When the first season of Bridgerton premiered on Netflix in late 2020, it became an instant pop culture sensation. It didn’t take long for the period-set romance drama to grow into one of the most-watched Netflix originals at that time, even surpassing records set by The Witcher. Since then, fans have been craving more of what this rich world of stories has to offer. The series of romance novels by Julia Quinn that this series is adapted from focuses on one of the Bridgerton siblings at a time. Season 2 is based on Quinn’s second novel ‘The Viscount Who Loved Me’, which brings the eldest sibling Anthony Bridgerton into the spotlight. Unlike the prior season, these latest episodes draw slightly more loosely from their source material, incorporating key characters and critical plot points without following the book’s narrative page by page.
Season 2 of Bridgerton continues to flesh out pre-established families while introducing a new significant one, the Sharmas. Half sisters Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina (Charithra Chandran) are the talks of the town upon their arrival to London, which only intensifies when the Queen crowns Edwina the diamond of the social season. As a peculiar love triangle forms between the two siblings and Anthony Bridgerton, romantic and familial tensions reach an all-time high.
Diving deeper into the lore of the Bridgerton family, audiences witness their first glimpse into Anthony’s childhood, one which is riddled by the untimely passing of his father, thrusting him into the role of a Viscount at a young age. These flashbacks enrich his character, presenting vital context to his imperfections and cold disposition. Season 2 of Bridgerton, without a doubt, does the character justice from the source material and star Jonathan Bailey does not disappoint in carrying more weight as the leading star.
Fans of the novels awaited casting news with bated breath as soon as the second season was announced, but to much relief, Simone Ashley is the perfect addition to this talented ensemble. The Sex Education alumna is a powerhouse, simultaneously bringing such fiery passion and grace to the role of Kate Sharma, forming an equally compelling and complex protagonist. Ashley and Jonathan Bailey share riveting chemistry that builds throughout a slow-burning, loathing turned romance. Charithra Chandran’s charming Edwina plays a bigger role in the series than she does in the book, serving as an ideal catalyst for Kate and Anthony’s distinct love.
Following the reveal of Penelope Featherington being infamous gossip columnist Lady Whistledown in the show’s initial season, viewers now get to see her personal endeavors begin to intertwine with her scandalous journalism, putting the ones she loves at risk. Penelope aside, the Featherington family becomes even more prominent in this season’s story and while their antics are slightly more interesting, their arc feels drawn out and tedious when juxtaposed with Kate and Anthony’s drama which is far more interesting and gratifying to see unfold on screen.
It may come as quite disappointing news to some that Kate and Anthony’s story is not half as raunchy as Daphne and Simon’s from season one. Nonetheless, the intensity of the masked yearning between this new pairing makes up for what is lost. The payoff is worth it in the end, rounding season 2 off as another more than satisfying binge, albeit with a few imperfections. As a show, Bridgerton continues to be meticulous in its every detail and is sure to be a treat for those who enjoyed this period drama the first time around. And with seasons 3 and 4 both already in the works, Bridgerton‘s run of excellence is far from over.