After The Rain
With the Hastings Ball due to kick off at the end of the week, episode 8 of Bridgerton begins with Simon making plans to leave. Daphne and Simon both lock eyes while their portrait is being painted though, trying in vain to disguise their obvious love and affection for one another.
Back at the Bridgerton Household, Eloise brings her concerns to Benedict about Madame Delacroix but he refuses to hear it. Elsewhere, Marina has now recovered from passing out and decides to pack her things and head home.
She apologizes to Pen for what happened with Colin and tells her that one day he’ll see her for who she truly is Just before Marina leaves however, she receives a visitor at the house in the form of George Crane’s brother, Philip.
It turns out George had half-written letters to confirm he loved her but unfortunately died in battle. Marina is beside herself with grief and tells Daphne that she was wrong for doubting him.
Eloise decides to follow up her enquiries by heading to see Madame Delacroix and trying to figure out if it’s her. She doesn’t get far though and eventually leaves. It turns out Benedict was listening from the back all this time.
Will’s big boxing match goes ahead and Simon shows up to watch. There, he watches as Wll throws the fight while an over-confident Lord Featherington bets the deeds to his house and comes away with big winnings.
Simon confronts Will about throwing the fight after but he refuses to listen to Will’s concerns. Instead, he tells Simon to deal with his own marriage for the time being.
Back at the Featherington household, Sir Philip asks Marina to marry him. She refuses though, given she doesn’t love or know him. Philip wants to realize his late brother’s wishes but Marina instead shuns his offer and tells him to leave. Believing she’s no longer with child, she’s flat-out refusing to indulge in these marriage schemes.
Lady Featherington’s rotten luck changes when she learns that her husband has just taken home a sizable amount of money from the boxing ring. Thankfully this means she’ll be able to buy new dresses for the girls after all.
Marina suddenly experiences sharp pains in her stomach and is rushed to see a doctor. In bed, the doctors confirms that Marina is still pregnant and the tea she drank made absolutely no difference to her situation.
Daphne does some research of her own and finds out about Simon’s speech problems in the past. Lady Danbury shows and the two discuss how difficult Simon’s childhood was and how well she did to raise him.
This is enough for Daphne to change her tune as she sits with Simon and eats breakfast. She invites him along to join her at Bridgerton House and greet her family. There, they get along like a house on fire as our various half baked subplots are given a little more time in the oven. At least momentarily anyway.
The final Ball of the season is due to begin and Anthony invites Siena along to join him. Unfortunately she decides against this and tells Anthony he’s lost. She refuses to get dressed up and tells him to let her go as she’s comfortable in her own life without him.
Daphne meets Simon and the two engage in their usual back and forth banter again. With Daphne now armed with the truth, the Duke and Duchess prepare for one final dance as the guests arrive.
Eloise shows in a ballgown, nervous about potentially matching up at the end of the season, while the Featherington family arrive at the party. Lord Featherington meanwhile finds himself in a lot of trouble as the two men he gambled with corner him in a bedroom upstairs.
Colin and Penelope see each other again as the former apologizes for acting foolishly and not seeing the truth. While Pen wants to reveal her true feelings for him, Colin instead turns around and tells her he’s leaving town. Pen is heartbroken and eventually races outside.
Eloise meanwhile, learns that Delacroix may be in trouble. The Queen is closing in on who Lady Whistledown is and intending to unmask the identity of her that very night. Eloise does her best to thwart that plan, stopping the guards as they’re about to ambush a horse-drawn carriage with her inside.
Back at the party, it begins raining as everyone ducks for cover except Daphne and Simon. They both giggle and talk openly with one another. Simon apologizes for what happened between them as Daphne confirms she’s read the letters and knows about his past.
She eventually tells Simon she’s in love with him – flaws and all. This eventually leads to them both sleeping together once more – this time with pure joy and love rather than deception.
Back home, Lady Featherington learns that her husband has been killed and even worse, the money stashed away in her drawer is gone. Despite her despair, she continues to put on a brave face as Marina leaves with Sir Philip, deciding to honour George’s wishes after all.
Colin leaves too while Anthony struggles to move forward with his romantic endeavours after what happened with Siena. Eloise learns that Madame Delacroix is not Lady Whistledown… it’s actually Penelope! Oh wow, well done Bridgerton that’s a lovely twist!
As we cut forward in time, Daphne gives birth to a beautiful baby boy. Simon holds his child and smiles, deciding they should stick to the Bridgerton family tradition and name him something beginning with A. Perhaps Average? Given this perfectly sums up where most of the series has sat across its 8+ hour run-time.
The Episode Review
Outside of Daphne and Simon’s romance, this series has really struggled to support its front-end shenanigans with strong foundations. Instead, Bridgerton embodies the adage “wide as an ocean, deep as a puddle” with a series intent on broadening itself out but not doing enough with its excellent diverse cast.
Even the main romance follows a painfully obvious trajectory as it embodies all the usual hallmarks of romcoms of old. You’ve got the romantic gesture in the rain, the miscommunication, dark past, the will they/won’t they flirting at the beginning and the fluffy, happy ending.
It’s all very orchestrated and fairytale-esque; a jarring juxtaposition with the show’s themes of how love and marriage don’t always go hand in hand.
Eloise, for example, has been portrayed as free-spirited and determined not to follow the norm. It’s perhaps a little disappointing to see her following the rest of the girls and seemingly nervous and excited to be showing up at these balls wearing gowns and getting involved in the hustle and bustle of marriage.
I was hoping she’d be the beacon of strong femininity in this one but alas, she’s instead turned into another round peg which is a real shame.
Penelope being the true identity of Lady Whistledown is a nice touch though and certainly a twist I didn’t see coming. In a series of few surprises, this is perhaps the one cherry on an otherwise unfulfilling cake.
So let’s tackle those subplots. Anthony’s will he/won’t he with Siena comes to an unsatisfying conclusion while Benedict and Henry’s exploits aren’t given anywhere near enough screen-time to properly dive into the underbelly of fun and scandalous sex alongside the lavish parties and balls.
Meanwhile, Lady Featherington’s money woes are given absolutely no time to progress either, eventually leading to an off-screen death for Lord Featherington and not even a sniff of remorse following his death. And what of Will too? Did he just go happily into the night after winning all that money? This subplot feels completely crowbarred in and really hasn’t been given the time needed to properly grow – even with a 75 minute run-time.
Colin eventually leaves on his own accord while Marina is forced into an unhappy marriage with Sir Philip. Perhaps Marina’s storyline is the most disappointing of all and the lack of screen-time shared with Daphne is a real shame as there was definite potential there for an intriguing team-up.
While Bridgerton isn’t a bad show per-se, it’s also not a great one either. Instead, it’s a relatively enjoyable and mediocre period offering with some of the best costume design of the year. A shame for sure but Bridgerton is not one to remember.