The Crown Season 5 Early Review: Imelda Staunton's drama lacks the artistry of its predecessors

The Crown Season 5 starring Imelda Staunton as Queen Elizabeth, and Elizabeth Debicki as Princess Diana released on November 9. Read Pinkvilla's early review of the show's first episode below.

Updated on Nov 09, 2022   |  03:57 PM IST  |  443.6K
The Crown Season 5
The Crown Season 5 created by Peter Morgan releases on November 9 on Netflix.

The Crown Season 5

Cast: Imelda Staunton, Elizabeth Debicki, Dominic West, Jonathan Pryce

Creator: Peter Morgan

Language: English

Streaming Platform: Netflix 


The first episode of The Crown's Season 5 begins with a reminder of the journey we have been on with the series. A flashback of Claire Foy's Queen Elizabeth launching the Royal Yacht Britannia is shown and it soon blends into Imelda Staunton's Queen Elizabeth (Imelda Staunton) who is now 65 years old getting a medical check-up. The episode at various points draws parallels between The Queen herself and her beloved home out of all her royal residences, the Britannia. With the fifth season focusing on the cracks that began developing in the royal family from before Princess Diana and Prince Charles' separation soon moves to show how much like the condition of Britannia which needed some repairs to stay afloat, the monarchy too was about to have its shape restructured. While the first episode features Queen Elizabeth heading to Scotland to spend time at the Balmoral while aboard the Britannia, there's also focus put on Princess Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) and Prince Charles' (Dominic West) Italy trip which was touted to be the couple's second honeymoon though a closer picture showcases how it was far from it. Britain's political climate is also captured as we meet then-Prime Minister, Sir John Major (Jonny Lee Miller) who finds himself surprised by the instability of the royal family as he gets a closer look a the future of the monarchy. 

Plus Points:

With every season of The Crown, if there's one thing that has remained impressive, it's the detailed work done by the production design as well as the costume, hair and makeup team. It's no easy task to recreate historical events as well as the intimate evenings hosted by the royal family with such comprehensive abilities and the team once again manage to keep up their skills at the very best. In terms of performances as well, Imelda Staunton does a fine job of acing the Queen's tone and this time also showcases a different side of the monarch as we see her using a more authoritative tone than we have seen in the past performances from Olivia Colman and Claire Foy. There's also Dominic West and Elizabeth Debicki who nail the mannerisms of Charles and Diana. 

Minus Points:

If there's one thing that made The Crown a success was its ability to weave fact and fiction together in an artistic mix that served a wholesome drama combined with superlative performances. In the case of Season 5 though, it's the element of blending the fictional elements along with real events that doesn't seem to go as smoothly as we have seen in the past. The dialogues also seem on the weaker side this season and it's hard not to miss the crisp writing that the series has boasted of in the past. In the first episode itself, the new season feels largely forced and in the face as opposed to the subtlety of storytelling that has been its signature style in the past seasons. 


Britain's royal family has been a topic of discussion and coverage in the global setup since decades and one can't help but wonder if the reason monarchy has survived in the UK and still remains relevant is partly also because of the way the family forged their connection into pop culture over the years. Millions across the world recently mourned the loss of Queen Elizabeth, it's telling of the impact the monarch has had on not only Britain's history but as a world leader. The Crown's early seasons for many served as a gateway into the making of Queen Elizabeth, the subsequent seasons have shown how the monarch braved through wars and stood tall as a female leader in a world run by men. With Season 5, the creators promised to take a look at the monarch's most challenging time on the throne in terms of both her professional role as well as on the personal front. While the idea of Queen going through the fear of being deemed irrelevant or obsolete is a worthy tale to tell, the fifth season doesn't seem to take a deeper look at it. 


The first episode of the season feels rushed as it tries to give us multiple perspectives on how the royal family was struggling from all sides including a rather not-so-subtle look at Prince Charles' apparent scheming methods to put pressure on the Queen to abdicate her throne for him to step in and modernise the monarchy. Diana and Charles' growing distance also gets captured majorly through the eyes of their kids, particularly Prince William. The Waleses are miserable with each other but unfortunately Debicki and West don't successfully bring that tension to the screen as Diana and Charles, as convincingly as Emma Corrin and Josh O'Connor did with merely their silences. While both Elizabeth and Dominic capture the mannerisms of Charles and Diana, it still feels like them putting on an act rather than naturally sliding into the royals' quirks. 



  • Imelda Staunton's Queen Elizabeth act
  • The costume and production design team's impeccable work
  • Jonathan Pryce's gravitas-filled performance

Going by only the first episode of The Crown Season 5, the series seems to have taken a weak start compared to its previous parts. The series which has been known for its engaging storytelling abilities seems a tad lost on what it truly wants to say in the new season. 

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Credits: Pinkvilla, Netflix

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Top Comments
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Nov 09, 2022
I agree! Unfortunately, I was disappointed with the first two episodes of Season 5!