*This was originally published in Volume 15, Issue 18 of DU Beat
To begin, season 2 of Bridgerton outdid the first one marvelously, no small feat considering Rege-Jean Page who plays Duke Simon, did not return.
The Netflix original, created by Chris van Dusen based on the book series of the same name (by Julia Quinn) caused an even bigger internet storm this time, and rightfully so. This season took everything that made its predecessor amazing and did it better. The costumes, the setting, and the dialogues are all impeccable and impossibly alive. Even though all the overdramatization and the ridiculous worries were signs of the time, it pulls you in and makes you long for the overly critical neighbours, the gowns and balls, the minor slights capable of causing social scandals and of course, Lady Whistledown.
Almost every Bridgerton sibling this season has a storyline of substance that ensures you’re at the edge of your seat every minute. Benedict, at last finds courage to pursue his artistic passions, and Collin realizes he needs a passion to pursue. Eloise not only serves as a respite from the intense romantic plotline but also goes through tribulations of her own that contribute to her character growth wonderfully. Her search for the true identity of Lady Whistledown taken her to places (and people) her societal peers would frown upon.
The Sharma family has scandals of their own to move on from while trying to find a suitable husband for the youngest daughter Edwina, and the elder sister Kate takes this task upon herself. And so her path begins crossing with Anthony, the viscount and this season’s most eligible bachelor. Anthony starts out just as insufferable this time but unlike season 1, even the harshest critiques will be forced to sympathize with him as we go through the motions from his perspective. Turns out, his stubbornness and his overbearing interferences are as much an annoyance to him as they are to everyone around him but as the man of the house, he’s just doing what he thinks is expected and right.
The pride and all the prejudice embedded in all eight episodes coupled with the development and culmination of Kate and Anthony’s love story takes us through a rollercoaster ride while somehow also managing to give depth to both characters. All of the previous season’s loose strings were neatly tied up and sufficient groundwork was laid for next season’s conflict. All this was accomplished while the orchestra played beautiful, classical renditions of Alanis Morrissett (among others). On a personal note, Kabhi Khushi Kabhi Gham during the Haldi ceremony was spectacular.
With a diverse cast (an improvement from the books) and racism glanced over very briefly for over ten seconds in the previous season, this show makes for a perfect escapist fantasy. All in all, the second season of Bridgerton not only managed to live to the expectations but also met and set new marks of grandeur and ensured that its audiences anticipates and awaits the next season eagerly.
Naina Priyadarshi Mishra