Rot, decay, and destruction cling closely over this season. Once we first see Elizabeth she’s present process a routine medical checkup that has her feeling previous and worn down. Because the story unfolds, Philip strives to really feel helpful once more, with Pryce delivering a young, heat efficiency — maybe too heat; the opposite Philips on the sequence by no means struck me as this nice. And it is not simply bodily failure plaguing the royals — the general public appears to have all however given up on the monarchy, calling into query their relevancy, and particularly their use of public funds — Elizabeth turns to the brand new prime minister, John Main (Jonny Lee Miller), to assist with funds to restore the royal yacht, a lot to the PM’s concern. And later, when Windsor Fortress goes up in flames, the end-times metaphors start to develop greater than a tad on-the-nose and clumsy.
To make issues worse, the household itself is in shambles — particularly the youthful technology, who’re all seen as feckless and spoiled, blowing up their marriages within the course of. Final season painted the royals in a very ghoulish gentle, notably in how they handled Diana. The mistreatment of Diana continues into this season, however the characters have been softened a bit. We do not all the time agree with them, and generally they’re downright silly. However they don’t seem to be as ghastly as they appeared in season 4.
Nonetheless, bother and scandal lurk round each ornate nook, notably in relation to Diana. She struggles to get out from below the thumb of the monarchy, a lot in order that she begins speaking to journalists — first Andrew Morton, writer of the tell-all ebook “Diana: Her Story,” after which journalist Martin Bashir (Prasanna Puwanarajah), who interviews Diana for an explosive TV particular. Diana additionally falls in love with a sort befuddled physician (Humayun Saeed). Historical past tells us that she later entered right into a relationship with Dodi Fayed, and whereas the character seems right here (performed by Khalid Abdalla), their relationship is one thing being held again for subsequent season. However the Fayed connection ends in one of many season’s greatest episodes — a flashback that does not concentrate on Dodi, however quite his rich father Mohamed Al-Fayed (Salim Daw) as he makes an attempt to interrupt into British society. It is a diversion from the principle characters that expands the world of the present and introduces us to characters exterior the speedy royal orbit.