By: Amanda Guarragi
Shonda Rhimes brings us back to the ton with Lady Whistledown’s secret slowly being uncovered. After her long absence, she returns to the writer’s room to share the gossip of the ton once more for this new season. It seems like Lady Danbury has found a possible diamond in Edwina Sharma for the Queen, but her overprotective older sister Kate Sharma may get in her way in finding a suitor. While Daphne Bridgerton is living her best life with the Duke and her newborn, her brother Anthony, is searching for his very own Viscountess to fulfill his duty to the family. This season wouldn’t be complete without a Bridgerton making their debut; as Eloise prepares for the season, she turns to Penelope and Benedict to help ease her mind and ends up getting more than what she bargained for.
Whether you have read the book series by Julia Quinn or fell in love with the characters in season one on Netflix, this show will keep surprising both audiences. For those who have read the book, season two is adapted quite well in showing the relationships blossoming for future seasons. The character development for Penelope (Nicola Coughlan), Eloise (Claudia Jessie), Benedict (Luke Thompson), and Colin (Luke Newton) is very strong and they prove that they can carry the rest of the series. For those who found this little show on Netflix, season two leans heavily on Lord Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) trying to find a suitable wife. Driven by his duty to uphold the family name, Anthony’s search for a debutante who meets his impossible standards seems ill fated until Kate (Simone Ashley) and her younger sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) Sharma arrive from India. When Anthony begins to court Edwina, Kate (Simone Ashley) discovers the true nature of his intentions — a true love match is not high on his priority list — and decides to do everything in her power to stop the union.
This season is different than season one because of the main focus on Lord Anthony Bridgerton. We get more of a backstory on the family and how he developed into the Viscount at such a young age. This show is more than just a steamy love fest and it dives into real feminist issues, mental health issues, and childhood trauma that are beneficial for each character moving forward. If you didn’t really like Anthony because he was the overbearing brother spoiling things for Daphne, then your perception of him will definitely change throughout this season. Even though the focus is more on him, the writers definitely spread the love as best they could and each character had their moment to shine. There is this level of comfort heading back into the ton; a nice familiarity because we get to sit with these characters and explore their desires. If you enjoy a slow-burn romance, then this will be right up your alley and you will appreciate the difference in romance from season one.
The glue that holds the show together is the chemistry between Anthony and Kate. From the playful banter to their actual hatred for one another, the steam was there and it fuelled the season. The eye contact, the sharp remarks, and their subtle grazes all made it worthwhile. Electric chemistry like theirs rarely happens and it’s impossible to look away. When they are alone together, the power balance shifts and Kate is more agreeable with Anthony. But, in front of others, she is constantly countering him and they are equally vexing. We see the difference between sex and romance in this season and it’s such an important thing to note. Love, sex, and romance all go hand-in-hand but there is also a difference in all three of those things and it is explored in this season. Bailey and Ashley have such wonderful moments together. It was all about their intimacy in fully knowing the other and connecting with each other.
Bridgerton expands upon the ton that we know and love. It explores these characters and adds new dynamics to each household. We see growth for each character, including the Featheringtons and how dedicated the Queen (Golda Rosheuvel) is in taking down Lady Whistledown herself. The one character that absolutely shined this season is Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh); she had so much to do with the Sharma’s and presenting them to everyone. She played such an intricate part in their rise in the ton and how the Queen perceived them. This season also shows the loyalty between the senior characters in the story and develops their connection to each other even further. This season solidifies the fact that this is one of the best Netflix series on the platform and will have us swooning for seasons to come.