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Monday, May 20, 2024

’Tis the Season: “Bridgerton” season two

Editor’s Note: This article may contain mild spoilers for seasons one and two of “Bridgerton.”

Since the moment the oh-so-bingeable “Bridgerton” came out in December 2020, viewers have been anxiously awaiting season two. Overall, the season is off to a good start. With new and old loves being explored, don’t be surprised if you find yourself falling in love with the show all over again. With plenty of drama, jealousies and plot twists, the new episodes have been just as entertaining as the last. While Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon’s (Regé-Jean Page) story reached a heartwarming resolution at the end of season one, the plots of many other characters were left open. Eloise’s (Claudia Jessie) ambitious spirit, Penelope’s (Nicola Coughlan) budding business and Anthony’s (Jonathan Bailey) tumultuous love life all play a much bigger role in this season. In what, at times, feel like a fantasy fairytale version of “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette,” with dance cards to be filled and home-visits to be endured, the show excites with its undeniable drama. 

If you’re looking for a show to draw you in and make you feel like you’re at the center of the gossip and drama, “Bridgerton” is the perfect love match. It’s funny, emotional and tender — what more is there to ask for? In the always bright and sunny world of “Bridgerton’s” London, even at the most intense moments you can’t help feeling anything other than enthralled. While sometimes it's nice to be brought to tears by a piece of media, it is just plain fun to escape from the never-ending, freezing-cold and constantly-cloudy Vermont winter to this ridiculously sunny and lavish world. So, if you’re looking to remove yourself from reality for an hour or two (or three), “Bridgerton” is sure to offer a moment of much needed respite. 

The show owes some of its comfortability to its use of modern music twists. The soundtrack makes the show more approachable for viewers, using classical covers of modern songs like Harry Styles’s “Sign of the Times,” Miley Cyrus’s “Wrecking Ball” or any number of Taylor Swift songs. While immersed in this drastically different world, the music does not add another layer of stark contrast between the character’s fictional world and viewers’ realities. Rather than distract from the story at large, it fosters an easily approachable environment that invites viewers to feel as though they too are dancing the night away at the Queen’s ball.

The only bit of disappointment overshadowing the excitement of the season’s arrival was Simon’s absence. While the happy life of Simon and Daphne might have been a refreshing break from the internal and external conflicts other characters face, the departure of two of the show’s biggest stars was a little upsetting. However, the change in main characters allowed for some of the more minor conflicts from season one to develop further. If you’ve been left wishing for more on Eloise’s dismissal of the marriage process, Lady Whistledown’s covert operation or Anthony’s love life, get excited for this season.  

Despite a slow start in the first two episodes, it only gets harder and harder to exit Netflix. To make the absence of Simon less apparent, his and Daphne’s lives do not play a substantial role in the drama of the season. Instead, the focus turns to Anthony and his decision to marry. While initially it felt like the show was starting over in a sense, the shift in storyline was handled seamlessly. The writers and cast crafted the conflicts in Anthony’s love life as a continuation from the previous season. As he navigates the marriage season, grieving the loss of his father and a particularly tricky love triangle, his season one antics are quickly forgotten. 

While the plot of Anthony’s story is unrelated to the storylines of the previous season, Eloise and Penelope’s lives of rebellion take new directions as well. The centrality of their characters this season was much needed and much appreciated. After seeing only snippets of their rebellious natures from last season, these two ladies’ love matches with academia are worthy enough to be featured in the latest issue of Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers. 

While last season Lady Bridgerton accompanied Queen Charlotte’s then diamond, Daphne, to ball after ball, this season she is dragging quirky Eloise along for the ride. As graceful and eloquently as Daphne managed her marriage season, Eloise manages hers defiantly, pursuing feminism even more fervently than she did last season. 

As her best friend shakily begins to balance the world of promenades, balls, activism and grit, Penelope continues to pave a path for herself as anonymous gossip writer Lady Whistledown. While viewers spent last season wondering who this mysterious figure was, this season Penelope’s ups and downs keep her audience entertained as she struggles to keep her identity hidden and navigate the business world of 19th century London. 

If you’re still worried about Simon’s absence from the show, never fear: the Sharma’s are here! Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina (Charithra Chandran) have arrived in London with a mission in mind: to find Edwina a husband. As expected in the fictional world the characters live in, this mission involves much drama and glamor. Kate brings another independent and rebellious figure in the fictional world, and Edwina a reserved and eloquent one. Their characters introduce their own pasts, internal conflicts as well as their corgi, Newton, to their new world, all of which help you forget any initial worries you had for the season. As these two sisters lean on each other throughout the marriage season, their love for one another appears unconditional; but will their bond be broken by the triumphs and failures of the marriage season?