Shock And Delight
With news spreading of Simon and Daphne’s exploits, episode 2 of Bridgerton begins with the pair meeting again and playing up their roles. Lady Danbury and Lady Bridgerton watch from afar and discuss with interest the prospect coupling of these two.
Back home, the Bridgerton family are abuzz with the match-up and talk of nothing else. In fact, the one dance they shared together is enough for all the prospective bachelors to shimmy over to Daphne’s side instead. An angry Anthony shows with Lord Berbrooke to find Daphne surrounded by men.
With the room cleared, Anthony’s forced marriage for Daphne gets back to their Mother who confirms that they need to entertain the notion of Simon marrying Daphne instead. Anthony is having none of it though and eventually storms out the room. He immediately finds Simon out sparring in a boxing ring and confronts him over trying to court his sister.
Interspersed around the season are flashbacks of Simon himself allowing us to understand more of who he is. Simon grew up without a Mother after she died during childbirth. His Father is less than suitable to raise him, believing his son is his one shot to fame. Right now though, little Simon is struggling to articulate his words which puts a big dampener on his plans.
Thankfully Lady Danbury is on the scene to help him overcome his demons and learn how to write and read. She takes him under her wing and raises him herself.
Penelope shows up in Marina’s room and drops off some sweets. As they sit together, Marina talks about her love life and how she had sex with the vicar boy. He’s in Spain fighting Wellington but tends to drop her numerous letters about how they’re getting on.
It’s a match made with love, something that seems pretty rare in this high society of forced match-ups and dress-up charades. When Penelope feeds this back to Eloise later in the episode, she can’t understand how this love distance deal could work.
Queen Charlotte despairs over the lack of suitable match-ups on the marriage counsel. Instead, she decides to write a hand-written letter to Lady Bridgerton herself. As she opens it up with trembling hands, Bridgerton is invited out to tea with the Queen.
For now, it’s back onto another evening dance as hostilities between Anthony and Simon continue. Lors Berbrooke is there too of course, but Daphne and Simon remain fixed on their task at hand to make it seem like they’re completely in love.
When Anthony learns about Berbrooke manhandling his sister the night before, he breaks off the engagement himself. When Daphne learns what’s happened, she’s none too happy with Simon, telling him she doesn’t need him to fight her battles.
Later that evening, Simon beats down Lord Berbrooke outside when he mentions his Father and what happened in the past. Of course, this is incredibly painful for Simon, given the disdain his Father felt toward him.
A final flashback to the past interjects here as we see Simon talking to his Father on his death bed, promising he’ll never sire an heir or marry.
The next day, Lord Berbrooke decides to go above and beyond after the beating he faced the night before. He threatens to take the news of this to Lady Whistledown if the marriage doesn’t go ahead; a marriage he’s already secured and is due to take place 3 days later. Daphne is understandably devastated but Lady Bridgerton does her best to try and see the positive side of this match-up.
Outside, Eloise smokes down by the swings but Benedict shows and decides to join her. Eloise wonders whether there’s anything more for her than marriage and Benedict clearly feels the same way. Both of them desire something away from this high society of marriage and seem like the square pegs of the family.
Lady Bridgerton meets the Queen and they sit down to tea together. The Queen gushes over the current pairing of Simon and Daphne but obviously there’s a big roadblock in the form of Lord Berbrooke.
Lady Bridgerton invites Berbrooke’s Mother over for tea but in doing so, has secretly concocted a plan of her own. She’s found out plenty of scandalous information about Lord Berbrooke, prompting news to spread like wildfire of this sordid tale. That tale eventually sees Berbrooke leave town thanks to Lady Whistledown’s gossip rags.
That evening, Eloise sits with her sister and talks to her about the “game of pretend” she’s been playing during this marriage season. This certainly rings true for Daphne, especially when she dances with Simon and decides to take charge of her own life.
As they dance, Simon tells Daphne to call him buy his first name and together, set to work trying to find her a suitable husband. Of course, the irony here seems to be that Simon is the perfect match – something Lady Danbury is quick to point out.
The Episode Review
With the whispers of romance in the air, it seems likely that Simon and Daphne will hook up by season’s end but in doing so, it would mean going back on what Simon promised his Father. And will he keep to this promise and remain a bachelor?
There’s an intriguing element of drama to this series as the romances and affairs continue, bubbling down to a simple question of just what love is. Through this superficial hierarchy of lies and forced marriages, can such a thing ever exist?
Bridgerton does relatively well to interweave these ideas around the various characters with both Benedict and Eloise exhibiting desires to move away from this “game of pretend”. For now though most of the supporting characters haven’t had an awful lot to do so hopefully that will change later on down the line as the various sub-plots begin to take shape.
Although the Gossip girl narration is enough to keep this one watchable, it does also add an air of unbelievability that this society can be so swayed by a single paper by an unknown writer. Despite that though, Bridgerton does well with its hour-long run-time as things look to be moving a bit quicker now.