‘Bridgerton’ Season 2 review: A rather tepid, less sexy sophomore effort

Based on Julia Quinn’s popular novels, the show is set in an alternate, racially-integrated Regency period. If, with the Sharma sisters, the makers were planning to look at colonialism, it seems more yolk than the imperialistic yoke

March 30, 2022 05:52 pm | Updated 05:52 pm IST

A still from ‘Bridgerton’

A still from ‘Bridgerton’

The second season of Bridgerton does not have the rakish Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page) and hardly any sex. There, I have said it. What it does have is the Viscount Bridgerton, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), looking for a wife. He fixes his eye on the lovely Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran), who Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) names the diamond for the season. Unfortunately Edwina’s sister, Kate (Simone Ashley), is always in the way making things difficult for the couple.   

We learn that the girls’ mother, Lady Mary (Shelley Conn), shocked her stick-in-the-mud parents, the Sheffields, by marrying Sharma, who apart from being a lowly clerk, was a widower with a daughter, Kate. Lady Mary ran off with Sharma to India and lived happily till Sharma died and the mother and daughters were left with nothing.  

Bridgerton (Season 2)
Episodes: 8
Run time: 57 to 72 minutes
Creator: Chris Van Dusen 
Starring: Adjoa Andoh, Lorraine Ashbourne, Jonathan Bailey, Harriet Cains, Bessie Carter, Nicola Coughlan, Phoebe Dynevor, Ruth Gemmell, Florence Hunt, Claudia Jessie, Luke Newton, Golda Rosheuvel, Luke Thompson, Will Tilston, Polly Walker, Julie Andrews, Simone Ashley, Charithra Chandran, Shelley Conn, Rupert Young, Martins Imhangbe, Calam Lynch 
Storyline: Viscount Bridgerton’s hunt for a bride is complicated by the Sharma sisters  

Kate takes on the burdens of running the family and enters a hare-brained scheme with the Sheffields who promise to provide for Lady Mary and Edwina if she makes an advantageous marriage.   

You would think Anthony would be the ticket but Kate is forever wavering — telling Edwina to snub the Viscount and pursue him by turns. Though like The Taming of the Shrew, Kate and Anthony are always sparring, they have feelings for each other which everyone, except the couple, are aware of.  

Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), the eldest Bridgerton daughter, who married the Duke last season, floats by occasionally, which makes the Duke’s absence odder still. Page apparently joined the series on a “one and done” clause. At least they should have mentioned the Duke is travelling, or Daphne should not have made her appearance either. 

The other Bridgertons, artist Benedict (Luke Thompson) and traveller Colin (Luke Newton), have their own little troubles. With each season focusing on one of the eight Bridgertons, one cannot be too excited about Benedict and Colin, who do not seem particularly interesting. Anthony, also for that matter, does not seem to be able to set the pulse racing.     

Eloise (Claudia Jessie), the fifth Bridgerton, seemed to be interesting with her blue-stocking leanings, but in this season comes off as petulant more than anything else. Also her interest in the printer’s assistant, Theo Sharpe (Calam Lynch), while sweet, is just more vanilla.   

The grasping Featheringtons — mama Portia (Polly Walker) and her daughters, Philippa (Harriet Cains), Prudence (Bessie Carter) and Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) — are up to their usual tricks. Portia continues to look for a suitable boy for her girls, while Penelope keeps her ears peeled for grist for her rumour mill. The new Lord Featherington (Rupert Young) might be enormously rich from his ruby mines in the Americas or he might not.   

The doyenne of the Ton, Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), spars as usual with the queen and Violet (Ruth Gemmell), the Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton. The queen continues to be obsessed with the identity of Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews), does she not have an empire to run?  

Based on Julia Quinn’s popular novels, Bridgerton is set in an alternate, racially-integrated Regency period. If, with the Sharma sisters, the makers were planning to look at colonialism, it seems more yolk than the imperialistic yoke.  

If the father was a clerk, how does Edwina remember jolly days in the “palace”? Unless he was palace clerk in some little princedom? The girls, however, talk of Bombay which definitely was not a princely State during the Regency; but well, it is an alternate history. 

Referring to their father as appa while Edwina calls Kate didi is annoying. Why not akka or pitaji and didi? Even more mystifying is Kate calling Edwina, Bon! What is that—Paris by way of Patna? Kate’s “Indian” name, which is revealed in the finale, is complete nonsense. I am tempted like the colonel in Catch-22 to demand what kind of name is that.  

The production values continue to be high and fashions delicious. The music rather cleverly includes classical versions of pop songs including Nirvana’s ‘Stay Away’, Madonna’s ‘Material Girl’, Miley Cyrus’ ‘Wrecking Ball’ and ‘Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham’ (ugh). However, the sophomore season is rather tepid as we cannot bring ourselves to care about Kate or Anthony—the Darcy-inspired wet shirt notwithstanding.   

Bridgerton is presently streaming on Netflix  

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