Tuesday, May 24, 2022

‘Bridgerton’ Recap: Season 2, Episode 1 “Capital R Rake”

Bridgerton is back! The highly-anticipated second season of Netflix’s hit show is finally here and it’s ready to deliver on all the drama and heat we remember from the first.

It’s time for a new season and there are so many factors at play. Will Eloise finally give in and enter contention? Can Anthony find a suitable viscountess? And how long can Penelope maintain her secret alter-ego, Lady Whistledown?

Lady Whistledown is back

After a brief holiday, Lady Whistledown is back for this year’s upcoming social season. And this time, she’s ready to challenge Queen Charlotte even more than she did the year before. We know the identity of the revered author to be Penelope Featherington, but how long will she be able to keep up her ruse?

Liam Daniel/Netflix
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Penelope has quite the stash of income contained in her floorboards from the sale of her ever-popular gossip column, and somehow I feel that’s going to come to light and not end well for Pen. We all know her mother, right? However, for now, Penelope is back to writing this season, and she’s giving it a little twist. Maybe the queen’s diamond this season isn’t so important after all.

The Featherington household is also getting a bit of a shake-up, as a new lord is coming to preside over the household after the death of the previous Lord Featherington. And much to everyone’s surprise, he’s much younger than they expected. He’ll come with money to hopefully save more of their items from being sold off to pay the bills and with every intention of finding a suitable partner for each of the Featherington girls. The first order of business? Pay Philipa’s dowry so she can marry Albion Finch, her very patient suitor.

Anthony is ready for a viscountess

It’s finally time for the Lord of the Bridgerton house to settle down and marry. He’s this season’s most eligible bachelor and he has a high list of demands for what his future wife should be. And of course, no one fits the bill. He interviews all the eligible women that come his way, and not one fits his criteria. However, it’s interesting to note that Anthony is freely admitting he has no intention of marrying for love, only purpose, so his future wife must be perfect in order to keep the Bridgerton dynasty superior.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Anthony is taken aback one morning on a ride he’s taking at dawn where a woman he’s never seen before successfully beats him in a horse race, though he claims it can’t be a race if a finish line was never agreed upon. But Anthony’s just not cut out for this and he bungles the somewhat decent start with his mystery woman not much later at Lady Danbury’s ball, the first of the season.

The Sharmas return to London

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Every social season in London needs to be exciting, and the Sharmas return to the city after a long time away is just the thing this one needs. Lady Mary, and her daughters Kate and Edwina, are here under the care of Lady Danbury, staying with her in her home in hopes of finding Edwina a suitable husband.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Kate, the eldest, is certainly not afraid to speak her mind, and she and Lady Danbury butt heads throughout most of the episode. She’s exceptionally well-spoken and very protective of her younger sister, and she will not allow her to go off with just any man. But there’s more to that story, as well.

The Sharmas are a complicated family, with Kate not being the biological daughter to Lady Mary Sharma, but the daughter of her late-husband that predated their marriage (her step-daughter). Mr. Sharma was a commoner who Mary ran off with at the peak of her own season to marry. Needless to say, Mary’s reputation isn’t that wonderful with the London crowd, and the queen, for this very reason. Mary also isn’t on very good ground with her own parents either, the Sheffields.

The Sheffields have complicated this season for the Sharmas, as they’ve set very explicit expectations for who Edwina is to marry if the Sharmas are to get a dime from them. And they need it, as they spent the last of their money on this trip to London. If the Sharmas are to be aided by the Sheffields, Edwina must marry an English man of nobility. After a heart-to-heart about this matter with Lady Danbury, Kate and her host finally have an understanding, so perhaps their relationship will be a little less tumultuous going forward.

Kate has made it clear she is not interested in taking part in the festivities of finding herself a partner, only to help her sister find the perfect match. It is, of course, Kate that Anthony meets on his early morning ride mentioned above. However, it’s Edwina who is named the diamond of the season by Queen Charlotte herself.

Anthony and the diamond

Before the diamond of the season was even announced, Anthony Bridgerton already knew whoever was chosen would be the one he wanted to marry. Remember, he’s going for purpose, not love. So when Edwina is announced as the diamond at Queen Charlotte’s ball, he immediately jumps at the chance to have a dance. He’s also the most eligible bachelor, so this is seemingly already a match made in heaven. Except for one small matter: Kate.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

During Lady Danbury’s inaugural event, Kate had overheard Anthony speaking with his friends quite callously about women and his lack of emotion regarding whoever his future wife will be. He just wants her to produce children to carry on the Bridgerton name, and he’s uncaring about frivolous matters such as love. Whatever slight affection Kate might have felt for Anthony after their early morning jaunt is now gone, and in its place is a vehement disgust. She confronts him about it, leaving the two on bad terms already.

Anthony is immediately impressed with Edwina as he interviews her, as he did the others, during their first dance. And then he realizes the barrier he’ll have to face to claim the diamond as his bride.

Eloise is still the G.O.A.T.

Yes, Eloise is still admirable resistant to this entire courting game. She has no interest in marriage, instead, wishing she could stay locked up with her books (which is an absolute mood). She’s going to be playing keep-away with all the suitors this season, as already demonstrated here with her full dance card featuring many fake names. Unlike other women in the same situation, Eloise knows there is more to a woman than sparkly dresses and dancing skills, and she intends to maintain that stance.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

I’ve always loved this trajectory for Eloise. While all the others around her are vying for man’s attention, even her friend Penelope, Eloise is holding true to her virtues that this just isn’t how things should be. I hope she continues down this path, as it’s a wonderful representation of all women who feel the same as her.

All eight episodes of Bridgerton season 2 are now streaming on Netflix. Follow along with our episodic recaps, and make sure to check out our review!

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