The SystemThe Crown : Season 5 Episode 2
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Filming for the season began in July 2021. Jemima Khan, who was a friend of Princess Diana, revealed that she had stepped down as a consultant and co-writer on episodes focusing on the Princess over concerns that the story of her final years would not be properly portrayed. Filming was temporarily halted that December after eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19, which resulted in them being quarantined.
However, many reviewers criticised the season for comparing poorly with earlier ones. Writing for The Atlantic, Shirley Li comments that "The new season of The Crown never risks challenging anyone's reputation. Instead, it merely risks its own as a compelling show". In Variety, Caroline Framke comments that "Morgan's scripts [hammer] their most obvious themes home with clattering thuds, pushing allegory after allegory with vanishingly little nuance". In The Guardian, Jack Seale concludes that "these new episodes are bitty and often just boring, with Morgan casting around for side plots to hide the fact that everything he has to say about the Windsors has already been said".
After the fourth season, there were increased calls for Netflix to add a disclaimer to The Crown to emphasise that the series is a fictionalised portrayal based on historical events. These calls increased given that the fifth season was released only two months after the Queen's death. Veteran actress Judi Dench wrote an open letter to The Times, deeming the series "crude sensationalism" and calling for a disclaimer to be added. Netflix updated both the series description and the season five trailer caption on YouTube to refer to the series as a "fictional dramatization". However, upon the release of the series, no episode contained a disclaimer.
"The Crown" season five covers some of the royal family's biggest headline-making moments from the 1990s, including Andrew Morton's Princess Diana memoir, Prince Charles's BBC interview, Diana and Charles's divorce, and more. But episode two features a death that most people probably didn't know anything about, though it has major repercussions for the rest of the season.
In the first episode of the season, Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Charles (Dominic West) go on their "second honeymoon" on a yacht in Italy. They bring Prince William (Senan West) and Prince Harry (Will Powell) with them, as well as some of the family's friends, the Knatchbulls. Norton Knatchbull (Elliot Cowan), then known as Lord Romsey, is the godson of Prince Philip (Jonathan Pryce). His wife is Penny Knatchbull (Natascha McElhone), and they share three children together: Nicholas, Alexandra, and Leonora.
The first episode of the season sees Queen Elizabeth II embark on a voyage aboard the royal yacht Britannia before she must broach the subject of its expensive repairs with Prime Minister John Major (Jonny Lee Miller).
On season 5 of the series, Philip's friendship with Penny is the focus of two episodes, "The System" and "Ipatiev House," which depict how he encouraged her to take up carriage driving to help through the grieving process following the death of her youngest daughter.
The penultimate episode of the season, Couple 31, interweaves the stories of ordinary couples in the process of their own divorces, alongside the final breakdown of the marriage between Diana and Charles. It's an incredibly sad and intimate episode, and the final confrontation between Charles and Diana confirms that the latter never stood a chance in the first place.
In one of the best scenes of the season that sees two exceptional actors, Debicki and Staunton, going head to head, Diana tries to explain her reasoning for the interview to the Queen. "I've so often been shut out, left to cope on my own. I've suffered from lack of sympathy and feeling and compassion," Diana softly explains in episode 8. However, the Queen shows no sympathy, instead calling her a "broken record," chastising her for using a public forum t