When Bridgerton’s season one hit Netflix on December 25th, 2020, it struck a nerve with the viewers. The world was exhausted with pandemic lockdowns and rewatching the same old stories over and over again. Bridgerton was daring and sexy in a previously unseen way for a historical TV show. Once you got over the historical inaccuracies, season one was enjoyable and perfect to forget about the daily life. Therefore, the expectations on season 2 of Bridgerton were immense, as it premiered on March 25th 2022, and it managed to surpass them.
*Spoilers for season two ahead*
This season focuses on Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), the Viscount and eldest Bridgerton sibling. While season one had to establish the world of the show, he already got sufficient screen time in season one to be a beloved character
He is head of the family and puts a lot of pressure on himself to fulfill his duties, even at the expense of his own happiness. This leads to him resenting his siblings for not having such responsibilities. The irony is nobody in his family considers this necessary. His major character development happens when he finally realizes that being dutiful and pursuing happiness, are not mutually exclusive.
Jonathan Bailey does an excellent job in Anthony’s portrayal. He perfectly walks the line between vulnerability and the dutiful nobleman. He is best in the quiet scenes, especially in the final two episodes. Anthony’s inner struggle is written all over his face, without dialogue or great gestures. He displays an incredible range that makes you excited to see where his career might lead (he is currently starring in the play “Cock” with Taron Egerton at London’s West End).
The viscount’s love interest Kate Sharma is played by Simone Ashley. Kate is an extremely modern woman, who believes independence is the mainThe viscount’s love interest Kate Sharma is played by Simone Ashley. Kate is an extremely modern woman, who believes independence is the main fulfillment for a woman. She is witty and caring to the point of self-abandonment, which is what she has in common with the Viscount. Simone Ashley’s portrayal is mature and convincing. She manages to display Kate’s unladylike qualities, without losing her femininity. Despite this, she is sometimes overly hostile, which takes a little away from the character, and one tends to feel sorry for the Viscount.
The fact that Kate’s sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) is named the season’s diamond creates a love triangle. At first glance, Edwina is what Anthony considers a perfect Viscountess. The only problem is that Kate is set against the match, and that she and the Viscount keep having emotionally charged encounters. Although they are two intelligent characters, their decisions sometimes make the viewer groan in frustration.
A lot has been said about the fact that season 2 cut down the sex scenes significantly compared to season one. However, that doesn’t make it any less sexy, on the contrary. While season one was overly direct when it came to intimacy, Kate and Anthony’s almost kisses are bursting with tension. Their banter is serious enough to work in the enemies-to-lovers-trope, but still never unforgivable.
Another interesting point is the greater focus on Benedict (Luke Thompson). If the show follows the books, his character will be the lead in season three. He acts as Anthony’s best friend, and while the brothers are very similar in appearance, they couldn’t be more different in character. Anthony is dutiful to the point of being stiff, while Benedict is relaxed and enjoying his bohemian lifestyle. The brothers are opposite poles, and despite this they are very close, with Anthony also finding admiration for his brother’s artistic endeavors. It is safe to assume that the writers wanted to add depth to Benedict to set him up for next season’s lead.
One of the most annoying points was the Eloise (Claudia Jessie) storyline. Although she is supposed to be intelligent and strong-willed, most of the time she comes off as silly and obnoxious. The writers seem to have forgotten that you can be smart and have manners. She is rude to potential suitors, without there being any reason for it. Also, her search for Lady Whistledown is borderline obsessive.
While many critics focus on the fact that the series deviates from the novel, most changes round up the series perfectly. One major change is that the infamous “bee scene” doesn’t lead to a forced engagement between Kate and Anthony. In the book, this development feels forced, with the scene being unintentionally funny. In the TV show, however, the scene is slower and more intimate. Of course, this change influences the rest of the series massively.
In many ways, season 2 of Bridgerton is more mature than the previous one. The characters are better fleshed out and the writing is more nuanced. The acting is stellar from the whole cast. If you can accept it is not a historical romance, but a romance set in its own universe, it is enjoyable with surprising depths.
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Maria is our resident nerd and passionate about all things fantasy and science fiction. She is Spanish and grew up in Germany, which is why she is a native speaker of both languages. Becoming a fantasy writer was only logical to combine her skills and passions. In addition, she is working on her English degree and loves to play tennis and dance Salsa. She is currently writing her first novel and will mainly be covering Star Wars, Star Trek and Shadow & Bone.