This article contains some spoilers for “Bridgerton” season 2
Just over a year ago, I wrote a relatively scathing article expounding how much I disliked the book “The Viscount who Loved Me,” the book that inspired the second season of hit Netflix series “Bridgerton.” And now I am here to review that very season.
For everyone who is too sensible to watch the show (I applaud you), Viscount Anthony Bridgerton has decided that this is the season he is going to find a wife. He soon sets his sights on marrying the newly arrived Edwina Sharma. However, he constantly finds himself rebuffed by Edwina’s older sister, Kate, who wants to ensure that her sister finds a true love match. Soon, Anthony and Kate find themselves drawn together. Can they resist their deeper desires in favor of their better senses?
And now is the part where I shock you: I liked it! Yes, I will say it again, I liked season two of “Bridgerton.” That is, with some stipulations.
In terms of plot and character, this season fixed many of the complaints I had with the book as well as with the first season of the show. Anthony Bridgerton, the hero of the season, wasn’t dripping in misogyny as he was in the book and even as he was in the first season. We got some incredible moments in which he turned agency over to the women in his life, whether that be Kate, Edwina or his mother. I thought Jonathan Bailey did a great job with Anthony’s portrayal, ultimately endearing me to his character.
On the flip side, while I loved Kate’s character and thought Simone Ashley was wonderful in the role, the show would have benefitted from more screen time and story focusing on Kate. She simply did not get quite the same attention and nuance that Anthony did.
Another issue I had with the books and the first season was that the romance focused too much on sexual tension and not enough on good old fashioned yearning. Thankfully, I felt that this also improved, aided by an expansion of the “will-they-won’t-they” plot for the entire season. In addition to the main romance, most of the side plots were well done. We got to see secondary characters like Queen Charlotte, Lady Bridgerton and Lady Danbury become more layered and developed, and they tied up some loose plotlines from season one. Ultimately, what really improved this season was, to paraphrase Karolina Zebrowska, the showmakers leaning into the fantasy aspect of the show. They shed some pretense of historical accuracy and really played with the fun, glittery parts of the show, both literally and figuratively.
In a take so cold it lives in Antarctica, episode six was by far the worst episode. The writers let the farce between Anthony and Edwina go too far, and then made Edwina have the audacity to be mad at Kate. The entire situation was melodramatic and unnecessary. Did the rational person in the room go on vacation the day they were writing it?
However, the final episode made up for it in my mind. Maybe it is because I’m a romantic, but I loved watching everything come together and seeing the conclusion to the romance. In what is definitely a hot take, the best scene of the entire season was the final fight between Eloise and Penelope. The scene works mostly because they were both in the wrong, and as such, the extremely emotional row between them just worked. It was more painful and emotionally tumultuous than any of the fights between romantic couples that have appeared on the show, and is a testament to both actresses.
My final consensus is that “Bridgerton” is a mixed bag. There are both good and bad things to be said about it, and I don’t think anyone is right or wrong for their opinion on the show. In the end it is fun and as long as it continues being candy in television form, I will be watching it.