‘The Crown’ Season 5, Episode 10: Recap And Ending, Explained: What Can We Expect From Season 6?

The final episode of Season 5 of “The Crown,” titled “Decommissioned,” is here, and I am here to tell you that it is perhaps the most disappointing episode of the season. I cannot delve ahead with a jagged sense of mystery behind this episode’s lack of engagement without clearly stating how it left me so devoid of any feeling whatsoever. I was unable to gather the reason for the overall dip that this season took; episode after episode, I waited in desperation for it to finally show some of its old charms, but alas, here we are at the tenth and final episode of the season. Decommissioned tries its very best to tie up the remaining threads of the story in its finale, especially by bringing in themes and metaphors from the first episode as well as characters from the third episode of the season. Britannia is here, so are the Al-Fayed men. Caught at the fulcrum of it all is the royal family, struggling to rectify the unending personal crises and bring itself to represent the rapidly changing cultural landscape of the nation.


If one remembers correctly, “The Crown” has established some sort of tradition to end on the note of a picture being taken, which suitably diffuses the moment into a single, unmoving fixture. All the previous seasons ended with a picture being taken- the most memorable one being in “The Crown” Season 2, where the royal family posed for a picture where none of them could stand still for a moment. It is Matt Smith who has to raise his voice to finally stop the fuss and pose for the picture. Season 5 does away with that conceit and does not end on a suitably convergent note. Instead, what we get is open-ended in its indication that this tale will not end on a happy note. We have Diana entering troubled ground with the Al-Fayed as she decides to spend the vacations in the South of France. As she boards the ship, we have—in loud metaphorical contrast—the Queen, who finally bids adieu to her beloved Britannia. She visits the yacht, which has served her constantly for all these years and finds herself completely aware of the present situation. She’s old too, and perhaps a little outdated in the eyes of many. As she traces the empty corridors and rooms of the yacht, The Crown evokes the previous episodes of the show, especially the bitter argument that ensued between Elizabeth and Philip in episode 1 of the second season. It’s a teary-eyed memory for the Queen and a more icy one for the audience, which are not too keen on the choice to end the last episode in this fashion.

The highlight of the episode surely belongs to another showdown between Elizabeth and Charles, where the Queen, stunned to learn that Charles is using the yacht to enjoy a vacation with Camilla, bitterly makes her point clear that there can be no good in the relationship when the public is so against it. There’s no way the relationship will bring any good favor, and if Charles continues to conduct himself in such an undignified manner—she actually means the strictly secret conversation that was held between Charles and the new Prime Minister, Tony Blair—the survival of the monarchy will be potentially threatened. Charles is in no mood to act coy about his thoughts and tells his mother that her Victorian-era perspective has no tenacity to survive the wind of change that is brought about by the modern century.


This episode also makes us quite aware of the position of Diana and the event that leads to her meeting Al-Fayed again. In the opening moments of the episode, we follow Diana as she watches a TV special where a live audience consisting of citizens of the state is being asked to vote either in favor of or against the British monarchy. Diana does not shy away from dialing “no” a hundred times over. The creators of the show really do not give her any inward life other than in relation to the marriage, as she admits to the Al-Fayed’s that she is more glum and miserable than ever post-divorce. Elizabeth Debicki does her best with Diana and throws herself into the portrayal of a woman who has lost her identity, but she’s let down tremendously by a weak script. The same goes for Imelda Staunton as well, in the role of Elizabeth, who has now become more of a passive reactor to the chain of events that follow. Most of the time, she stands as someone who is not quite aware of what is happening around her, and by the time she is, she is either too stunned to process or conjure up a suitable response. In the line of succession between Claire Foy and Olivia Colman, Imelda Staunton’s Elizabeth is, unfortunately, the weakest.

Yet again, the final episode wastes a lot of time, including a subplot about Dodi Al-Fayed’s “Casanova” image, where he finds love with a model actress that his father has a hard time approving of. Now a big Hollywood producer, Dodi is living in California, where he is after this particular mansion he wants to buy, which is being bid on by actor Michael Douglas as well. He needs the money from his father. Mohamed is fed up with his son and expresses his dislike for the new lady in his life. Mohamed is directly asking his son if her being beautiful is enough for him to sleep with her. The only saving factor is that he expresses his disappointment in Arabic. In my opinion, including the entire dinner table conversation in the episode, knowing that the woman is literally being slut-shamed and gaslighted didn’t have to be a part of Decommissioned. The creators of the show know exactly the disservice they are doing to a show that has consistently portrayed strong-willed female characters who have the ability to figure out their actions by themselves. I found the favor of shaking up the image of Mohammed Al-Fayed and continuing his story from episode 3 here a little unnecessary.


Now that we have reached the end of “The Crown” Season 5, there is a clear indication of what we can expect from the next and final season. Although Elizabeth mourns the loss of the royal yacht, one thing is certain: She is not giving up her duty so easily and will continue to be the face of the monarchy. As for Charles, his desperation over the marriage being finally settled means he can now look forward to rebuilding his life with Camilla by his side. It won’t be easy with the public reactions, but that won’t deter them from staying together. As for Margaret, Season 5 really sidelines her the most, and we don’t really see a woman in control of her story anymore. She’s more of a lost image, unable to reclaim her position. Leslie Manville deserved so much more. We have “The Crown” Season 6 to look forward to, fully aware that it will chronicle the tumultuous last days of Diana and how it shocked the royal family like never before. With Season 5 ending on such a disappointing note, one can only wish for the last season to shake things up. Until then, The Crown must win, must always win!

See more: ‘The Crown’ Season 5, Episode 9: Recap And Ending, Explained: Who Is Couple 31?

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Santanu Das
Santanu Das
Santanu Das is a writer who likes to have Sally Rooney books by the table, and when not reading or writing, you will find the champ clicking pictures of the sky that brightens his mundane days. He believes a film a day can cure almost all feelings of doubt and make everything just perfect.

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