I need to talk about Bridgerton Season 2. Y’all, I want to be very clear about this.
THERE WILL BE SPOILERS BELOW!
If you have not read the Bridgerton books or watched season 2 on Netflix as of yet, STOP READING. Did I make that clear enough? I am going to spill all the secrets, so if you don’t want to know what they are, look away now!
Let’s get into this.
Bridgerton Season 2
Let’s set the stage for Bridgerton Season 2. Going into this, I knew this was to be Kate and Anthony’s story from the corresponding book, The Viscount Who Loved Me, Book 2 in the Bridgerton series by my mentor Julia Quinn.
I knew Kate Sheffield had been changed to Kate Sharma, and she was Indian.
I knew from the adaptation of Book 1 not to expect the writers of this show to stick to the plot of the book.
First thing you might disagree with me on – I AM OKAY WITH THE PLOT DIFFERING FROM THE BOOK, PEOPLE. I love seeing books adapted. As a creative, I love seeing how other creatives take original work and apply their own artistic talent. It’s a beautiful thing to watch and absorb, and I am all for it even if the adaptation changes a beloved story.
So let’s get all of that out of the way, and talk about the things I actually want to talk about.
Like the Mr. Darcy-esque wet shirt scene…
This is the first thing I must address. IMDB lists Kelly Valentine Hendry as the casting director. I have only one thing to say to her.
If there was any more chemistry between Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley, we would need to break out the lab coats and Bunsen burners. I have not seen such amazing acting in a very long time. And the two together took my breath away. They so accurately captured the sexual and romantic tension I try to capture in every romance novel I write.
And this was without inner dialogue!
I truly hope Bailey and Ashley are recognized for their acting abilities.
I also love the disparity between Ashley and Charithra Chandran. This casting so perfectly encapsulates the difference in the characters as laid out in the book. I absolutely loved it.
I will admit to having engaged in some online discussion boards after watching Bridgerton Season 2 because of the development of Peneloise. I love Peneloise. To see what happened in Season 2 sent me over the edge.
I will say it again….**SPOILER**
The fact that Eloise discovers Penelope’s secret in this season shook me. The relationship between Penelope and Eloise is so dear to me, and having the relationship upset so early in the series makes me NERVOUS.
Now, that being said, I want to see where these writers take it. I’m all in. If they have an idea for this early destruction that will knock my socks into next Monday I’m ready for it. So while this development set me on edge, I’m prepared to keep an open mind.
Shout out to my favorite Bookstagram sisters Mel (@sommelierofspice) and May (@dissociationbybooks) for the term “Polin.” It’s officially my favorite thing ever.
Now…dear writers of the show…what did y’all do to Polin??????
Again, I’m keeping an open mind. I truly hope the writers of the show are going somewhere with this, but I’m a tad worried. Polin is PRECIOUS to me. PRECIOUS. Penelope never groveled to Colin. NEVER. The girl has more backbone than a blue whale. How she is portrayed in the show is unlike her character in the books, and again I hold my breath waiting to see where the writers are going.
I did like how they gave her a voice for a brief moment at the end of the last episode. That was poignant!
But this was something I was noticing in the second half of Season 2…
Straying From the Core of the Characters From the Books
There were several instances of the characters straying from the cores established in the book. For example, Anthony’s motivation in the book is not believing he could outlive his father. In the show, they changed his motivation to not wishing to cause someone the pain Violet suffered when Edmund died. I was ON BOARD for this change. I really wanted to see what happened.
And then it didn’t.
There’s a small mention after Kate falls from the horse that it was his fault, but it didn’t go back to the heart of the meaty topic of the pain of love. So while Anthony’s character strayed from his novel motivation, I still wanted to see it. Except it didn’t happen.
My only hope is that I can see the series morphing into an ongoing story rather than each book being carefully encapsulated into one season. I hope this means we’ll get more of Kate and Anthony, and they’ll explore this theme of love and grief.
Edmund and Violet
I bawled. Did you bawl? BAWLED. The scene between Violet and Anthony after Edmund’s death where she’s sitting on the sofa ENDED me.
Such beautiful character development.
I loved the flashbacks they gave us, and the insight into the turmoil of Anthony’s position and how he came to be the viscount.
Paging Mr. Darcy
Thank you, dear Netflix writers, for the lake scene.
Anthony Bridgerton falls into the water. Does he climb right now?
He takes the time to remove his jacket, his waistcoat, AND his cravat all for our viewing pleasure, ladies and gents and non-binary friends! Can we get an amen?
My one caveat – the scene isn’t long enough.
Y’all this is my hot take: I freaking loved this season. The chemistry between Bailey and Ashley will keep me coming back. (I’m on my third viewing.) I desperately want to know what they heck they’re going to do with my beloved Polin. I’m here. I’m ready. I’m accepting.
The Bridgerton books and Julia Quinn are why I started writing historical romance. When I first heard they were adapting these historical romances for a streaming show, I panicked. I had watched three episodes of Outlander and had to give up. (It is fabulously adapted by the way. I gave up for personal reasons.) Outlander was the reason I studied abroad in Scotland, an experience that completely changed my life, and it cut too deep to see the story in a visual format.
But I will happily say this –
Netflix Bridgerton, you have reminded me why I love calling myself a historical romance author.
Write on, Lady Whistledown. Your audience awaits.