Bridgerton Season 2 Early Review: Jonathan Bailey & Simone Ashley keep the Regency romance alive and burning
Bridgerton's new season promises another exciting romance. Read our early review of the first episode below.
Bridgerton Season 2
Bridgerton Season 2 Cast: Jonathan Bailey, Simone Ashley, Charithra Chandan
Bridgerton Creator: Chris Van Dusen
Streaming Platform: Netflix
Take out your finest laces and dainty tea sets as it's time to return to the Regency era for another charming romance with Bridgerton's second season. After the 'burning' romance between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and the Duke of Hastings (Rege-Jean Page) left us blushing red, it's time for another Bridgerton sibling to find their match and this time it's the no-nonsensical, Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey). Romance is remotely related to calculations and rationality and it seems it's time for Anthony Bridgerton to learn that in this season.
Returning with eight episodes again, the second season of Bridgerton takes us back to Mayfair, London as yet another debutante season begins with Queen Charlotte's (Golda Rosheuvel) search for a new 'Diamond of the First Water.' The new season is special as it provides a new twist to the Julia Quinn books by introducing the characters of Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) and Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran) of Indian descent. This connection is certain to double the show's already global fandom.
The first season of Bridgerton ended with not only Daphne Bridgerton (Dynevor) receiving her happy ending with the Duke of Hastings but also the big reveal of who Lady Whistledown is. While Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) was introduced as the popular gossip column writer who is taking Mayfairers by storm with her fiery words, the new season kicks off with the revelation that Lady Whisteldown has been laying low for a while. As Queen Charlotte (Rosheuvel) says there's been "no peep out" of Lady Whistledown, her return isn't far long way as she makes a daring comeback by interrupting the debutante soiree with a notice claiming that looking forward to seeing who the new 'Diamond' of the season will be.
At the Bridgerton household in the meantime, prep is on for Eloise's (Claudia Jessie) debut and Daphne (Dynevor) can't stop doling out advice to her younger sister on how to charm the Queen after her success last season. Yet another Bridgerton who has all the eyes on him this season is Anthony (Bailey) after he has declared his intentions to marry but it seems lke a far fetched idea given his checklist to find a future wife that seems unrealistic at best. The newbies in town are Mary Sharma (Shelley Conn) and her daughters Kate (Ashely) and Edwina (Chandran) who are being hosted by Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh). It's clear from the start whoever the Diamond of the season may be, it's the eligible bachelor Anthony Bridgerton that everyone is after. Will the Viscount find his ideal match or does true love intend to take him far off from his checklist is what is left to see.
If there's one thing I'm a fan of when it comes to romances, it's definitely the "meet cute." Every epic romance starts off with a memorable first meet and when it comes to Bridgerton's new season, there's a rather exciting setup as Anthony and Kate lock eyes for the first time. There's almost a Cinderella-esque vibe to it as the duo share an engaging conversation without even having a proper introduction. Having watched the first episode of the season, it certainly looks like showrunner Chris Van Dusen finds a perfect way to set up a rather interesting love triangle of sorts between Kate, Anthony and Edwina who all seem to feel the spark as their first meeting happens. While keeping the show's romantic vibe the same, it seems in the second season, the makers have tried to move away from its juicier strong points to embrace a more woke storyline. With Lady Whistlesdown calling out traditions and false expectations thrust on the debutante ladies, it looks like this time the idea of the show is to find more relatable themes and rise above the charm of ballroom dancing and floor-length gowns.
If Daphne and Simon's romance was all about passion and first love, it seems with Anthony there's a mature approach. He comes across as a version of Jane Austen's beloved character Mr Darcy who seeks a sense of duty and discipline in love, something that can be reciprocated well from a character like Kate Sharma here. It seems like a lovely take on chronicling the idea of romance between two individuals who put their families above themselves and have become more comfortable as providers than seekers even when it comes to finding love.
Jonathan Bailey makes for a charming romantic lead and is successful at not making us feel the disappointment of Rege-Jean Page not being around. Bailey channels Anthony's stern mannerisms with ease and it's a treat to watch him interview his potential brides like an employer rather than a suitor. As for the new faces on the show, Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran both promise a strong screen presence. Ashley particularly taps into Kate's parental nature towards her younger sibling rather well. Nicola Coughlan once again brings heart into her character of Penelope Featherington whose dual lives constantly keep her on the edge. Phoebe Dynevor's return as Daphne serves as a charming connection between the first and the second season that is enjoyable.
On the basis of the first episode, I can say that it sets up for a tonally different but enjoyable season nonetheless. Possibly, every Bridgerton season could have a different vibe that mirrors its character lead and hence if Daphne's eagerness and excitement was captured in the first season, Anthony's realism and logic seem to be the vibe of the new season. Wait for us to deliver a final verdict on Bridgerton's second season in a detailed review soon.
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