If there’s one person who can elevate the cuteness of a romantic soap to the level of an elite series, it’s Peter Morgan.
He knows how to use the weapons of classic melodrama – family feuds, high-stakes drama and characters with striking personalities – and cook up a first-rate feast. Never mind that his products are “provincial” by definition.
The pearl of his television practice is the first part of the sixth season of “The Crown”.
The latest chapter in the drama about the British royal family is the absolute pinnacle of Morgan’s ability to recast shallow soap operas into something he won’t be ashamed of.
As a framework, the series follows the rules of sentimental novels. Roughly speaking, the 4 episodes that kick off the sixth season are made from the same dough as “Fanfan Tulip”, “The Mask of Zorro” and “Pride and Prejudice”.
In other words, they are bursting at the seams with lyrical poetics, but the romance is not in a quantity that will make you sit down. At least if you belong to the “gentle” team and have a bias towards the fate of Lady Diana.
In the new season of the series, the Princess of Wales takes over the whole show, putting the other characters: Elizabeth II, Prince Charles, Prince Philip and her sons – William and Harry in a supporting role.
All are sets in Diana’s play, which, as we know from history, has a heartbreaking ending.
There is not a moment of the series that is devoid of Lady Dee’s presence. It’s either physically in front of the camera, or it’s in the mouths of the other characters who thoroughly discuss her life since she’s not royalty.
Her ghost roams (spoiler: literally and metaphorically) on the nerves of the British royal family and ignited commentary in the palace with his life and death.
The opening scene in the sixth season is precisely the fatal accident in which the beloved princess of the whole world dies.
On the screen we see the Eiffel Tower and the Alexander III Bridge illuminated in gold, then the camera pans to the roadway. A black car whizzes by at high speed, followed by a bunch of scooters, and seconds later the action is silenced by a loud crash and honking horns.
A basic common culture makes it clear what we have just witnessed, who is in the car and what will happen from here on.
After this brutally emotional moment, the plot moves to sunny St. Tropez, where Diana (Elizabeth Debicki) arrives with her sons on the yacht of Mohammed Al Fayed (Salim Daou), who is over the moon that soy individuals have accepted the invitation to spend their summer vacation with him.
However, the tycoon’s intentions are not entirely clear. The old fox is enjoying himself as the host of “Matchmaker for Millions” and plans to bring his son Dodi (Khalid Abdallah) and Lady Dee together.
Mohammed calls Dodi and orders him to drop everything he’s got going on – his film projects, his business commitments and his fiancee – and fly to St. Tropez immediately to keep Diana company.
In The Crown, the princess’s first official boyfriend after her divorce from Charles is presented as a silent letter. Bows to his father’s orders, even when they threaten his personal goals and his relationship with the woman he’s in love with.
Dodi is the plasticine man, inspired to fall in love with Diana by his father, who longs for the Western world to love him once and for all.
But whatever the ulterior motives, romance between the chicks flares. Dodi ditches his fiancee and after Diana’s public duties, the two head to the love boat moored off the French luxury shores.
The yacht itself can be seen as a metaphor for Diana’s greatest aspiration at that moment – to find a five-star respite from the madhouse following on her heels.
Flocks of fans, reporters and photographers flock to her, turning something as mundane as buying ice cream into a media sensation.
In this season of The Crown, the princess is desperately tired of the unwanted anthill of people around her. And paradoxically, the accumulation of admirers, who tirelessly take an interest in her life, increases her loneliness.
If we go back to the basic concept of melodramas, it is the fans and the paparazzi who play the role of the “bad guys” in the story, who make the main character’s everyday life miserable. They are portrayed as a heartless crowd who don’t give a damn about making the object of their curiosity uncomfortable.
Peter Morgan has carefully laid the groundwork to make the most of The Crown’s biggest plus – full-throttle drama, but with a nod to a pop culture icon.
Where he needs to tone down the screaming and symbolically bow his head to the memory of the princess, Morgan does. It skillfully balances between piquancy, tearfulness and respect.
The dialogue is well written, the plot is cohesive, and Elizabeth Debicki as Diana is remarkable.
If you’re looking to cry, get emotional, or get in the mood for some summer love this November, the first half of The Crown’s sixth season is perfect for that.
It turned out to be a nice prelude to the finale of the series, which will fill you with more authentic emotions than the Turkish series.
The series “The Crown” is available on the streaming platform Netflix from November 16.
THE CROWN VERDICT (Season Six, Episode One): Three out of five coffees