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‘Bridgerton’ season two is somehow better than season one

Imagine: it’s March 25 and you are swearing to yourself that you’re not going to binge “Bridgerton” season two. You’ve waited over a year for this moment, so now it’s time to savor the magic. You succeed the first day, opening Netflix to watch just one episode, only to immediately fail the challenge, watching the entire rest of the series the very next day. 

 

Following the books, the second season of “Bridgerton” takes on a new story, following a different Bridgerton sibling. This year’s leading man is Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), the eldest of the bunch. Viewers met him in season one as a playboy womanizer who doesn’t believe in love, a facade that Anthony desperately tries to maintain throughout the season. 

 

But then the Sharma sisters come along. Edwina (Charithra Chandran) is the diamond of the season and therefore Anthony’s desire. She has been named the best of the best, what else does he need to know? But her sister Kate (Simone Ashley) disapproves of the marriage … something that might just end up benefiting Anthony. 

 

Warning: spoilers ahead. 

 

Going in, I was an Anthony hater. He seemed pretty basic in season one, with very few bits to redeem him. For the first two episodes, I was confused at what all the women of the ton (Yes, they say “ton” instead of “town” and I don’t know why) found in him. But episode three got me with the Anthony redemption arc. The episode opens on a scene of Father Bridgerton dying in Anthony’s arms due to a bee sting. That horrifying shot comes back throughout the episode, watching as Anthony is forced to grow up and “be the man of the house,” caring for his mother and seven younger siblings at only 20 years old. If that’s not tragic enough, Kate is stung by a bee at the end of the episode, standing in the same garden where his father died over 10 years ago. Anthony is, of course, beside himself—the first time he allows himself to admit that he cares at all about Kate. That closing scene is probably my favorite of the season, and the first major turning point in the Kanthony relationship. 

 

Despite almost no sex scenes, Kate and Anthony are steamier than last season’s couple. In season one, viewers were treated to a truly astounding amount of spice, so the complete lack is unexpected, but a pleasant surprise. Season two takes us back to the traditional regency era, where even standing too close together is considered a scandal. Kate and Anthony’s relationship progresses through eye contact made across ballrooms, poetic speeches about why they hate each other and forced proximity due to the fact that Anthony is courting Kate’s sister. Who is doing it like them?

 

As if these two couldn’t get any more insane, they share their first kiss at a wedding that is not theirs. Anthony is up on the altar, about to pledge his vows to Edwina—YES, the sister! He makes such intense eye contact with Kate that Edwina picks up on their hidden feelings and calls off the wedding. I’ve been told that this severely differs from the book, but I don’t care, this made for great television. I should know better than to doubt showrunner Shonda Rhimes. It’s over-the-top and melodramatic and exactly the type of nonsense that I come to “Bridgerton” for. Their happy ending in episode eight is earned and well-deserved.

 

During all of this madness, every other character is also creating their own chaos. Those Bridgerton siblings are nothing if not trouble. For example, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) resumes her hunt for Lady Whistledown, the anonymous “Gossip Girl”-esque blogger that plagues the city. In her quest, she learns more about feminism, friendship and first love. Benedict (Luke Thompson) embraces his artistic passions, going off to study at the Royal Academy. He discovers a new self-confidence and embraces creativity from all sources. Colin (Luke Newton) continues to be, and I genuinely say this so lovingly, an absolute idiot. Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) is hopelessly into him, and has been from the very start of the show. The two are good friends, and Colin always goes out of his way to be kind to her. This season, he doubles his affectionate efforts, all in the sake of being “good friends.” Hopefully next season he’ll start to come to his senses and realize that perhaps he cares for Penelope in a way that is stronger than friendly.

 

“Bridgerton” is one of those shows that I know I shouldn’t adore, but for some reason I just can’t stop thinking about. It transports viewers into an idealistic regency era world, one that you can’t help but get lost in. Season three can’t come soon enough! 

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