Bridgerton season 2 had huge, incredibly ornate dancing shoes to fill. Did it deliver? Here’s our review.
After the smash success of Bridgerton season 1 on Netflix, fans couldn’t wait for more Regency era scandal at the hands of Lady Whistledown and her loyal readers. We were all stunned by the intricately designed costumes, the carefully choreographed dance numbers, the string-accompanied sexual awakening, and the salacious regal romances. We simply were not ready for the intense dose of decadence that Bridgerton offered us.
The question is, now that fans are very much ready for more, can Bridgerton season 2 live up to a bar that’s set higher than the Queen’s tallest wig? Check out our review to find out.
This review begins with a spoiler-free section before diving into some of the season’s juicer details. There will be a warning before we get into any spoilers so you can choose how much you want to read!
‘Bridgerton’ season 2 spoiler-free review
There is no show quite like Bridgerton, and it felt so good to dive back into this big, bold, beautiful world they’ve created. With the first notes of that seductively distinctive soundtrack, the initial intake of the otherworldly gorgeous color palette, and the imprint of the familiar spirit of the characters we’ve come to love, it took me about two minutes to feel like I’d never left, and like I never wanted to.
Of course, there was one element of Bridgerton season 1 that we couldn’t count on for season 2, which was Daphne and Simon’s love story. With the central cog removed, I, along with many fans, questioned if the machine could still run as smoothly. With Anthony taking on the role of romantic lead, could the Viscount really replace the Duke?
In my opinion, Bridgerton season 2 delivered on all of season 1’s promises, and then some!
While romance will always be one of, if not the most, important aspect of the show, Bridgerton has already become so much more than that. The Bridgerton family is a rich tapestry on their own, and the precarious social position of the Featheringtons makes them a captivating study. Also, the sheer power of characters like Queen Charlotte and Lady Danbury make them both instant icons, and that’s all without getting into the fascinating complexity of gender roles in society, or even Lady Whistledown! Honestly, any of these elements could carry a season on their own. The romance is just the delicious icing on the cake.
Bridgerton season 1 had a lot of heavy lifting to do to set up this premise and all of its interwoven characters. Luckily, it did so beautifully, which afforded season 2 the opportunity to go so much deeper into all of these stories. It was like season 1 gave us a nice tour through the gardens and brought us just close enough to the door to see in, and with season 2, we get to walk through and explore some of the luxury inside.
The Bridgerton family dynamics go so much deeper in Bridgerton season 2. I particularly loved the scenes between the three oldest brothers. They all have their own cross to bear in the family and society, and at times, they seem to carry equal amounts of sympathy and resentment toward their siblings for this. All of the brothers are coming into their own in different ways in this season, which makes me all the more excited for future seasons when they take centerstage.
We also get to learn more about the former Lord Bridgerton in season 2. Anthony’s story cannot be separated from the day his father died, so it’s something that is explored very well. Through this, we learn so much more about who Anthony is and how he relates to his family. Most interestingly, we discover some difficult truths about his relationship with his mother, and his thoughts on love in general.
Not to be left out, Daphne and Eloise both have their own intriguing parts to play in season 2. Daphne is more radiant than ever as a mother and a duchess, and I particularly loved every scene she shared with Anthony. After just finding true love herself, she wants nothing more than for her brother to find the same. She also has a very relevant perspective on what the young ladies of the season are going through, making her a voice that Anthony would do well to listen to.
Eloise is officially “out” in society, but of course, she’d rather be anywhere else. That “anywhere else” takes her to some very interesting places in season 2, fleshing her out as a character and putting her through some harsh trials. She has one of the most dynamic storylines in Bridgerton season 2, and I continue to be impressed by how the show handles this character. She is both headstrong and curious, and she has a brilliant complexity that lesser shows would flatten into a feminist caricature. She is a child in a Lady’s world, and Bridgerton lets her yearn for the chance to simply discover what she wants. Also, for fans of the Eloise/Benedict dynamic in season 1, there is a lot more where that came from!
All of that said, nobody’s story has evolved more in Bridgerton than that of Penelope Featheringon, aka Lady Whistledown! Now that she’s been unmasked, we get to see so much more of how Lady Whistledown conducts her business, and the risks she takes to do so. Penelope grows so much as a character in season 2, and I’m absolutely dying to see what comes next for her. As for the rest of the Featherington family, their position has not changed much, sadly. However, we do get to spend much more time with them, and I came to appreciate them on a whole new level in season 2.
Now, finally we get to the love story! And oh man, is it a good one.
The Sharma family came back to the ‘ton just in time for Anthony Bridgerton to find a wife. Interestingly, we quickly learn that they may not have left on the most amicable of terms, which sets up a great dynamic between Mary Sharma, the mother of Kate and Edwina Sharma, Lady Danbury, who’s hosting the Sharma family, and Queen Charlotte.
The Sharma family brings an even deeper sense of sisterhood and mother-daughter relationships to the show, while also bringing elements of their South Asian culture, making Bridgerton season 2 even more rich. You immediately get that this is a tight-knit family, and that nobody is going to drive a wedge between them easily. That being said, while Edwina is the sister searching for a husband, the true love story is brewing between Anthony and Kate.
This is a very different love story than Daphne and Simon’s. While the season 1 couple were fast friends, Anthony and Kate are constantly at each other’s throats. At all times it seems like they’re fighting the other person, a mirror image of themselves, and also the feeling that’s growing between them. Every scene between the two is flooded with passion, and it’s incredibly tantalizing to watch.
Their passion, combined with the added tension that Edwina offers, makes Bridgerton season 2 one of the most deliciously bingeable love stories I’ve ever seen. I simply could not look away. The stakes felt so much higher than in season 1, and my heart got so wrapped up in all of it.
Without a doubt, there is less sex in Bridgerton season 2. Anthony’s six pack gets some solid screentime in an episode 1 montage set to a string cover of Nirvana’s “Stay Away,” (one of the best musical moments of the season), but Anthony’s story is definitely not the sexual awakening that Daphne’s was. This makes perfect sense, since sexuality has been far from forbidden for the Viscount up until now.
Related: The Bridgerton season 2 soundtrack should have included these iconic songs
In a press conference for Netflix, Jonathan Bailey (Anthony Bridgerton) said that season 2 contained “more psychological nudity than physical,” and he hit the nail on the head. Even with less sex, the intimacy and passion feels palpable. The romantic leads are exposed in ways that are far more scary to them than physical nudity.
I’m definitely hoping to see more of Anthony, Kate, and Edwina in future seasons, but Bridgerton season 2 made me really thankful for this show’s format. The ability to tell a love story with a closed ending in a season is actually very refreshing. Where couples like this would usually have to endure seasons of drama and heartache before a happy ending could even be considered, Bridgerton gets to close the book on them after eight episodes, for better or for worse.
Now it’s time to get into some spoilers, so if you haven’t seen Bridgerton season 2 yet, go watch it and come back later to finish the review!
‘Bridgerton’ season 2 review with spoilers
The love story in Bridgerton season 2 was something to behold, owing to the depth of both Anthony and Kate as characters. Every time I thought I’d reached their core, a new layer would be peeled back, just adding more fuel to their already burning hot flame.
Since they are so similar to each other, everything we uncovered about one would inevitably lead to a deeper understanding of the other. They were as alike in their desires and fears as they were in their facades, making this season a wild ride indeed!
From the start, it was clear that Anthony was conflicted. He declared his wishes to find a bride, yet he continued to find something insurmountably wrong with each candidate, no matter how trivial. Then, when the Queen essentially made his choice for him by crowning Edwina the diamond, he pursued her with what I would call a hesitant vigor. This boy needs some therapy.
Even his speech to Edwina at the wedding missed the truth. He spoke of how much they were the same, but in this, he ignored the true natures of himself, Edwina, and Kate. The similarities that truly mattered were those he shared with Kate, but his fears would not allow him to know that.
I was so surprised to learn the reasoning behind Anthony’s aversion to love. His mother was so wrecked by his father’s death that he swore he would never put himself at risk like that. It’s so heartbreaking that he had to witness that at such a young age while taking on far too much responsibility. It also shed a whole new light on his relationship with his mother.
Anthony is consumed by his sense of duty, but there are times when we see that falter. This doesn’t detract from the weight of his responsibilities, but rather gives credit to them. It’s simply too much for anyone to maintain without a release. He was willing to throw it all away for Siena in season 1, but he approached that with naivety. We also see moments in season 2 where Kate pierces his defenses, and it’s so incredibly powerful to watch. Jonathan Bailey attacks these scenes with such skill, bringing the fullness of his character to life.
Similarly, Kate is also hiding behind her sense of responsibility to her family. My heart broke for Kate on so many occasions in Bridgerton season 2, as it seemed like she was constantly in an impossible situation. As much as I wanted her to give herself over to love, I also couldn’t fathom the thought of her hurting her sister. She was walking on a tightrope for the entire season, and there was really nowhere to go but down.
Then there’s Edwina, who really deserves so much of the credit in this strange little love triangle. As much as Kate felt a duty to give her sister the best life possible, Edwina felt the pressure of living up to that sacrifice. One of the best parts of this season was seeing Edwina come into her own power.
Not only did she stand up to Kate by telling her that she’d never asked for her constant attention, but she also won the respect of the Queen by exhibiting the grace of a true Lady in the presence of Queen Charlotte and her husband. Finally, she became the official badass of the season by giving her blessing to Kate and Anthony, acknowledging that they’d all been wearing masks that were long due to come off. I loved how this tied together the whole season and gave the two sisters a beautiful and authentic moment at the final ball.
Speaking of Queen Charlotte, it was very interesting to see how much she, and other strong women like Lady Danbury and Lady Bridgerton, are affected by the “game” that is a season in the ‘ton. None of them are immune to it, and it was fascinating to watch them all navigate it in their own ways, having far more experience than the young ladies making their debut. Bridgerton affords them all so much humanity and depth, making them so much more than the “strong female character” I’m sure we’re all tired of hearing about.
Lady Featherington deserves the same, if not more, acknowledgement for this in Bridgerton season 2. While she certainly made some blunders, I loved seeing how thoroughly she puts her family first. She has always been the true master of her household, no matter what man accepts the position. The Featheringtons have been cast in a slightly villainous light, but this season gave them much more context, which made me more excited to spend time with them in future seasons.
Of course, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention the youngest Featherington again. I could never have imagined the effort that Penelope put into her Lady Whistledown column until we got to see it in season 2, and I now have more respect for her than I even thought possible. We got to see her take charge, problem solve, and grow her business in remarkable ways this season, while facing some incredibly tough decisions.
In the process, we really got to see Penelope blossom and wilt (I think she would appreciate the floral language) in Bridgerton season 2. At times she seemed like a woman far beyond her years, before being reduced to the young, insipid wallflower that society made her feel like.
The season began triumphantly for Lady Whistledown, as her first column of the season arrived just in time to save Eloise from her debut—an event which sadly foreshadowed a much more complicated saving of Eloise in a later episode. Her columns were met with as much enthusiasm as ever, unless you’re considering the opinion of Eloise, which was all over the map.
This was a season of discovery for Eloise. She found there was a lot of life to be had outside of Mayfair, including an adorable potential love interest in Theo Sharpe. She also learned there were consequences in disappointing the Queen, and even bigger consequences in disappointing the ‘ton. Finally, she actually discovered the identity of Lady Whistledown!
To reiterate, I absolutely love the characterization of Eloise Bridgerton. The show has done such a marvelous job of subverting the grotesque “you’re not like the other girls” trope with her, and she has immense potential for growth into an even more important character.
With that said, both Eloise and Penelope really showed their age in this discovery scene. It was so sad to see the girls reacting without really listening to each other at all. This friendship is so essential to Bridgerton, and it’s so heartbreaking to see it fractured. While the Sharma family was a great example of sisterhood on the show, Eloise and Penelope represent a different kind of sisterly bond, and I really hope they get to mend things in the next season of the show.
Unfortunately, that was not Penelope’s only heartbreak at the end of Bridgerton season 2. Colin Bridgerton had some amazing moments in this season, including besting Lord Featherington at his own game and taking an interesting “trip” with Benedict, but his final words regarding Penelope were certainly not his best. This is a dynamic that definitely needs to be fleshed out further in future seasons, but I fear they won’t be starting from a good place when the show returns. Maybe this will finally force him to realize what’s truly in front of him.
Finally, Bridgerton season 2 contained just as many iconic musical moments as season 1, with my favorites being the dances to “Wrecking Ball” by Miley Cyrus and “Dancing on my Own” by Robyn. I can’t wait to hear what songs they feature in season 3, and to see who will be dancing to them!
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