and Prince Phillip still carry the old values of secrecy and reclusiveness. That is the opposite of what Diana represents, and the classic and the modern face up. Charles, expertly played by West, is a superb mixture of the two.
Stuck between the old and new, and with a life ruled by three different women, Charles has to do right by all three. The conversations are a reminder that the royals struggle with closeness and are anything but a normal family. All of the emotion surrounds pomp and protocol and very rarely mix. However, there are several instances where the dialogue drops, lacking the bite or the real devastation that could elevate it to a new level. The inconsistency zaps much of the energy in a show that can regularly lack it.
The Crown has never been safe for the Royal Family, and that willingness to tear into its rawest storylines has to be respected. It doesn’t spare blushes or make one member of the family look better than the others. The English Monarchy is all about self-preservation and image, and the examination of that has been vital and fascinating.
The production, set designs, and costumes continue to be spectacular. The Crown features multiple aspects of recreation, with so many superb features. The famous photos and footage from the time are gorgeously remade, inch perfect. Paparazzi snaps, and news reports are brought back to life, with actors taking the place of some of the most photographed people in the world. The show has never had t
The honesty and critical manner in which the Royal Family is shown in their darkest days is engrossing, presented over the lifetime of its greatest servant. For 70 percent of the time, the historical drama gets it right. The performances excel, and the production design is stunning. The themes maintain focus and have been laced throughout the entirety of the series. But there are moments where the plot can drag and go stale. The dialogue can be dampened, and the edge is softened. This was the pinnacle of everything the show had been building towards, and the fluctuation meant it didn’t consistently utilize the power and potential that was there.
The Crown Season 6 Part 1 is the hardest story to tell. To adapt to one of the most tragic and televised events in the entire history of a nation was never going to be an easy feat. There are so many avenues to cover, so many viewpoints, opinions, and mysteries. It is a brave venture, and The Crown has never sought to play it safe.
The Crown Season 6 Part 1 is available on Netflix. Part 2 releases on December 14th.
The Crown Season 6 — Part 1
The Crown Season 6 Part 1 is the hardest story to tell. To adapt to one of the most tragic and televised events in the entire history of a nation was never going to be an easy feat… It is a brave venture, and The Crown has never sought to play it safe.