Cast: Jonathan Bailey, Julie Andrews, Phoebe Dynevor, Luke Newton, Luke Thompson, Nicola Coughlan
Creator: Chris Van Dusen
Director: Tom Verica
Streaming On: Netflix
Language: Hindi & English
Runtime: Around 50 Minutes Each Episode.
Bridgerton 2 Review: What’s It About:
Set in the high society of 19th century London, the new season begins from the aftermath of eldest Daphne Bridgerton’s marriage. Her officious elder brother Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and head of the Bridgerton family by virtue sets on to pick the best woman in the city and turn her into a viscountess. As a dutiful son, he puts his duties as a viscount above his own needs or rather ‘Love’. “I cannot succumb myself to the blind delight of being in love,” he reasons.
Before getting into a carousel of bawls, parties, and recitals, he meets Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley)- an intriguing stranger with whom he has provocative verbal spat. The encounter truly excites him and started to develop a liking for her but as a dutiful viscount discards it out of his mind. Later during the first bowl, he is introduced to Edwina Sharma who soon becomes the ideal fiancee for a man of Anthony’s stature and the Bridgerton family. Guess who is Edwina’s sister? Soon a love triangle develops among Anthony, Kate, and Edwina.
Bridgerton 2 Review: What Works:
It’s easy to get lost in the grandiosity of Shondaland’s depiction of Regency-era romance which is still sweeter and fizzier than the other period dramas. Embellished gowns, opulent sets, a carousel of bowls & soiree, lush gardens, colossal houses, and some terrific horse rides through parkland kept me invested in the story.
Eloise Bridgerton seeking the true identity of the gossip girl, Lady Whistledown, and to unmask her makes for some of the intriguing parts of the plot. Her friendship with Penelope Featherington and their fallout are some of the few scenes that are written well enough to keep the audience hooked on it.
Even though Bridgerton 2 may have fewer s*x scenes, as compared to celebrated steamy scenes in season one, felt like an integral part of the plot and not merely glacé figs atop a grand confection.
Bridgerton 2 Review: Star Performance:
Jonathan Bailey’s performance as a hypocritical royal, drowned in his own sense of superiority and self-sacrifice is commendable. However, he fails to bring sizzling chemistry with his female counterpart Simone Ashley. All the human connection with the duo seems to be superficial. The only real connection between them was their first-child sacrifices made for the respective families.
With a tall frame, bulging eyes, and beautiful brown skin, Ashley is a stunner and cements her position as the lead but her performance falls short. Playing a mean-spirited rebellion doesn’t seem to come naturally to her. All the other supporting cast made a fine convincing performance in the latest season. Rege Jean Page did not make any appearance. The Duchess of Hastings, Daphne Bridgerton has largely stayed away from the season. Her appearance before the climax scene during the Edwina Sharma and Anthony Bridgerton’s wedding did give a substantial spin to the storyline.
Bridgerton 2 Review: What Doesn’t Work:
The debut season opened with sexual liberation and nudity. The surprise raunchiness dedicated to Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and crowd favourite Duke of Hastings Simon Basset (Rege Jean Page) caught global attention during the pandemic.
However, Bridgerton 2 is a sad demotion from there. Almost every character appearing in the series gives a stale lecture on finding ‘true love’ as the sole objective of women’s lives made me skim through the part. I found the pace slow which also added to my debilitation.
Often Sharma sisters are seen addressing their parents as ‘Amma’ and ‘Appa’ – grossly stereotyping and misrepresenting the Indian household. Clearly, the makers overlooked the distinction between North Indian and South Indian culture due to a lack of extensive research. Moreover, just for the sake of inclusion- a current craze in the International cinema- there’s a brown girl, there’s a Hindi song in the background (a cover version of Kabhi Kushi Kabhi Gham title song), and an ode to one of many Hindu weddings only shown for two seconds; then moves forward with a catholic wedding which makes no sense. In spite of several criticisms of stereotyping Indians, some ‘western gaze’ never seems to move in the right direction.
Bridgerton 2 also made a feeble attempt to lend its voice to the ongoing debate over race, individuality, and the unique definitions of freedom for all living beings regardless of the era they live in. There are also contrived ever-evolving conversations around women and their place in literature and society in general. All these notions serve mostly as half-baked and too familiar tropes in the center of it.
Bridgerton 2 Review: Last Words:
If you are expecting celebrated season-one s*x scenes and riveting romance among the lead characters, you are in for a disappointment. The latest season compromised on s*x for substance but failed to implement it. Shondaland’s period drama is slow-paced but proud on pompous and has an exquisite set design.