March 25 marked the much awaited release of the second season of Netflix’s hit show “Bridgerton.” Based on author Julia Quinn’s book series of the same name, the first season broke multiple Netflix viewership records and at the time sat at the site’s fifth biggest launch in history. The pearls and romance of the Regency era drama quickly gathered a large fanbase that waited a long year for season two — and it did not disappoint.
Centered around the second book called “The Viscount Who Loved Me,” season two tells the story of the eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, and his own adventure into the marriage market in an attempt to finally settle down with the perfect wife. His desire to marry is inspired not by love, but by a duty to meet the best future viscountess possible, naturally leading him to the queen’s diamond of the season — newcomer Edwina Sharma.
Complicating their relationship, however, is Edwina’s older sister and outsider Kate, who is wary of Anthony’s intentions toward her sister and does everything she can to express her disapproval. Further complicating the relationship is the undeniable tension between Kate and Anthony, who frustrate each other to no end.
Jonathon Bailey returns after season one to star alongside Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran in a slow-burn romance that exceeds expectations in more ways than one. Season two went all out in revealing the heartbreaking grief behind Anthony’s facade, Lady Whistledown’s desperate attempts to hide her identity and Kate’s constant inner conflict between her obligations and happiness. Eloise Bridgerton also takes the next step in fighting the mundanity of a woman’s life in the ton, possibly hinting at a new character arc in season three.
The portrayal of the characters was especially praised for its accurate representation of South Asian cultures as seen in the Sharma family, who hail from Bombay, India. Despite it being uncommon to see much representation in period pieces, “Bridgerton” continued its steps in season one to reinforce the idea that representation can be present even in the Regency era. South Asian viewers were pleased to see elements of their culture in fashion, food and language intertwined with the period romance.
I myself thoroughly enjoyed the change of pace in season two, where love seemed less hurried and hidden behind doors and instead more subtle and refined, the essence of a slow burn. While the burn could even feel too slow at times, I thought there was still a large array of interesting concepts to push the show along even without the main couple. The eldest child’s burdens on both Anthony and Kate are relatable, especially Kate’s pressure as an immigrant family facing an uncomfortable return to London. The Featherington family, whom some argue took away too much screen time from “Kanthony” — the ship name of both Kate and Anthony — offer a refreshing change from the polished Bridgertons as Lady Featherington does whatever it takes to protect her children. It was so much fun to live in the world of dance cards and pall-mall even if it’s just for eight episodes, and I found myself quickly forgetting how much I appreciate flush toilets and wishing I could be sucked into the screen. The only complaint is now we want season three and more “Kanthony” immediately.
Currently, season two of “Bridgerton” sits at number 1 on Netflix’s charts with its first season not far behind, having broken the streaming platform’s record for most views during an opening weekend for an English language show. Almost two weeks into its release, the show has proven to be as highly successful as it was anticipated. Many have spent the last couple weeks returning to the world of “Bridgerton,” where the characteristic costume design and particularly steamy romances made everything worth the wait.