From beautiful gardens and ballroom settings to stolen looks and scandal behind closed doors, season two of the hit show “Bridgerton” is sure to meet your fancy.
“Bridgerton” takes place in the Regency period of England when aristocrats, noblemen and royalty alike are in the pursuit of marriage to someone within their echelon. While searching for love — or rather a suitor that will bring the family glory and riches — the most notable families become entangled in scandal from premarital canoodling, gossip and social faux pas.
Season two’s storyline shifts to the patriarch of the Bridgerton family rather than featuring the characters who dominated the first season. The choice to flip the script and follow new characters was likely because of the abrupt resignation of one of the main characters but it ended up making the show more enticing.
Aside from the new storyline, I was quickly captivated upon realizing I would see the roles of women in old England shift from one of duty and weakness to empowerment and purpose beyond reproducing. Spoilers ahead.
Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) — the patriarch in question — sets off to find his match. Not for love but out of the inherent obligation to lead his family. During what is called “the season,” or a time full of social events with eligible bachelors and bachelorettes, the Queen (Golda Rosheuvel) deems one lucky lady the “diamond” of the season — the crème de la crème of potential wives.
Bridgerton goes for the season’s diamond, Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran). Unfortunately, her overbearing sister, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), believes Bridgerton’s gestures are disingenuine.
Kate fits the role of the overprotective and annoying sister so well that I could actually feel the frustration of a younger sister. As a younger sister, I enjoyed this because I could relate to the frustration, and as an older sister, I felt the urge to protect a younger sister come through.
After tumultuous encounters and several interactions, it becomes apparent that Bridgerton is not in love with Edwina, but with her older sister Kate. While Kate also falls for Bridgerton, she tries to deny her feelings for Edwina’s sake, because, by the time they admit they are in love, it is too late.
At the very last second, Edwina is enlightened and sees through shared looks between the two that they are in love. Bridgerton is left jilted at the altar by his scorned lover while Kate tries to repair the damage and assure her sister nothing is going on, but cannot hide her undeniable feelings.
Edwina perfectly reflected the coming of age part of the plot. She enters the crazy world of courting under the impression that her sister knows best and never truly makes a decision herself.
She has an epiphany and reclaims her power by the end of the season, transitioning from the meek, humble girl to a boss babe in the span of an episode. Chandran’s acting alone was enough to make my eight hours of viewing worth it.
The scandal really begins unraveling here as the wedding is called off amid the Queen and a mysterious gossip reporter releasing an article about another member of the Bridgerton family.
The journalist — a young girl named Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) — is a member of another prominent family and best friends with Eloise Bridgerton, Anthony’s little sister. Featherington goes by the alias Lady Whistledown.
Throughout the entire series, the Queen is trying to uncover the identity of this journalist and comes to believe it is Eloise when it is actually her best friend.
In an attempt to save her best friend from the consequences of the crimes committed by speaking poorly of royalty, she reveals that Eloise has been going to radical women’s rights gatherings.
Eventually, the scandal begins to subside, and we see Edwina lighten up and come to terms with her sister and ex-fiance’s love so they can finally be together.
Rarely does a show keep me on the edge of my seat the entire time, but “Bridgerton” kept me invested even after watching for eight hours straight.
The storyline following the anonymous gossip writer reminds me of the popular show “Gossip Girl” — if it were to take place in 17th century England.
Stylistically, “Bridgerton” takes a seemingly outdated period and way of life and modernizes it through classical renditions of new music like Harry Style’s “Sign of the Times” and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.” This was my favorite part of the entire series, and every time I heard these renditions I tuned in and immediately wanted to download the soundtrack.
I also appreciate that it is diverse as far as the cast goes and does not play into the traditional archetype of old England. Similarly, Eloise and Edwina redefine the meaning of femininity and show that even back then, women were more than just a pawn and did not have to fit the mold society was forcing upon them.
Anyone in search of a new show should consider giving this series a try, even if just to provide you with your daily dose of unrealistic, intense drama.