TV SHOW REVIEW - Bridgerton: Season 2
I know, I know, I know. Bridgeton season 2 has been out for 2 months now. WHERE’S THE REVIEW???? Honestly, I was surprised by the demand for this, I definitely didn’t expect to be hounded by my editor and chief within the first day of it being out considering he’s not even invested (thank you for not actually pressing me on a deadline). But it seems as though my opinion is just as sought after as Lady Whistledown’s, and who am I to deprive my readers any longer. (Really though, I just finished my exams cut me some slack guys)
So without further ado dear readers, let’s get into it.
This season begins with the outing of our dear Eloise Bridgerton, and unsurprisingly she isn’t too thrilled about it. Simultaneously we hear our favourite bachelor, since the Duke is off the table, the Viscount Anthony Bridgeton is looking for a wife. Enter the Sharma’s. Mary, a widowed mother to Kate and Edwina Sharma ventured from India with her daughters to find Miss Edwina Sharma a husband. Despite the expectations Eloise feels after Daphne’s outing, it was inevitable that Edwina was named the diamond of the season, and with that, it seemed as though Anthony found his bride to be. Except more than one game is being played at once. While Anthony is pursuing Edwina, and struggling with overcoming the judgement of her older sister Kate, Eloise continues to pry into discovering Lady Whistledown’s identity, however, ends up delving into something a little more her taste and finding companionship in friends who seem to share the same intellectual playing field as her, just not the same social class. Cut to the Featherington household, after the death of Lord Featherington as a result of accumulating debt, Lady Featherington and her three daughters await the new Lord of the house who seems to be bringing money and good looks from across the Atlantic, but it turns out nothing is ever smooth sailing in this family’s home.
So I’ll admit, I went into this season with low expectations. I wasn’t surprised that the show had been renewed for season 2, I just thought it ended rather nicely once Daphne and Simon welcomed their child. But I suppose when you mix low expectations with an enemies to lovers trope, it really can’t go wrong. There was always a small chance that Anthony could’ve ended up with Edwina, however seeing the intensity between Anthony and Kate, whether it was hatred, lust or love, it was evident how this story would pan out. Although the story was predictable, that in no way made it bad (it's not like season 1 was the craziest unconceivable plot either). It was inevitable who would end up together and who would be betrayed, regardless, the writing was done well enough for me to stay engaged through all 8 hours. For those of you who weren’t too thrilled about the level of promiscuity shown in season 1, I’d reassure you that season 2 had limited the explicitness to 2 scenes rather than an entire episode. This didn’t really make the season better or worse for me, the writing still provided evident tension and chemistry between our protagonists, just less nudity. I suppose this reminded me of the diluting of nudity you can see in Game of Thrones seasons as the show proceeded to get more popular. Now along with our main 3 protagonists, there were plenty of other stories happening at the same time. A small portion of time was dedicated to Benedict and his art ventures as well as Eloise emerging herself in the new wave of feminism. Not enough time was spent on the other Bridgeton siblings for it to be boring, however, one side plot I could’ve lived without was the Featherington storyline. I just failed to see the relevance and maybe it was just because I was so enthralled with Kate, Anthony and Edwina, but considering the minimal character growth I saw in any of the family members, I could not wrap my head around how much screen time was given to them. Still, I can leave this season respecting Lady Featherington a little more.
I think we should move on to arguably my favourite thing about this season. Our actors. Was I devastated that Regé didn’t return to reprise his role as duke for even a scene? Yes. Did I recover through the amazing performances by the Viscount and Sharma sisters? 100%. For Jonathan Bailey to completely cause a 180 in my opinion of Anthony within a couple of hours was done brilliantly. Each time “I am a gentleman” was muttered made me forget season 1 Antony, sideburns and all. To consistently depict charm and wit all while bearing the weight of family expectations and responsibility throughout the season shows only a fraction of how well Bailey commits to his craft. Now Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran are the HIGHLIGHTS of this season. I had only previously seen Simone in Sex Education and the shift from teenage schoolgirl to sophisticated mother figure was exceptional yet effortless. This was the first time I had seen Charithra, and considering her character doesn’t get dealt the best cards, I think she handled it pretty well. Chandran elevated Edwina’s character from a mere obstacle in a love triangle to a strong empowered individual who is so much more than a pretty face. I’m very excited to see anything else these two will turn up in.
I have to say, as a brown girl myself, the representation hasn’t been all too good in western media. I mean how many times do I have to see a Muslim girl remove her headscarf for a man, or another brown girl trying to go against the norms but ends up being depicted as nothing more than sex-obsessed?? Let’s not forget how Parvati and Padma Patil didn’t receive the attention or time they deserved in Harry Potter. So to see two fierce brown women who are depicted as intellectual and impressive on-screen was refreshing and made me love myself a little more. And if it had such an impact on me, I can tell it had an impact on many others and will continue to do so, I mean, it only took an eyebrow scrunch to start up an entire TikTok trend.
Of course, I suppose no one would value what I had to say if I wasn’t a little critical (don’t get me wrong, I show heavy bias with this show and will continue to do so through the next 9 hopeful seasons). I think one thing which was done better in season 1 compared to this season was the music. I did listen to all tracks separately and no doubt, the renditions were phenomenal, I just feel like they didn’t leave as big an impact when combined with scenes in contrast to season 1. Plus, Kate and Antony’s last dance to wrecking ball? Yeah, not for me personally. That being said, it’s clear that this season had a larger budget to work with. Cinematography and lighting were done very well, not to mention the vibrancy of settings and costumes stood out very nicely. This season depicted brighter, saturated colours which I think mirrored our protagonists, as did the more subdued pastel palette Simon and Daphne’s season bore.
Overall, yes there are a few things I would’ve liked to see done differently, but at the end of the day, I loved this season through and through. Officially, I think it’s time I put into writing, something I’ve been weighing up for the 2 months now, I liked season 2 more than season 1.
Viscount and Viscountess Bridgeton - I look forward to seeing you next season.
The Meticulous Marauder
P.S. Yes I’m as heavily distraught that season 3 isn’t based on Benedict’s story but we must have faith that Shondaland knows what it's doing, it hasn’t let us down so far.
Story Arc: 14/20
Integral vs Filler Episodes: 14/20