Bridgerton switches from lust to love in season 2

From left: Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgerton

From left: Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in Bridgeton
photo: Liam Daniel / Netflix

The hallmark of Netflix hit Bridgerton’The first season featured the torrid sex scenes between Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), the jewel of the Bridgerton family in the social season, and handsome bachelor Duke Simon (Regé-Jean Page). Instead, this season focuses on unbridled longing rather than the fulfillment of those desires, shifting from inspiration Lady Chatterley’s lover to Pride and Prejudice.

After all, this season focuses on eldest Bridgerton descendant Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), determined to find a suitable candidate for his viscountess (as Adjoa Andoh’s Lady Danbury puts it, “marriage is a business”). Unfortunately, Anthony makes Mr. Darcy look like the life of the goddamn party. He chooses the younger of the stunning sisters from the newcomer Sharma family, Edwina (Charithra Chandran), despite his apparent friction with Edwina’s older sister Kate (Simone Ashley). Kate is “twenty-six,” so essentially an old maid in the Bridgeton Universum whose main wish is to marry off her sister so that she can return to Bombay and lead an independent life as a governess.

But as the Bridgeton This season’s catchphrase warns us, “Love never follows the rules.” It’s immediately apparent that the tension between Anthony and Kate is a faint facade over white-hot sexual chemistry. You can’t really blame Anthony, as Simone Ashley is so good looking it’s hard to look straight at her, like the sun (an appeal enhanced by her succession of jewel-toned dresses from the genius Bridgeton Costume Design Department). Plus, where Daphne was a bit of a milquetoast heroine, her mild innocence was key to her sexual awakening at the hands of Simon, Kate is far more impressive. As well as riding, she hunts and is just as fierce at turf games as Anthony himself, where her sister is far more accommodating, if less exciting.

We’d almost rejoice in the romantic dilemma the opinionated, overbearing, and humorless Anthony (does the A stand for “arrogant”?) find himself caught in, except that Bridgeton has the common sense to include a series of flashbacks to show why he is the way he is. Pushed into the role of head of family by tragedy when he was too young, Anthony never wants to endure that kind of agony again. (Ruth Gemmell, who plays his mother, Lady Bridgerton, is particularly effective in the scenes from previous years.) Simon never wanted to get married and have children because his father was an idiot; Anthony seeks a comfortable but loveless marriage in order to save himself and his future spouse from a soul-shattering loss.

From left: Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury and Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in Bridgerton

From left: Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury and Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in Bridgeton
photo: Liam Daniel / Netflix

But as he and Kate keep flirting over the course of several episodes, it becomes clear that love has other plans for Lord Bridgerton. It’s thanks to the show that the numerous scenes featuring extreme close-ups of the couple breathing heavily and millimeters from actually kissing are as hot in their own way as Simon and Daphne’s clinches were last season. Ten episodes may seem like a long time to stretch an entangled love triangle, but the romantic complication rings true: Kate may pine for Anthony, but her true loyalty is with her sister, and she can never be with him without Edwina to violate irrevocably. It is an effective roadblock to action with no easy way out.

If only one of Bridgerton’Its myriad subplots were only half as convincing. Since last season ended with the revelation that scandal paper author Lady Whistledown is actually young Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), a variety of players have wanted to expose her, from frustrated Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) to Penelope’s best friend Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie). ). Eloise begins the season by coming out to society, but still rejects the endless heap of manners and customs her mother wants to adhere to. She even manages to stumble upon a women’s rights rally, so her arc definitely has the potential to be intriguing if only it were a little more focused.

None of the other Bridgertons are ready to step on the record just yet: Benedict (Luke Thompson) still aspires to artistic pursuits. (A scene in which he drinks a hallucinogen-infused tea that his brother brought back from his travels is quite funny.) Colin (Luke Newton) refuses to realize that his perfect partner, Penelope, is standing right in front of him. Curiously, “F” Bridgerton-Child Francesca (Ruby Stokes) is almost as absent as Simon himself (when Regé-Jean Page left the show very publicly after the first season). The Featheringtons, who are also part of the Bridgertons, continue to cry out for respectability even as the machinations of matriarch Lady Portia (an excellent, over-the-top Polly Walker) seem destined to throw the family into even greater financial troubles.

Still, those looking for romantic escapism with picture-perfect historical detail might fare a lot worse than Bridgeton. During series like Downton Abbey and its new American offshoot The Gilded Age use their historical era to examine issues such as class differences, Bridgeton boasts of no such lofty aspirations. We’re here for those gorgeous dresses and smoldering looks that the show seriously delivers. There is even a reference to Mr Darcy’s bath in Pemberley Pond; we get it Bridgeton.

To the Bridgeton Season 2 predictions based on a close reading of the books, get Alison Foreman’s opinion here. Bridgerton switches from lust to love in season 2

Lindsay Lowe

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