The Crown – Season 5 Episode 2 “The System” Recap & Review

The System

Episode 2 of The Crown Season 5 begins with Prince Philip re-recording his speech, which is symbolic given much of this chapter is about how best to convey a narrative. He is conscious of the importance of each phrase while talking as a member of the royal family and the importance to use the correct terms.

He’s stopped with sad news while he’s discussing his fondness for carriage driving during an interview. Leonora Knatchbull has passed away. After they return from the funeral service, Elizabeth advises Philip to visit his godson Norton. They exchange heartfelt words about how they make each other better people. Elizabeth goes on to say, “Isn’t that the whole point of marriage?” It’s a strange statement for Elizabeth to make, especially given that most of her kids are in miserable marriages and don’t seem to be able to make each other better people, in fact they bring out the worst in each other.

When Philip comes to the Knatchbull home, Penny admits that things aren’t always ideal with her and Norton. Philip goes on to talk about how chaotic his life had been before meeting Elizabeth, emphasizing with her and telling how the security of wedlock resonated with him.

In this episode’s context, it’s fascinating to watch how Philip and Diana, who both had unstable upbringings, perceived marriage as a promising, potential cure for their traumatizing upbringing, and how their marriages had differing levels of success. But Philip also recognizes that, after marriage, the two individuals inevitably grow in separate directions.

When Philip is about to leave, he encourages Penny to set up a charity in Leonora’s memory and to choose an activity for some pleasant distraction. He proposes to try and fix the “irreparable” carriage she gives him so she can enjoy carriage driving as he does.

James Colthurst, a companion of Diana’s, informs her that a journalist is working on a book concerning her and would like to question her for a taped interview. He goes on to say that they wouldn’t have to meet in person. According to Morton, it’s an opportunity for her to seize control over her narrative.

Diana wants to avoid problems but is fascinated. James is worried as well, considering how naïve Diana could be. Clearly, Morton will become wealthy as a result of the book, but James needs to be sure that his friend won’t suffer as a result. Morton proposes that after creating a draft, Diana can choose to destroy it if she chooses to.

James heads over to Kensington Palace to assist Diana in recording the tapes. When questioned about her motivations, she replies that she has tried every other course of action, including confronting Prince Charles and contacting the queen. She goes on to express a particular worry connected to what she cherishes the most: her kids.

Diana can’t afford to take her boys overseas without facing the possibility of losing them because the Royal family could take legal custody of the successors to the throne, and she is well aware of the heartache of losing contact with a mother personally. This scene in particular serves as a reminder that Diana’s emotional problems did not start when she got engaged to a member of the royal family, though that undoubtedly intensified and added to her pain and grief. Her early years were traumatic as well.

She discusses her difficult upbringing, the events leading to the actual wedding, her unhealthy eating habits and bulimia, and also her difficult marriage. Diana claims that the monarch or Camilla was always her husband’s primary and only concern. Lastly, Diana talks about her past suicide attempts and admits that she attempted to commit suicide while she was expecting William.

Philip goes on to say that avoiding one’s feelings of grief is not a healthy approach. After a pleasant ride in the Knatchbulls’ freshly refurbished carriage, Philip consoles Penny, who is still visibly grieving over her daughter. He recounts learning how grief seeps in and never goes away after having lost his beloved sister Cecile in a plane accident.

Penny is assured that she’ll be happy someday, although in a different way, as he adds that he has learned to live with it and so will she. It has become abundantly evident throughout this particular episode that this season’s Philip is far more tender than earlier interpretations of the Duke of Edinburgh.

While Philip is about to leave, Penny gives him some valuable information. She informs him that Diana is allegedly associated with a book that isn’t particularly favorable towards the royal family.

James is riding his bike when a white van crashes into him. Once Morton returns to his apartment, he discovers that it has already been trashed but nothing’s been taken. Diana believes that these occurrences, along with recording sounds during her phone calls, aren’t accidental incidents; rather, someone is attempting to get her.

After learning about the book from Penny, Philip rushes to Kensington Palace. He acknowledges that Diana has always been dear to him and that he is on her side. He asserts that it is factually inaccurate to consider the Windsor’s as just a family because they are all a part of the system.

Furthermore, he goes on to explain how complaining in public harms the system more than it harms a family. He counsels her to act however she pleases in secret but to maintain her allegiance to Charles and the other members of the Royal Family in public. She tries to clarify if he is suggesting that she keep quiet, and he agrees leaving her speechless.

Philip later informs Elizabeth about his encounter with Diana. He tells her that he advised Diana that spouses need to keep secrets from one another, which worries the Queen. He attempts to back off, but he continues and makes the situation worse. God is always watching, and the Queen reminds her husband, but Philip believes that sometimes the Big Guy takes a break.

Elizabeth turns and leaves, silently disappointed. Elizabeth is seen feeling lost as a result of this unexpected 180-degree turn from the tender moment they had at the beginning of the episode.

Diana: Her True Story, by Morton, is presently available and soaring off the shelves globally in the current timeline of the show. Morton gives several interviews on the world-record-breaking biography before the show comes to an end. He honors his commitments by saying he only talked to those who knew Diana.

Morton informs a reporter, “I can declare categorically that I did not interview the princess,” which again is factually true. When questioned if he feels bad about how this book portrays the Windsor’s, Morton paints the royal family as cruel, mentioning that they are experiencing a crisis that was entirely their own making, one that seems destined to result in war.

The Episode Review

In the previous episode, we saw Charles give a monologue about the Yacht needing to be replaced, despite the fact that it is sentimental to them. Considering this, when he speaks with Diana he does not consider divorce, even after how sour Diana and Charles’ relationship has become.

Knowing how much his son adores Camilla and how much it is plainly affecting someone he claims to love, he gives her some heartbreaking guidance, emphasizing how the Royal Family treats things better than they treat people.

Until this point, the Crown has tended to favor Diana’s point of view, failing to convey Charles’ argument fairly for the sake of debate. Charles’ endless affection for Camilla is demonized rather than shown as humane. What happens to Diana is heartbreaking, but what happens to Charles is also tragic, and depicting that aspect is vital.

The episode deals with Diana’s tapes and her struggles after being in an unhappy marriage, her eating disorder, specifically bulimia, her suicide attempts, and her tragic past. Elizabeth Debicki does an excellent job of presenting Diana’s feelings.

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You can read our full season review for The Crown Season 5 here!

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2 thoughts on “The Crown – Season 5 Episode 2 “The System” Recap & Review”

  1. As a big fan of The Crown this and the first episode were a weak start to the series. Watch the next one however and the fine form returns, making you at last sit up in astonishment at the new historical facts you learn about a time you thought you know

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