Bridgerton Season 2 Review by Kendall Ricks
The highly anticipated second season of Bridgerton dropped on Friday, March 21. The release of the first season in 2020 set viewership records for Netflix due in large part to the racially diverse cast and the steamy sex scenes. But for season two, the show departed from its successful recipe, opting for more of a “slow burn,” between the two romantic leads.
The season follows the Sharma family as they navigate London’s marriage season. The family comes from India in search of a noble Englishman for their youngest daughter Edwina to marry. The quest to find Edwina a husband gets messy when her suitor Anthony Bridgerton is secretly in love with her older sister Kate. Played by Simone Ashley, Kate is a much more dynamic character than last season’s female lead. She’s family-oriented and headstrong with dreams of going back to India to be a teacher.
The identities of the women in the Sharma family are influenced by their role as women as it is by their Indian heritage. The actresses even do something akin to code-switching as their accents are noticeably thicker when they are with each other than when they are interacting with other characters. Indian culture is infused in the characters with everything from their clothes and jewelry to small moments like when Kate takes a moment to herself to prepare fresh chai.
Since its release, my timeline has been filled with South Asian people voicing their appreciation for this season and the way it highlighted their culture. This is why representation is so important. The Sharma’s aren’t ashamed of their culture or running away from it. They are proud to be Indian.
This season also did a great job of not just building tension, but suspending it. From the moment we meet Kate Sharma in the forest, it is evident that she has chemistry with Anthony Bridgerton. The back and forth nature of their relationship – the banter, the stolen looks of longing, the fact that they can’t be together, and the amazing chemistry between the two actors– all add to the tension. But what really differentiates this season from last is the reason why they can’t have each other: Anthony pursues Edwina, Kate’s sister.
In this way, the season somewhat subverts our expectations. Per the rules of any great romance story, there is an obstacle to Kate and Anthony being together, but in this story, the obstacle is literally her sister! Therefore, the tension is not just between Kate and Anthony but between the entire Sharma family and everyone who is entangled in their lives.
While I did appreciate many things about this season, I do wonder if it subverted our expectations enough. In the end, it follows the same story of forbidden love. And while we can see the writers building on other characters who will inevitably lead the seasons to come, I wonder how the next few seasons will depart from the first two.
In the end, the second season of Bridgerton came through on its promise of delivering escapism to audiences. It’s not reinventing the wheel when it comes to romance or television, but it sure is fun to watch.
Written by Kendall Ricks