Bridgerton Season 2 – a Bingeworthy Affair with a Few Frustrations
WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Bridgerton, season 2
Our beloved Netflix series, Bridgerton, has returned for another season. Rest assured that it is full of just as much yearning, scandal, gossip, illustrious wardrobes, and grand estates as the previous season, if not more. Bridgerton season 2 is a bingeworthy affair that welcomes back old fans and dazzles new audiences.
Our focus is directed to Anthony Bridgerton (Johnathan Bailey), the eldest of the Bridgerton children. Anthony enters this social season determinedly looking for a wife, however he makes it clear that he does not desire a love match like his sister, Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) found the previous season. He is merely seeking qualities fit for a dutiful wife, which he finds in this season’s diamond – and new character – Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran). However, their courtship is quite difficult due to Edwina’s fierce, protective older sister, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). Kate and Anthony despise each other yet find themselves continually drawn to one another in private rooms, quiet gardens and even in the mud.
You can guess what happens in the end.
It was refreshing to see two dark-skinned Indian women centred as lead characters in this season. The lack of representation of darker-skinned Indian women is visible throughout television and film, and hopefully Bridgerton can be the turning point for this gaping hole to be filled. It is even more important to note that Chandran and Ashley weren’t merely cast because “Bridgerton is colourblind and can’t see race.” Aspects of Indian culture are displayed throughout the series, from Kate, Edwina and their mother, Mary Sharma (Shelley Con) bathing in turmeric the night before Edwina’s wedding day, to the pashminas and beadwork in their costumes.
The plot focusses on Kate and Anthony’s relationship and their hatred for each other slowly forming into a burning desire that fills the room with sexual tension with just one glance. I am a sucker for a slow burn, especially when it’s an enemies-to-lovers trope, and Bailey and Ashley have a chemistry that is unmatched. However, much unlike season 1, where Daphne and the Duke (Regé-Jean Page) succumb to their passions early in the series, Anthony and Kate dodge kisses left and right. Whether one of them turns away or they are interrupted by something, it takes six episodes of the eight-episode season before they finally cave. To be honest, I found myself getting frustrated, wanting to scream: “Just kiss already!” There’s only so much sexual tension one can take before the effect slowly begins to wear off and annoyance takes over. The hypersexual flurry of season 1 was severely lacking in the second season. As much as I love a tense scene that keeps you on the edge of your seat, it was overdone. So much heavy breathing, so little action.
Bridgerton’s subplots are particularly interesting this season, too. They provide extra insight into characters and families, their desires and secrets that are hidden from the ton. Eloise Bridgerton’s (Claudia Jessie) story particularly caught my attention. Her distaste for high society and the debutante season is just as strong as season 1, along with her determination to unmask notorious gossip columnist, Lady Whistledown. However, it’s Eloise’s blossoming friendship – and potentially something more – with lower society printer’s assistant, Theo Sharpe (Calam Lynch), which piqued my interest. Their rendezvous will hopefully be explored more and grow in season 3, because everyone adores a good forbidden romance.
I find it fascinating that no one is talking about Lady Featherington’s (Polly Walker) development and subplot. Lady Featherington may show it in peculiar ways, such as forcing an engagement upon her daughter and her supposedly rich cousin, but Lady Featherington truly does have her daughters’ best interests at heart. I must admit, she was getting on my nerves more and more as the season progressed. Who forces a scandal upon their own daughter in a desperate attempt to save her family’s estate? And what on earth was that growing flirtation between Lord Featherington (Rupert Young) and Lady Featherington, his fiancé’s mother? The Featherington’s were looming in incestual territory, and it was freaking me out. However, Lady Featherington putting her girls first and kicking Lord Featherington out of their home due to his web of lies and scams the at end of the series was a satisfying twist.
I know the focus of Bridgerton season 2 shifted to Anthony finding a wife, but I can’t help being a little disappointed by the lacking presence of Daphne and absence of the Duke. Regé-Jean Page was such an impactful character in season 1, and he was sorely missed in the show’s second season. It seemed as though Daphne and the Duke’s story was completely discarded in the shift of focus, and they randomly sprinkled Daphne in a couple times to remind the audience that she was still there. Some of her scenes were important and contributed to the plot, such as her walking in on one of Anthony and Kate’s many almost-kisses. However, other scenes felt forced. I wish Daphne was even more involved in Anthony’s love life because he influenced hers so strongly in the previous season.
Aside from my few minor frustrations with the series, Bridgerton season 2 was thoroughly enjoyable, and I binged it faster than I’d like to admit. The turmoil, scandal, character development and costumes made this seasonas Bridgerton as ever. I am eagerly waiting for season 3 to be released.