[Header: Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton and Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma | Netflix]
This post has potential, minor SPOILERS.
Admittedly, I wasn’t sure how much I’d like season 2 of Bridgerton going into it. This is because I never felt any particular way towards Anthony (the eldest Bridgerton sibling whom this season follows). I was, however, happy to find that I enjoyed this season quite a bit and honestly, I probably enjoyed it as equally as the first.
Here’s the thing with Bridgerton. It’s not going to be for everyone and I would argue is not the kind of show you go into for anything other than a good time. While it does have deeper and more emotional scenes and storylines — Anthony’s past surrounding his father is a particularly good example of this — it can also be a little silly and over the top at times.
Similarly to the first season, this one has great-looking costumes, make-up, hair, and sets. Visually this shows gets pretty high marks from me and on top of that, it also sounds incredible too. There are a lot of classical renditions of modern songs — my personal favourites were the covers of Dancing On My Own and Wrecking Ball — and the choice to include music like this adds a really fun element to the series. The classical element helps it to fit in with the fact that this is a period drama while also offering a little twist. Not only that but these songs often help to really elevate a scene and double down on the emotions being explored.
The story for this season (as previously mentioned) follows Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey). Throughout we get to dive deeper into his past and despite having a pretty big appearance in the first season, we learn a whole lot more about him this time around. As someone who didn’t feel strongly about him either way, I now find that I actually quite like him. He is far from perfect, in fact, he’s often quite infuriating, but he feels a lot more three-dimensional in this season.
Along with his past, during the present day, we see that he’s finally looking to find a wife. That brings us to the Sharma family. In particular, it is sisters Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina (Charithra Chandran) who become entangled in this story. While there is an obvious love triangle happening in this season, it’s thankfully not as frustrating as this type of thing can often be. It’s paced out and explored well enough so that we can get to know each character’s intentions and motivations while avoiding too much unnecessary miscommunication. On top of that, we have an element of enemies (or rivals) to lovers. The chemistry particularly between Anthony and Kate is incredible to watch and whether they’re getting along or arguing, they’re a joy to see on screen together.
That being said, the Sharma family is a joy to watch regardless. All three members of the family are explored fairly well. This season takes the time to let us get to know previous characters even better but also dedicates a good amount of time to tell us all about the new characters. That also includes Kate and Edwina’s mother, Lady Mary (Shelley Conn) amongst a sleuth of other characters. Detail is peppered in here and there even when the characters and their actions are not integral to the current Anthony/Kate-centric plot. Between that and the dynamics that are started (and/or strengthened), it’s helping to set up things for future seasons without losing track of the main story it’s supposed to be exploring this time around.
At the top of this season, we see Anthony as the man of the house who is trying to keep things together and marry someone because it’s necessary and what is expected. He has very rigid views of why he’s supposed to be doing it and how he has to do it. With Kate, we’re shown instantly how independent and strong-willed she can be. She’s often not afraid to speak her mind. On the opposite side to her, there’s Edwina who is clearly passionate and knows what she wants but she appears to be more reserved than her sister and more inclined to do was is expected of her and try to abide by the social norms (something she seems happy to do). All of this means we have three different and interesting characters to follow. Add in the fact we occasionally follow the lives and adventures of other characters and there’s never a point where the main plot (following Anthony, Kate, and Edwina) becomes boring or overdone.
Generally, there is some wonderful character development throughout. Along with that, the plot moves along at a steady pace, nicely jumping back and forth between past and present. Like you might expect from Bridgerton, it’s a little ridiculous and funny and sweet and surprisingly very emotional. There are other really great things going on too. Each of the older Bridgerton siblings has something going on — my personal favourite was probably Eloise (Claudia Jessie) — but even the two youngest: Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt) have some significant moments during this season.
There’s so much happening, from Lady Whistledown drama to money-making schemes, and on top of it all, there’s an exploration of love and grief and friendship and family. I’m reluctant to sit here and say that Bridgerton is profound or top-tier but, presuming you’ve seen the first season… If you enjoyed that, you’ll enjoy this one. If you were on the fence about the first season, you might enjoy this one more. It’s definitely worth checking out because at the end of the day, it’s a fun time and a fairly easy watch.