“Dearest Gentle Reader, did you miss me?” The world most definitely did, Lady Whistledown.
After Bridgerton became the most-watched Netflix series at the time of its premiere, many eager fans have awaited the return of this Regency-era drama about nosy mothers, courting couples and forbidden romance.
I don’t know who runs the chemistry tests for Bridgerton, but they certainly deserve a raise for this season. The familiar Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) clicks with Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) so fast that you’d think they’ve been talking since season one. Unlike some characters in season one, they exchange a bit more than lustful looks. The two are given deeper backgrounds that draw their characters together, despite “vexing” each other daily.
As with the previous season, Julia Quinn’s novels are all about the slow burn. Be prepared to constantly shout at your TV in frustration at characters who seem so emotionally inept. But, it’s Anthony and Kate’s chemistry that allows you to set aside the cheesiness of the “enemies to lovers” trope and allow yourself to be invested in their pastel-colored world.
The plot for season two involves an angsty Anthony Bridgerton on the hunt for his future wife. Interestingly, his standards seem quite high for someone who doesn’t desire a “love match.” When the Sharmas join the ton, the new family quickly becomes tangled up in Bridgerton drama. While the Bridgerton family remains the center of the storm, the Sharmas, Featheringtons and other individual characters’ storylines intertwine in a way that makes them all captivating. Each episode will leave you wondering about how the latest development could possibly resolve itself.
A review for this season cannot, and should not, be written without acknowledging the amazing performances by the women of this show. Ashley’s performance is particularly stunning as a newbie to the cast. Her bond with her sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) seems like one of the most legitimate family relationships we’ve seen, though it’s all based on sacrifice. Like Anthony, her perfect posture and strict rules may be able to handle the weight of familial responsibility, but what about love?
The women of the show don’t just whisper and meddle. We see this in the way the Queen’s (Golda Rosheuvel) superficial insecurities about Whistledown are revealed between sniffs of tobacco, or the motherly-alliance between the more mature Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) and Lady Violet (Ruth Gemmell) as they struggle to do their best for their families. Things turn more serious with Penelope’s (Nicola Coughlin) secret-keeping bubble nearly bursting, or Eloise (Claudia Jessie) struggling with her romantic side.
Lady Whistledown is definitely back and (almost) as spicy as before. For fans who loved season one for its scandalousness (ie. sex scene montage with “Wildest Dreams” in the background), this season brings a few less explicitly “dishonorable” scenes. Fear not, for scenes like a shirtless Anthony pulling himself out of the water are here to tide you over. But for fans who are ready for Bridgerton to be something a little deeper, season two is for you.
Brennan Carney is a fourth-year journalism major who can’t stop listening to the Bridgerton soundtrack. They can be reached at [email protected].
Art by Julia Young.