Assessment: Inevitable Grief Surrounds The Crown Season 6 Half 1

The time has come for the show to tackle one of history’s most heartbreaking moments. Here’s our review of The Crown Season 6 Part 1.

Everyone knew this was coming. With the first part of the sixth season of The Crown now streaming on Netflix, the question everyone has on their minds is how exactly did Peter Morgan and co. tackle the passing of Diana? The answer: impeccably. But while this part of the season ultimately deals with her passing, it also delves once more into the complicated relationship of the Royal Family with Diana. Paradoxically surprisingly and unsurprisingly, Elizabeth takes the back seat in the beginning, and yet the Crown is still inextricably a major part of everything that happens.

No spoilers ahead so rest easy!

The Crown Season 6 Part 1 shows the complications leading up to Diana’s death—and the aftermath

Farewell, Princess

Image credit: Netflix

Last season ended with Diana, played by Elizabeth Debicki, and Charles, played by Dominic West and still far too good-looking for his role, finally divorced and the Princess of Wales moving on with her life. Those who know their history know that this will unfortunately be short-lived, and when Diana eventually meets Dodi, played by Khalid Abdalla, it signals the beginning of the end. 

Another paradox the show manages to pull off is the simmering lengthy tension before that unfortunate night in the Pont de l’Alma tunnel. I won’t pinpoint where it happens but it’s actually pretty easy when you consider each of the four episode’s titles. Though each episode is 60 minutes each, it’s still a feat that Peter Morgan made me feel the uneasiness in my stomach as Diana and Dodi’s romance played out knowing it was all going to end tragically.

Complications and curses

Image credit: Netflix

The portrayal of the two doomed lovers showed them as kindred spirits, two people trying to leave the shadow of something or someone but never succeeding in being truly free. In the case of Diana, she was always going to be linked to the Royal Family for better or for worse, despite the fact both she and the family would love nothing more than to be rid of each other. It’s these complications in their relationships that form the decisions and their lives. It’s a burden and a curse that they all have to bear. 

The Crown in the background 

Image credit: Netflix

The early seasons of the show had Elizabeth learning the ropes of being the Sovereign, and eventually, she became the epitome of Britishness. In the season, Diana even credited her for showing the people what it means to be British. She’s more experienced now, of course, and Imelda Staunton returns to give a fantastic performance as the late Queen Elizabeth II. But for the first time in a long time, she’s also experiencing something new. What do you do when the nation falls in love with a woman who is no longer a royal? I’m hoping they show her wrestle with this question a little more in the remaining episodes as it was only tackled briefly in this part of the season.

Despite Diana being the focal point of this part of Season 6, the show remains true to its name with everything being inextricably linked to the Crown. As much as they just want to ignore her, Elizabeth, Prince Phillip, Charles, and the rest of the Royal Family cannot deny Diana’s influence. And as much as Diana wants to just live a happy life with her boys, she also just can’t do that. Again, it’s a complicated relationship—and sometimes a toxic one.

Grief and sorrow

Image credit: Netflix

While there are great performances all around, two actors I specifically want to praise are Rufus Kampa and Fflyn Edwards, who play William and Harry respectively. Their portrayal of two grieving boys was key in this part of the season, no matter how short, and they were able to do it very well. 

The decision to divide the season between two parts was a head-scratcher when it was first announced, but after watching the first part, I understand why. To barrel down the season after this part’s events with the audiences still recovering from sorrow and grief would be quite jarring. Even as I’m writing this, I feel like I need to sit and just go through my thoughts and feelings for a few days. In the end, I’m grateful that I have a few more weeks until the next remaining episodes are released.

Relationships and consequences

Image credit: Netflix

It’s always interesting how a movie or TV show tackles a historical event because everyone knows what’s going to happen. The Crown was able to delve into the intricacies of the relationships behind the fateful crash, whether it was Diana’s love for the boys, Mohammed’s disgusting ambitions and meddling, Dodi’s desire to make Diana happy, or even Charles just wanting to do what’s best for his sons (if you hated Charles before, you might be surprised to feel pity for him this time around). The accident that would kill Diana is already a given. We know what happens in the lead-up to it. That’s why Peter Morgan expertly fleshes out the relationships instead of the events.

Morgan also doesn’t shy away from the fact that the tabloids had a direct hand in not just Diana’s death but in making her life and basically everyone in the Royal Family miserable. Details of Diana’s life were for sale and her photos were a get-rich-quick scheme. But in the same vein, it’s also a dire reminder of the public’s fascination for private details of a well-known figure’s life.

What now?

Image credit: Netflix

The question I ask now, however, is how Morgan and co. will land the plane that’s been running for six years and has seen three different cast changes. He has already said that they’re sticking to the original planned ending and not taking the story all the way to recent events when the Queen passed. We know we’ll see William and Kate meet and perhaps tie the knot, but will it be as natural as the ending of Season 6 Part 1? Guess we’ll find out on December 14.

Season 6 Part 1 of The Crown is now streaming on Netflix.

This story first appeared on Lifestyle Asia Bangkok

(Main and featured image: Netflix)

Source: Prestige Online

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