Picture this: You’ve been waiting for weeks for this social season. Your elegant dress or dashing suit arrived yesterday from the tailor. Your most gracious hostess, the Duchess of Hastings, has invited you to a day of festivities at her home.
Then you click “play” on your TV, remembering you’re not a British aristocrat in 19th-century London, but a stressed college student taking a break to binge the newest season of “Bridgerton.”
For anyone who’s seen the first season of “Bridgerton,” you know the chaotic, swoon-worthy romance between the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton. This season focuses on the Viscount of the house, Anthony Bridgerton, and two sisters, Kate and Edwina Sharma.
I had a heavy disdain for Anthony’s character in season one, yet somehow the producers made me see beyond his prickly, superficial personality to understand the stress he endured as a young man becoming the new Viscount after his father’s death. He develops more empathy in this season with Kate constantly challenging his authority on everything.
The tension in this period drama could be cut with a knife. The shots are filled with long glances and cutscenes of people’s hands almost-but-not-quite touching. The cinematographer Jeffrey Jur knew exactly what he was doing.
Unlike in season one, which kept Lady Whistledown’s anonymity until the end, viewers get to watch a wild goose chase yet again as Eloise tries to uncover the infamous gossip writer. I would have enjoyed this plotline more had the writers made me continue to guess who Lady Whistledown was. They made it so obvious in season one that this character had to play a different role this season.
I wasn’t as disappointed that the Duke of Hastings didn’t return at all in season two. The relationship between him and Daphne felt very forced and toxic. I know many people appreciate the “fake dating” trope that occurs in romance dramas, but their version didn’t sit well with me after I rewatched season one.
Compared to Daphne and Simon’s relationship, Kate and Anthony communicate with each other to an extreme degree, spilling all of their most sacred thoughts and feelings without saying them directly. While this season falls into the favorite “enemies-to-lovers” trope, I appreciate the deeper connection these two characters made before their relationship became anything serious.
As a character, Kate is devoted to finding the best husband for her sister. Not only has she given up most of her future dreams of finding a husband, but she will also stop at nothing to find the most eligible man to win her sister’s heart. Simone Ashley does a fabulous job of playing the ruthless older sister who was feared by all the bachelors this social season.
You’ll have to watch the whole season to find out whether Kate and Anthony end up together, but it’s a much more satisfying conclusion than I expected.
All of the characters felt more well-rounded than last season, which focused heavily on the romance of Daphne and Simon. There are some spicy moments between certain characters but way less overkill than last season. Keep the remote close if you’re watching with other people — that’s the only warning I’ll give for this entire series.
If you enjoy British period dramas, tension-filled romantic scenes, gorgeous cinematography and beautiful costume design, then “Bridgerton” season two is the show for you. Watching it in period-accurate clothing and drinking tea is completely optional but highly recommended.
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