Capital R Rake
Episode 1 of Bridgerton Season 2 starts with a brand new season about to dawn. With a cheeky bit of fourth wall breaking, the Queen wonders what’s happening with Lady Whistledown. They haven’t heard from her since last season (their words) and try to work out where she is.
Well, Penelope is still knocking about, but she’s keeping a low profile in the Featherington household. Lady Featherington is still awaiting a Lord to help take over the house.
With the aforementioned season about to begin, just like season 1 we see a whole bunch of people meeting the Queen, walking through the throne room and trying to impress her. One among those who’s desperate to make a good impression is Eloise. She breathes heavily, struggling to take steps forward.
Thankfully she’s saved by a message from Lady Whistledown, which arrives by tray and is presented to the Queen and the many others in attendance.
So what’s going on with Whistledown? Apparently she’s been “honing her skills” aka. sharpening her knifes to help hatch her next plan. Given how Penelope doesn’t arouse any suspicions from those around her, she plays the part well, wanting to know exactly who the Queen is going to choose as her latest diamond. “Your move, Your Majesty.”
Anthony ends up meeting a brand new character this year, racing a woman across the vast countryside. When he eventually catches up with her, she doesn’t reveal her true name and simply rides away. Well, this woman happens to be called Kate, who’s the eldest daughter of Miss Sharma. There’s also her younger sister, Edwina too.
The Sharma family are new in town and Lady Danbury intends to help Edwina find a prospective match at the upcoming ball this season.
Kate has no desire to marry (a handsome stranger arriving before the season, with no desire to marry despite flirting with one of the main characters? Hmm, who does this remind you of?)
Anyway, Kate is there to help Edwina, reassuring the young woman and helping to get her dressed for the ball.
Naturally, all the other women start gossiping about their origins, as Kate notices Anthony from afar, pointing out that he’s the most prominent bachelor this season.
While Edwina is called off for a dance, Kate watches from afar. Her opinion of Anthony sours though when he hears him outside, discussing with the men what he’s looking for in a match. He doesn’t care too much about love but does want someone with an acceptable wit and good looks.
Eventually Kate confronts him and takes offence to his attitude, pointing out it’s as bas as his horse-riding skills. Boom, take that Mr. Bridgerton!
Penelope continues to work around the periphery of the ball, listening in to various bites of gossip. It’s a delicate balancing act, especially as we now she’s Whistledown, and here we see her hurrying off to see her distributor, who brings out 800 copies for the lofty sum of 11 pounds.
Plant puns and scathing assessment of the season ahead, Whistledown also urges the Queen to make her choice over who the season’s diamond is going to be. The Queen though, refuses to be swayed.
In the middle of this, Kate happens to be a diamond in the rough, with no bachelors willing to be with her. She’s also confronted by Lady Danbury too though, who calls her out for a morning ride and questions her intentions.
It turns out the real intentions here are for Edwina to marry a noble Englishman to try and regain the honour lost on the family’s name. The Sheffields have agreed to bestow a dowry on Edwina and look after her mother but only if Edwina marries properly. Neither of them are aware of this, given Kate has been conspiring behind both of their backs.
If Kate could marry too to help her mother, she would. For now though, her dedication lies with helping Edwina and making sure she’s taken care of. But would her sister still think the same of her if she knew the truth?
Danbury presses this question on Kate, urging her to open up and tell her sister the truth. Kate wants to keep this a secret though, believing it would crush her and cause problems. But will it stay a secret?
The Queen makes her decision and chooses her diamond. Edwina Sharma. Anthony Bridgerton soon shows up to interrupt this to ask her for a dance.
However, there’s also big drama in the Featherington household as the new Lord arrives, all the way from America. But it also means big changes afoot. And nowhere else is that more apparent than in Whistledown’s change of heart. Her latest letter condemns the whole notion of the diamond, pointing out that all women can be great in their own way.
The Episode Review
Bridgerton is back and one can’t help but see a lot of similarities to season 1. Kate is essentially playing the part of Simon this time, while Anthony’s brash attitude and arrogance is likely to be smoothed out by Kate, with them “pretending” to be with each other for the sake of Edwina. If this does happen (I haven’t read the books, mind) then we’re well on our way to a copy of season 1.
Alas, if that doesn’t happen then there’s an intriguing amount of soapy drama to chew through. Much like the first season, there’s a decent amount of work done to flesh out these different characters and prepare for the season ahead, while the lavish set design and production values are every bit as high as they were the first time around.
Anyone who followed my reviews before will know I’m not exactly sold on this show and there’s nothing here that would suggest this is going to be a mind-blowing period drama.
I am pretty impressed with how they’ve handled Penelope this time around though, and given we know that she’s Lady Whistledown, there was always a danger that this would dilute the mystery. Instead, we see a lot more of her character and start to understand exactly how she’s managed to learn all this information to drive her articles.
Hopefully we’ll see more of that going forward, but for now this 70 minute episode bows out with a promise of more drama to come this year.