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Finally, dear readers, Season 2 of Bridgerton is here. The hit alt-history period drama dropped on March 25, and much like its first season, has taken the world by storm,
Based on a romance novel series, the Regency-era drama has just the right mix of mystery, scandal to make it binge-worthy and the attractive cast makes it a breathless guilty pleasure!
Set in London during the early 1800s, it follows the ups and downs of high society families as they find suitable partners for their daughters to marry — think Downton Abbey meets Gossip Girl. Throughout the series, considerations of wealth and power vie with the allure of true love.
After Season 1’s focus on Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and her oh-so-handsome but brooding Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page), Season 2 shifts its focus to Daphne’s older brother Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and the love triangle that springs up between him and a pair of sisters, Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran).
But it’s not all tight bodices and wet silk shirts (Oh by the way, the costume designers outdid themselves this season). After binge-watching season 2 over a weekend (you’re welcome!), much like the elusive Lady Whistledown, I’ve penned some life lessons I’ve learnt.
Oh, and it goes without saying, spoilers ahead!
The truth will set you free
As to be expected, much of the drama revolves around the many many secrets kept throughout the series — I was on the edge of my seat in every scene. As much as I would love to share more, it is for you, dear readers, to find out for yourself what these characters are hiding behind their sweet smiles and gorgeous outfits. (If you want, write to me and we can compare notes!)
It did teach me a lesson though: Carrying a lie can weigh on you more than you realise. In this season specifically, we see how telling a lie can end up in turmoil. So who does Anthony (who is a viscount, by the way, how dashing!) truly love? Kate or her sister Edwina Sharma?
We watch friendships shattered, engagements broken off, and an entire society turned against a character for a petty lie. But as the story unfolds, we see how finally telling the truth brings relief to our major characters, especially… oops almost spilled the beans!
Overcoming gender stereotypes
The first season drew praise for creating a narrative where the colour of people’s skin were acknowledged and accepted and Season 2 builds on it by having more persons of colour play the main leads.
But what I want to focus on is how gender stereotypes are overturned in a period drama.
The women of Bridgerton have always exceeded my expectations. What I liked about them is their bravery for standing up in what they believe in.
Even in our modern times, society still has a particular perspective on what women should do. Seeing the ladies in the series stand up for themselves inspired me as a young woman.
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For example, we first see Kate riding a horse in the woods, something no high-borne female was meant to be good at as it is considered “unlady-like”. Her riding skills were to be kept anonymous as it was against society’s expectations of what a woman should do.
Elsewhere in the series, she goes to shooting ranges with the men to show that women are not to be seen as a prize but as their own person.
She is very capable of making her own decisions — something I admired about all the women in the show.
Stand up for what you believe in
In the teasers leading up to the launch of the series, we see Kate standing up to Anthony numerous times over his outdated view of women. Throughout the season, I was certainly not disappointed about how she would not let anyone take advantage of her — a task even more daunting, given the period she is in.
But it’s Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) that caught my eye. Since Season 1, Eloise has been a fan favourite for her rebellious trait. Her belief that women can be destined for greatness and not just seen as prizes for marriage makes her a truly memorable character.
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As a young woman, she constantly finds herself standing up to her mother to prove that she is so much more than what the society expects of her.
As I watched her character progress further in Season 2, I was inspired by her belief that if we are passionate about a cause, we have the power to stand up for it.
After all, you are never too young to start!
You do not have to live up to anyone’s expectations
Anthony and Kate are the oldest children in their families, which means they bear the burden of ensuring the family name is respected in the eyes of society.
Being the oldest child in my family, I totally got what it feels to have to be the role model for your younger siblings. The pressure of always being on your best behaviour can sometimes be overwhelming.
As we venture deeper into the story, we uncover more about Anthony and his past — specifically why his character is that way. We soon learn that his tough, harsh demeanour stems from his desire to be the man of his family, taking up the responsibilities of the Bridgerton house, filling the void left by his father’s death when Anthony was a young boy.
That’s why his scenes with his mother Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Katrin Gemmell), where she reminds him that the burden of the family’s name should not control his life, hit home for me. That brings Anthony to a crossroads where he has to choose between duty and love.
Despite your responsibilities to your family, sometimes, it’s okay to decide your own future.
In time, trauma will heal
Everyone is fighting a battle that we might not know of. This is why our default approach should always be from kindness.
In this season, we find out about the traumas that have moulded the lives of these characters. Sisters Kate and Edwina are only half siblings, which raises tensions when Kate feels insignificant for not being of a full-blooded Sharma.
This trauma plays out as their sisterhood gets tested time and time again for a man they both have feelings for.
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That man, Anthony, also has to deal with childhood trauma, having held his dying father in his arms. When I found out about his fear of not living up to expectations of being the man in the family, I began to understand his actions a lot more.
But despite all their baggage, a moment between Anthony and one of the sisters shows that trauma can be healed by the right person and at the right time.
After all this drama, it’s no wonder Netflix has already renewed the series for a third and fourth season.
Personally, I can’t wait.