The season is upon us yet again! The season of rakes and japes and…whatever other monosyllabic words there are that seem to have become synonymous with the global phenomenon that is Bridgerton. Forget about what Lady Whistledown has to say, the real goss is what our writers had to say about this episode. Did our writers eat up the drama like the rest of the ton, or were they left feeling underwhelmed? Read on to find out.
The sun is shining, the skies are clear, and the Queen is wondering why “we have heard nary a peep from Lady Whistledown since last season ended.” Yes, Spring is in the air and so is love for the characters of Bridgerton.
Much like last season, the first episode begins with Miss Bridgerton – Eloise this time, rather than Daphne – nervously preparing to be introduced to the Queen and debut into society, with her family gathering around, waiting for her to make an appearance. Although this time it feels like an SNL parody as Eloise dons a ridiculously large feather headpiece and seems close to fainting, until she is saved by a new pamphlet from Lady Whistledown interrupting the occasion.
There has already been much publicity around this season’s lack of Regé-Jean Page and the cutting back of the raunchy sex scenes that made the first season so scandalous. Partly, this makes perfect sense as this season’s plot explores the troubled love life of the eldest Bridgerton, Antony, who has decided it is finally time to find a wife. While many may still miss the presence of the Duke, there is still so much more about the last season present in this one: there are hilarious bickerings between the Bridgerton siblings, orchestral reimaginings of your favourite pop songs (the characters mingle at the season’s first ball to Madonna’s Material Girl), and a slow burn enemies-to-lovers that is undoubtedly going to make last season’s seem slapdash.
Indeed, just as Antony feels like he has found the only woman who seems to fit his long list of requirements for a wife, the newly-arrived Edwina Sharma, he realises he must get past her strong-headed sister, Kate, first. There’s clearly chemistry between Antony and Kate, both when they first meet on an early morning horseback ride and when they argue in the gardens of a late-night ball, but it’s hard to tell yet whether they want to rip their clothes off or each other’s eyes out. The ending, of course, is predictable: I am sure they will end up together. Although how the plot will get us there – and undoubtedly what angst-filled plot twists await – is anyone’s guess.
Aside from the romance – and maybe even despite it – the most intriguing part of the first episode is the storyline of Penelope Featherington, who was revealed to be the mysterious Lady Whistledown. Not only does she seem to be battling with her own prosperity while her family’s finances flander after her father’s death, she also seems to struggle balancing her snooping and her friendship with Eloise, who would like nothing more than to sneak away from the parties, dances, and all gossip. Furthermore, Eloise seems to have turned her intention from the mindless babbling of gossip papers to the writing of Mary Wollstonecraft and the pursuit to be seen as equal in freedom and choices as her brothers, and Pen is desperate to impress her again.
Full of wit, charm, lust, and lots of beautiful people, I think there is little the new season of Bridgerton will leave us wanting or wondering. Except perhaps, upon hearing Nicola Coughan’s irish accent, this eternally unanswered one: when is the new season of Derry Girls coming out!?
We are greeted with stirring music as we enter the beginning of another ‘season’ at Bridgerton. The season continues the feeling, colours and drama we are used to. What has also continued, is my difficulty remembering who everyone is. I had trouble before, let alone after the break. So I spent a little while trying to find my feet in it all.
What is a departure from last season, is that this time, we know who Lady Whistledown is. And we see this difference early on, seeing more of the process of creating the publication, and getting a behind the scenes look at how Penelope Featherington does what she does. It’s fun to have this new element this year and I am looking forward to seeing what will happen with that. Especially with the added elements of Penelope being challenged on what she should do with the power she wields.
Like many people, I had problems with the last season. Though, I won’t go into those here. Not least because there have been innumerable articles written about these problems with the last season and the source material. That did mean that I ended the last season with mixed feelings. That being said, I did finish it. It is just so very watchable.
I am a sucker for this era, for the setting, the drama and for the popcorn nature of it all. The twists and turns even if you have seen signposts and know where it’s all heading. The exchanged looks, and stolen glances that somehow reach across vast distances. New characters with droplets of intrigue that are immediately explained. And so, I really enjoy the opener for Bridgerton, it set up what it needed to set up. Intrigued where it needed to be intrigued. I just hope it can continue to sweep me up the way it did last time.
It is the perfect type of show to watch after a hard week. To transport you somewhere where the problems are different, the whole world of it is beautiful and it’s… silly. It feels a bit like a reprieve. Which sounds like I am giving it a lot of credit, and I am. I give any show that can feel like that a lot of credit. They play an important role. Falling firmly into the ‘guilty watch’ phrase that I really don’t like to use. I like to watch stuff like this with a hot beverage and a cookie. I go to something like this when I just want to enjoy something, get swept up in the story and I feel this show really does that.
As one of our new characters Kate says, “This is the first chapter of a happy story. All you have to do this evening is remember what it is you are looking for.” Which is exactly what to do when watching something like Bridgerton. Yes, you know what you are getting. You know that twists and turns. That’s not a weakness here, that is what you are there for.
So, Bridgerton is back! I honestly could not have told you how long the wait has been because time is still moving in the most strange of ways semi-post-pandemic, but it has felt long-awaited either way. I was a proud binger of the first season; a highly predictable turn of events given my feelings towards period dramas. I’m not oblivious to the fact there are some problematic moments hidden in plain sight (we all remember that sex scene), but I was still very much looking forward to its return.
Most of the familiar faces have indeed returned. I still love Eloise’s charming and despairing attitude towards the feminine expectations thrust upon her; I’m still in awe of how objectively beautiful the presence of Daphne is; I’m still very much enjoying Anthony letting me re-live my particular favourite childhood crush from CBBC’s Leonardo. The series has stuck with the (slightly genius, in my opinion) choice of classical music covers of well-loved and recognised pop songs; I sense some new additions to my studying playlist. The Sharma’s could be a fun addition to this season, too. Kate might become slightly annoying in her ‘I can single-handedly take on the Regency patriarchy’ attitude, but her feisty relationship with their sponsor, Lady Danbury, could also be promisingly fun so I’m reserving harsh judgement just yet. As expected, the Duke is notably absent, however. Perhaps there will be a more satisfactory explanation as the season goes on, but as it stands Daphne’s throw away comment of leaving her husband and child at home to be in town for the start of the season, I found wholly unsatisfactory.
I do feel like there’s been a slight change in tone in this new season. The costumes, sets, and soundtrack are still exceptional, but there is something more chick flicky about the script perhaps. This first episode seems to move through events at a slightly strange pace. Aside from the hasty explanation of the Duke’s absence, we have already found out who Lady Whistledown is, again in a not altogether satisfactory way – and don’t get me started on the sudden accent change as though that’s a more cunning disguise than a physical change. I’m hoping there is going to be more to this storyline than just the struggle to keep the secret hidden – I’m notoriously rubbish at predicting how storylines will pan out, but that would be painfully obvious and worryingly boring even for me. The visuals of the show still say ‘carefully thought through and beautifully produced modern period drama’, but the script and directing are dangerously close to ‘easy evening watch on the BBC’. There were a couple of moments where the older female narration style, overlapping the period setting reminded me way too much of Call the Midwife and honestly, I’m struggling to get that out of my head now.
I am slightly underwhelmed by Bridgerton’s return, I have to say. Realistically, I’m probably still going to have finished watching the whole thing before the weekend is over, but my first impressions leave me concerned that I might spend most of my time feeling somewhat unsatisfied.
I don’t think it would be incorrect to say that the second season of Bridgerton might be one of the most anticipated TV events of 2022. Ever since the first season took Netflix by storm, everyone and their grandmother drooling over the Duke and Daphne, I have been waiting for the moment in which I am enchanted all over again by the unique and fantastical world that the show presents.
I hate to say it, but after watching the first episode… I am not enchanted. At least, not as enchanted as I could have been.
It’s the same, but different. The lack of Daphne (and of course, Rene-Jean Page) is noticeable. There is something of a gap that I am longing to fill but for now, haven’t been able to.
With the focus on Anthony, the eldest son and future Viscount, the drama promises to be fresh, but as is expected in an era where most scandals were the same scandals (because everything is a scandal), much of the beat points sound similar to that of the previous season.
Anthony is in search of a wife, someone to be his viscountess, a task in and of itself when duty and love battle it out inside out young hero.
However, I am anxious about the season to come simply because, one of the things I loved so much about the first season of Bridgerton was how it took me by surprise. The diverse casting and fantasy like qualities of a genre that is somewhat done to death, the raunchy sex scenes and the tantalising mystery of who Lady Whistledown could possibly be! It took what I expected from regency dramas and flipped it on its head. Already this season is not surprising me. Not at all.
It’s naturally going to be difficult, sequels often are, because a lot of the premise has been set in the initial product and how do you top it?
Anthony meeting a witty and smart mouthed young lady (Kate) and feeling a spark of connection with her, before inevitably being introduced to ‘the perfect bride for him’ (Edwina) signals a classic love triangle plot that modern media has beaten to death for me and I am somewhat disappointed.
And of course, there is another reason why Bridgerton was so popular when it initially aired–the sex. For a genre that is usually viewed as something reserved and tasteful, set in an era where holding hands out of wedlock is indiscreet, season one’s spice factor was off the charts. It was heady and intense in the way young only young love can be. All consuming and from the heart, linked intrinsically with emotions and desperation and need.
Thus far, though it is only episode one and I am hopeful the further into the series we get the tides may change, there is a distinct lack of that explicit passion. It almost feels… grown up. As if season one were the teenage whims of a debuting Daphne and this season is fraught with responsibility and maturity that Anthony himself faces. In some ways, poetic, but in others, it again feels like a potential for the show to not be living up to the standards it set during its initial run.
Lastly – – god, I have so much to say and so little word count. There is definitely something entertaining about knowing who Lady Whistledown is. As much as the mystery was titillating, knowing brings its own barrel of laughs. Watching the young lady sneak around and try not to be caught as she notes down her observations for a future column is brilliant.
Overall, I have high hopes for Bridgerton Season 2, and I’m slightly worried I’m going to be left disappointed, but with all the love in my heart for these characters and the fantastic soundtrack keeping the vibes immaculate, I will certainly stick it out.
You can catch the latest season of Bridgerton on Netflix.