I must confess that there has been a most auspicious occurrence. Series two of the delightful tale Bridgerton has made its debut on Netflix, much to the delight of myself and the ton. Admittedly, with haste, I began watching what would occur during this season and was charmed by the arrival of the Sharmas.
If you wish to experience the twists and turns of the season yourself, I must urge you to depart from this writing. Robbing you of such joy is beneath even a writer such as myself.
The Courting of Kate Sharma and her sister Edwina Sharma was most compelling and more enjoyable than that of Mrs. Daphne Bridgerton. The dissolution of the engagement between the “gentleman” Anthony and Miss Edwina was most scandalous, considering she was this season’s illustrious diamond.
We were bamboozled into believing that he fancied Edwina when in reality, he much preferred the ill-tempered beast of a sister, Kate, who became his viscountess.
I had thought that the longing glances would have made it obvious to the ton that such a connection was going to be made. I would be remiss to waste any more time discussing such matters; I will move on to discussing some of this season’s biggest moments.
Eloise and Penelope
After the scandalous revelation that the young Penelope Featherington was the elusive lady Whilstedown, the plot’s action centered around the queen’s desire to reveal who she was. One of the season’s most faint-inducing moments was when her majesty falsely believed that the young Eloise was the gossip column writer. While Penelope did protect Eloise in a way within her means, it did ultimately lead to a divide in the girls’ friendship.
Additionally, with Eloise’s first season underway, I enjoyed that she was not made to compromise who she was or what she wanted for the sake of a bodice-ripping romance. She pursued her interests and her values without compromising her character’s principles. Even so, I do hope that is not the last we see of the boy from the print shop.
And, of course, there is her discovery of Penelope’s betrayal. Their subsequent arguments were most entertaining, and their performance was some of the best of the season. I simply can not wait for the next season to see how the falling out of their friendship will affect the Featheringtons and the Bridgertons.
I think we are about to see a truly teeth-gnashing, knife sharpening Lady Whistledown who will withhold nothing and protect no one. Penelope no longer has anyone whom she wishes to protect.
Bridgerton Family History
We also learned this season a lot about the star family. We found that Anthony’s father, the previous viscount, died at their country home due to a bee sting in front of Anthony. The history shown explains a lot of why Anthony is so deathly afraid of falling in love and takes on so much of his family’s responsibility.
His father’s death and his mother’s broken heart have quite obviously left him scared at a time when he was also grieving such a heartbreaking loss. Focusing on the Bridgerton family showed viewers and this writer why Anthony behaves in such an unbecoming way at the beginning of the season. It makes it easier to pity him instead of feeling vexed by his shortcomings.
As we learn more about these siblings, I am excited to see more of their collective family dynamic and watch each of them fall in love. I suspect the next Bridgerton to fall in love on screen will be the free-spirited Benedict, but that remains to be seen.
Anthony and Kate
As for the main couple, the departure from the source material to make Kate a Sharma and not a Sheffield was delightful. In the original novel, they were English, pale and blonde. The added diversity only served to enhance the plot and they know not how the representation will positively impact viewers going forward. They stayed true to their colorblind casting without ignoring how growing up in India would affect their traditions and culture.
As I have previously alluded to, I much preferred the romance of Kate and Anthony over the romance of Daphne and Simon. Even though there was only one sex scene this season, I found it far preferable and more meaningful to the plot than the scenes from the previous season. I also found that the yearning and chemistry were far more enthralling. I enjoyed watching Anthony squirm under his attempts to do what he felt was right.
The other departure from the book was the entirety of the wedding. In the original literature, Kate and Antony are forced to marry under similar circumstances to that of Daphne and the Duke. Instead, the surprise proposal to Edwina and Anthony’s denial of his feelings for Kate added so much more freshness to the season.
The yearning between the main couple was palpable; the hands grazing, disgraceful leg showing and staring just highlighted how excellent the romance was this season.
This program is not particularly known for its historical accuracy, but that does not mean the costuming is poorly done. I suspected from the moment that Kate Sharma appeared on screen that she would end the season as a viscountess, not Edwina. She was wearing blue from the moment we saw her. Her gown’s darker tones often match Anthony, who rarely wears the much lighter tones of his mother and sister Daphne.
However, Indian culture and fashion undoubtedly influence both Kate and Edwinas’ costuming. For example, Paisley, which originated in ancient Persia, is considered the border between India and Pakistan. Kate also wears a lot of jewel tones that very nicely compliment her darker skin, and the costume design said that this was influenced by Indian culture as well.
The lead costume designer for season two said, “We had a big discussion with the showrunner and producer about how to represent the Sharma family using Regency dresses. We ended up using Indian fabrics and Indian embroidery. The jewel-tone color palettes of Kate Sharma’s costumes are important, and all the family’s jewelry is Indian inspired. Even though they’re in empire-line dresses, there are still elements of their heritage throughout.”
Returning to the lovely Edwina and her gowns. She, too, has some of these cultural influences featured in her gowns. Her lighter colors likely symbolize her youth and help her visually fit in with the other young Bridgerton ladies like Daphne and Eloise.
Although high-waisted empire dresses are not my preferred look, I would be remiss not to point out how lovingly and intentionally crafted the looks are for all the characters in the show. From the Sharma sisters, the outlandishly dressed Featheringtons, and the pastel Bridgertons, each family on the show has elements that set them apart.
If you so desire to rewatch the season, I would encourage you to keep your eyes open for all the costume changes and styling choices this season has to offer.
This fascinating season was a pleasure to watch, and I simply cannot wait for next season’s eligible ladies and gentlemen to court one another. If I do so get the opportunity, I will not miss the chance to get a taste of romance and the regency period.