Updated: Apr 11
By: MELISSA FISHMAN /EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
[CAUTION: This review contains spoilers. A complete review of season one can be read here.]
Dearest gentle reader, what a truly eventful season it has been. But unlike Lady Whistledown, I speak not of the happenings and hijinks of the Ton, but instead of the second installment of the hit Netflix series Bridgerton.
Bridgerton follows the lives of the titular family whose eldest children have come of age to join the high stakes marriage market.
The first season follows the eldest daughter Daphne, played by Phoebe Dynevor, as she becomes the social season’s most sought after young lady who turns the eye of many including numerous noblemen, a prince, and a mysterious Duke. The second season, however, follows that of her brother Anthony who is far more sullen and stubborn.
Anthony, who is played by Jonathan Bailey, inherited the title of Viscount after his father’s untimely passing and thus is left to handle the responsibilities that come with it. Among these is the need to secure the hand of a young lady to be his Viscountess, which proves to be a great difficulty for Anthony.
The first season portrays Anthony as a playboy who frequently beds a young opera singer named Siena Rosso, while breaking things off with her just as frequently. The season ultimately left off with the two parting ways and Anthony being left to pursue more permanent romantic endeavors.
Anthony is often seen throughout both seasons as being a person desperately seeking stability and he does that by micromanaging every situation that he and his family face. This is an aspect that also appears in the second season, where Anthony decides that his future wife will be the Queen’s diamond, or a young lady who exhibits exemplary grace, beauty, and sophistication. When the Queen bestows Miss Edwina Sharma with that very title, Anthony sets his sights on her and declares that he will marry her, but it is never that simple.
As fate would have it, Edwina has an older step sister named Kate who is Anthony’s match in stubbornness but his greatest adversary in wit and charm. Early in the season, Anthony and Kate would meet on a misty morning and exchange a few choice words with one another, thus sparking an eight-episode cat and mouse chase that is not fully resolved until after a series of unfortunate events.
This season ultimately presents its audience with a dizzying amount of interwoven storylines that boil down to the mystique of the elusive Lady Whistledown and or frustrating the audience with a series of almost’s between Anthony and Kate.
In regards to the former, fans of the first season will recall Lady Whistledown as being an anonymous gossip monger whose popular and incendiary pamphlet dished out the secrets of her majesty’s subjects and spared none from the wrath of her quill. In this season, Lady Whistledown is back after a 10-month hiatus and is ready to provide her exclusive commentary to the Ton with the same ferocity as she did in the first season.
Audiences will likely agree that after the reveal of Lady Whistledown’s true identity last season that we are now able to see a new side to her which include the lengths that she goes to in order to stay hidden.
This newer and bolder Lady Whistledown has also adapted her writing style thus heightening the risk but also the reward.
Overall, Lady Whistledown’s story arc was equally as enjoyable to watch this season as it was last season. However, the high stakes nature of this season also helped to cast darkness over the character who ultimately sacrificed a great personal friendship in order to maintain her cover.
Although this may have been perceived as callous or selfish on her part, one must also appreciate that Queen Charlotte was hell bent on unmasking her and she could not risk such a thing due to the extreme consequences for her actions.
As for Anthony’s mission-oriented search for a wife this season, audiences were finally able to witness him being vulnerable and begin to open his heart up to true love although the journey there was a lengthy one.
After his entanglement with Edwina nealy culminates in their marriage, stolen stares across the altar between him and Kate catch the eye of poor, naive Edwina who then flees from the ceremony. The spectacle is beholden by all in high society including the Queen who demands a resolve, but for which none come.
The end of Anthony and Edwina’s engagement makes room for the love, and admitted lust, between him and Kate who had come close to sharing a passionate kiss on a few occasions but neglected to seal the deal until after a fiery altercation with the usually mild-mannered Edwina.
The audience was constantly teased with fleeting moments of desire between Kate and Anthony, but this first real embrace is a sigh of relief for both the happy couple and all who are watching. It is the moment where the pieces fall into place and all are left satisfied with a true storybook ending.
Kate and Anthony’s nuptials are never shown during the season’s final episode, but we do get to see them almost a year later happily playing cricket at their home with the rest of the Bridgertons as Kate happily flashes the family ring.
This ending was more laid back than the steamy and sensuous ending to Daphne’s storyline, but it was still effective in giving the audience precisely what they wanted, which was a positive resolution.
This season also highlighted some of its minor characters such as the series’ unsung hero, Lady Featherington, who bravely cast out her wicked cousin after he attempts to seduce her and convince her to abscond to America. It also brought back some of last season’s drama like Colin and Marina’s sham engagement, Madam Delacroix’s crafty business skills, and Lady Danbury’s scheming.
Finally, this season was also packed with gorgeous instrumental arrangements of pop culture hits and helped to bridge the world of the old and the new in a subtle yet effective way.
Overall, Bridgerton season two was an incredible new installment to the series and now we must begin the long wait until Lady Whistledown picks up her quill yet again for next season.