'Near-Perfect', 'Anticlimatic' Or 'Boring'? Reviews For The Crown Finale Are All Over The Place

The award-winning Netflix drama has come to an end after six seasons.
The cast of The Crown's final season
The cast of The Crown's final season

After six seasons of scandal, royal revelations and yes even “ghost Diana”, Netflix’s award-winning drama The Crown is taking its final bow.

On Thursday afternoon, the final six episodes of the polarising show began streaming – and the early critical reception is, to put it mildly, all over the shop.

While the first half of season six got the royal thumbs down from critics, these final six instalments of The Crown have proved to be a bit more polarising.

Granted, some of the reviews are still absolutely scathing (words like “boring”, “anticlimactic” and “tired” have all been thrown around), but others seem a bit more taken with part two.

One four-star review has even described the finale as “near-perfect”, while another hailed it as a “much-improved final outing” and overall “success”.

Here’s a selection of what critics have had to say about part two of The Crown’s final season, starting with some of the more forgiving reviews…

“Given the mixed-to-negative response the first part received, the show’s legacy, to some extent, was therefore always going to rest on this final batch of six episodes. Thankfully, for the most part, this is a much-improved final outing [...] Staunton, Dominic West and the rest of the central cast continue to impress, and, come the end, the series feels suitably wrapped up and like it ends on a high note, in a way that, not so long ago, would have seemed unlikely.”

iNews (4/5)

“A near-perfect ending [...] the last ever episodes linger on the late Queen’s fascinating combination of steadfastness and flexibility, harking back to the reason we fell in love with The Crown in the first place.”

“It is, to use William’s favourite word when Charles asks how he’s doing, fine. The hours you spend on The Crown will never be returned to you, but it’s often engaging and Peter Morgan has an uncanny knack for filling in the necessary gaps between what we know and what we don’t intelligently [...] If you liked the previous series of The Crown, there’s a good chance you’ll like these. And if this sounds like faint praise, it’s the best I can do.”

Jonathan Pryce and Imelda Staunton as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II
Jonathan Pryce and Imelda Staunton as Prince Philip and Queen Elizabeth II
Justin Downing/Netflix

There is some daring dialogue in the final episode, as even the Queen acknowledges that the institution of the monarchy is an awkward, moribund absurdity. Yet in terms of emotional drama, all The Crown has ever really had is the idea that living in palaces is terribly difficult. It’s always been a shaky premise, but it made some sense when applied to people who were never rewarded with the crown. Hearing about the agony of not having abdicated from the actual Queen really is rich.”

“If [Imelda Staunton’s] Elizabeth has seemed a little fuzzy, though, the responsibility lies with Morgan. His conception of the queen as a captive to duty and tradition — someone who can be herself only if she leaves her post — puts the character in a straitjacket. And given that Elizabeth does not step down, despite indications that she thought about it, it leaves him struggling to find a dramatically satisfying ending.”

The Times (3/5)

“There is nothing wrong with the performance of Ed McVey as William. In fact, his portrayal of the prince’s shy decency is a high point. But these episodes feel underpowered, as if the writer Peter Morgan’s heart wasn’t quite in it. It’s as though The Crown is running out of battery power, like the tired bunny in the Duracell ad.”

“[Diana’s] sudden absence from the show leads to a sense of disorientation, echoing the emotions the world experienced in unison over 25 years ago. Without this beacon of charisma, The Crown feels quiet — its colors muted, its volume dimmed. The mood is both true to the post-Diana moment and a less-than-ideal note on which to end a project of such ambition and scope. It doesn’t help that Morgan has restricted himself to a moment with major milestones that lack the fizz of a tabloid scandal or the sorrow of a premature death.”

“Since 2016, the Netflix drama has probed the British royal family from an array of angles [...] in its final six episodes, however, The Crown proves less interested in interrogating the status quo than admiring it. It surely makes for a sweeter finish. But it doesn’t make for a very satisfying one.”

Imelda Staunton and Dominic West play Queen Elizabeth and King Charles in The Crown's sixth season
Imelda Staunton and Dominic West play Queen Elizabeth and King Charles in The Crown's sixth season

“Writer Peter Morgan makes the mistake of writing his characters with too much hindsight [...] The Queen spends the final episode tearily contemplating her demise, but was she really doing that back in 2005 or does Morgan just need a way to throw forward to her death and make his final scenes seem terribly poignant? So now it’s over. That’s the right decision – Morgan had clearly run out of steam and the Harry and Meghan years would be too much to bear…”

“If you thought Ghost Diana was cheesy, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. A pre-credits scene in episode six, the second instalment of the batch, is so utterly bizarre and bonkers, you watch it with your mouth open [...] It’s thoroughly deranged stuff, but at least it provokes unintentional hilarity and provides a few minutes’ respite from the crushing dullness of the rest of it.”

“But when it comes to The Crown and what-ifs, the biggest one is this: what if this juggernaut of a show hadn’t squandered its once-golden potential? As the final six episodes arrive on Netflix, bringing a saga spanning half a century to a close, Morgan’s drama is haunted by the ghost of past glories. Remember when this all felt exciting – when these on-screen royals seemed painfully, gloriously human? Now they exist less as characters, more as vessels for exposition and knowing nods to present-day royal in-fighting.”

CityAM (2/5)

“You can feel how much the creative team respected the late monarch by the end, but the feature-length final episode already feels burdened by being a product of its time: sentimental and saccharine towards the royals by the final scenes, it closes feeling like an overly neat homage.”

Collider (3/10)

“There are other, more successful scenes too good to risk spoiling, which paint a striking picture of the range of performances that have always been essential to the long-term endurance of this series — but they’re effectively more of a whimper than a bang when examined in the context of the show’s legacy. The Crown has always been at its best when devoting its primary focus to Elizabeth above all others. Unfortunately, this sixth and final season realizes that fact much too late.”

All six seasons of The Crown are available to stream now on Netflix.


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