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The 5 Best And 5 Worst Things About Bridgerton Season 2

The first season of "Bridgerton" broke Netflix viewership records, so expectations were understandably high ahead of the drama's sophomore outing. With Daphne Bridgerton and Simon Basset's courtship concluded and breakout star Regé-Jean Page not returning for Season 2, fans worried that new romantic leads Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) wouldn't be able to carry the torch. Fortunately, "Bridgerton" Season 2 is more than up to the task, delivering a compelling new chapter in the Regency drama and setting up a lot of exciting storylines for the future.

The second season of "Bridgerton" earned positive reviews from critics and scored staggering viewership numbers. However, it isn't without its flaws. Kate and Anthony's story changes a lot in its transition from the pages of Julia Quinn's "The Viscount Who Loved Me" to the screen, far more so than Daphne and Simon's romance was. That's not inherently a bad thing, but some readers have taken issue with the divergences. Additionally, "Bridgerton" Season 2 suffers from some pacing problems. While everything winds up about the way you want it to, the path to that conclusion is a bit inconsistent.

All in all, "Bridgerton" Season 2 is a worthy successor to the show's beloved debut, bringing the same level of polish and drama to keep fans entertained. At the same time, there's definitely room for improvement going forward. Here are the best and worst things about "Bridgerton" Season 2. Spoilers ahead.

Worst: Bridgerton's complicated alternate history

The biggest change "Bridgerton" Season 1 made to Julia Quinn's "The Duke and I" was to do with race. Most of the historical details of England's Regency era are kept consistent in the show, but rather than being dominated solely by rich white people, the ton of "Bridgerton" includes characters of all races and ethnic backgrounds. It was a welcome move given how poor representation has typically been in high-profile romance stories. However, there's been intense debate over how well the series actually handles its diversity.

While "Bridgerton" initially appears to take place in an alternate history, the appearance of King George III (who, as he's thought to have done in real life, appears to have a mental illness) midway through the first season grounds it in reality. Season 1 also establishes that racism and even slavery are part of the history of the "Bridgerton" world. There are allusions to how society shifted in the not-too-distant past, with people of color being granted titles and landholdings as a form of reparation. However, most characters act as if racial discrimination has never been a part of their world, leading to an awkward tension between the real history "Bridgerton" pulls from and the utopian fantasy it crafts as escapism.

Many hoped that "Bridgerton" Season 2 would add more nuance to that equation, especially since new characters Kate and Edwina Sharma come to England from India. The history between those two countries is fraught with colonialist violence, but that never comes up in the show. If anything, "Bridgerton" Season 2 dives even deeper into its fantasy world and farther away from the truth of the time. Of course, there's a distinct power in letting characters of color live free from their historical oppression — some viewers were moved to tears by Kate and Edwina's prominent roles. But, because of the bed "Bridgerton" has already made for itself, it's hard not to see this shift as its own form of whitewashing.

Best: Kate and Anthony are great

Anyone who doubted that "Bridgerton" Season 2 could deliver a love story as compelling as Simon and Daphne's will be at ease after seeing Anthony and Kate fall for each other. From their first meeting — a chance encounter on horseback — Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley have chemistry, and the electricity between them carries the season. Yes, there's a lot less sex this time around, but that's not necessarily a bad thing, as some critics pointed out. The slower build of Season 2 leaves lots of room for juicy "will they/won't they" moments, and because the two leads are so compelling, that's enough to keep the entertainment value high until things finally get physical.

While their chemistry is a clear highlight, Kate and Anthony are just as good in their independent plotlines. Both characters work through their own issues in "Bridgerton" Season 2, which are paralleled in fun ways. They share a great sense of duty to their families, which can cause each of them to go too far at times. Both Kate and Anthony also have trouble allowing themselves to follow their own true desires, making their inevitable union all the more rewarding to watch.

Worst: Kate and Anthony could have been better

As compelling as Kate and Anthony's love story is, there are a few things about it that definitely could have been executed better. There's nothing wrong with a slower-burn romance or fewer love scenes, but "Bridgerton" Season 2 doesn't necessarily use its time in the right ways.

Because so many episodes are dedicated to Anthony's courtship of Edwina — a storyline that lasts longer in the Netflix series than it does in the novel — there isn't as much time to spend on Anthony's relationship with Kate. In Julia Quinn's book, the two are caught in a compromising position midway through the story, forcing them to marry in a similar manner to Simon and Daphne. Because that plotline was done so thoroughly in Season 1, it makes sense to change things up for Season 2. Unfortunately, the lack of urgency surrounding Kate and Anthony leads to a lot of repetition.

In essence, "Bridgerton" Season 2 has a few too many scenes of Kate and Anthony almost kissing and not enough scenes of them actually talking about each other. Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) repeatedly urges his brother to confide in him, providing an opportunity to add dimension to Anthony's attraction to Kate. However, that kind of confessional scene rarely comes up. "Bridgerton" Season 2 still ends in a satisfying manner, but it's hard not to feel that the way it gets there could have been smoother and more entertaining.

Best: Eloise Bridgerton

Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) was one of the best parts of "Bridgerton" Season 1, so it should come as no surprise that she's also one of the best parts of Season 2. Part of that is due to the same brand of fiery feminist dialogue that Jessie has always delivered so well, but Eloise also gets to grow a lot as a character this time around.

At the start of the second season, she's still interested in unmasking Lady Whistledown, a mission that ultimately leads her to the print shop that produces the gossip columnist's pamphlets. It's there that Eloise meets Theo Sharpe (Calam Lynch), a handsome young man who shares Eloise's wit and progressive outlook. Of course, it's inherently risky to pair your most outspokenly independent woman with a love interest. Many people — including Jessie herself — have wondered if Eloise should ever get married on the show. Fortunately, "Bridgerton" Season 2 handles her first bout with romance elegantly and tastefully, imbuing Eloise with a fun new range of emotions without compromising her progressive spirit.

It's unclear how "Bridgerton" will deal with Eloise's inevitable season as the lead, but her dynamic with Theo has proven that the writers can effectively balance her personality with a compelling love story. That's a big deal, and it bodes well for the future of the show.

Worst: Benedict Bridgerton

Though "Bridgerton" Season 2 succeeds with its Eloise arc, it falls short in its handling of her brother Benedict. In Season 1, the second eldest Bridgerton sibling is queer coded pretty explicitly, which didn't go unnoticed by fans. His storyline follows him as he journeys into London's art world and befriends a closeted gay artist who acts as a kind of mentor. Though Benedict's physical relationships in Season 1 are exclusively with women, there was a clear sense that he wasn't strictly straight. Because queer romance is less common in popular media, especially in period shows like "Bridgerton," the idea that Benedict might be bisexual was cause for some excitement.

It's incredibly disappointing, then, that Season 2 does nothing to further Benedict's exploration of his sexuality. He has a pretty solid arc in the season, which shows him struggling with self-doubt and imposter syndrome after being admitted to a prestigious art school for painting. He meets a woman named Tessa (Emily Barber) at the school and embarks on a casual sexual affair. Luke Thompson is endlessly charming in his performance as Benedict, and in a vacuum, the character's Season 2 story is pretty compelling. But because of how overwhelmingly straight the series has been so far, the apparent dismissal of Benedict's implied queerness is frustrating.

To be clear, a bisexual person is no less queer when they're in a relationship with someone of the opposite sex. But in a huge TV show like "Bridgerton," teases and subtle implications aren't adequate substitutes for explicit representation.

Best: The drama!

More than anything, audiences swarm to "Bridgerton" for the drama, and Season 2 delivers on that front in spades. The love triangle between Kate, Anthony, and Edwina is obviously the main attraction, but there are plenty of other subplots to keep viewers engaged.

Colin (Luke Newton) and Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) continue to build towards what seems to be an inevitable romance, though the former remains pitifully unaware of his friend's true feelings for him. Eloise's hunt for Lady Whistledown finally uncovers Penelope's deceptions, leading to a brutal confrontation between the two. The whole Featherington family goes on a rollercoaster ride with their new patriarch Jack (Rupert Young), bringing both comedy and scandal. And, of course, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), and the other leaders of the ton provide plenty of entertainment by meddling in the affairs of others.

If you loved all the tension, dramatic monologues, and saucy secrets of "Bridgerton" Season 1, then you should be more than happy with Season 2. Plenty of tea is spilled over eight scandalous episodes, keeping viewers on the edge of their seats from start to finish.

Worst: Inconsistent pacing

"Bridgerton" Season 2 is entertaining throughout, often immensely so, but there are times when the pacing feels a bit too slow. Kate and Anthony's love story is one of the primary offenders on that front, with a fair bit of repetitive writing and a few too many scenes where something almost happens between them, but doesn't. However, the season's romantic leads aren't the only ones diminished by pacing issues.

Because "Bridgerton" features so many characters, and because pretty much all of them have complex agendas, motivations, and desires, Season 2 has a lot of ground to cover in just eight episodes. For the most part, it balances the various plotlines well, but there are moments where things drag just a bit. It would have been nice to see more of Kate's relationship with her mother, a proper arc for Daphne, and some extra scenes for Edwina after her engagement breaks down. Because much of the core drama of Season 2 is back-loaded to the last few episodes, there's a lot of time to build things up and not a lot of time to give them proper payoffs.

Again, these pacing problems are minor for the most part, and it's safe to assume that a number of the storylines are being held back intentionally to keep plenty of material for future seasons. Still, it's difficult not to feel like "Bridgerton" Season 2 could have used its time a bit better.

Best: Bridgerton's fantastic ensemble

The huge number of characters in "Bridgerton" can make the show feel a little crowded at times, but the writing is too good for this to become a hindrance. Every sibling, friend, rival, lord, and lady has their own unique motivations, and they all interact with each other in such fun ways.

Eloise Bridgerton's most important relationship is still her friendship with Penelope in Season 2, but she also gets to share scenes with her new love interest, her older brothers, her mother, and Kate Sharma, among others. In each of these interactions, "Bridgerton" reveals something new about Eloise, and every other major character gets the same treatment. The result is an ever-thickening web of relationships, each adding more texture and dimension to the others.

"Bridgerton" is the kind of show that's easy to get lost in, and that's largely due to the richness of its ensemble cast, which is incredibly talented across the board. From veteran TV actors to acclaimed London stage performers, the show boasts a wide array of skilled and charismatic stars. Those who return from Season 1 are just as good as they were then, and the newcomers fit perfectly alongside them.

Worst: Spread a bit too thin

Because almost all of the characters in "Bridgerton" are interesting in their own right, there's rarely a boring scene. Even when it's between two characters who've never spoken directly before, there's a good chance it'll be entertaining based simply on the merits of the writing and the performances. However, there are still rare moments when the sheer number of plotlines can feel like a weight on the show, spreading the focus too thin.

There's an argument that "Bridgerton" Season 2 values breadth over depth in terms of storytelling, even when it comes to the main protagonists. Kate and Anthony barely get any screen time after they finally get together. Edwina Sharma is largely pushed to the side in the last couple of episodes because of the need to ramp up the main love story, which means viewers don't really get to see her outside of the love triangle. For the characters already on the fringes of "Bridgerton" Season 2 — like gentleman's club owner Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe), modiste Genevieve Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale), and the younger Bridgerton siblings — time in the spotlight is even harder to come by.

Of course, the eight-episode structure of a Netflix season doesn't allow for every supporting character to be developed in excruciating detail. It's only because those characters are all so compelling that the focus can sometimes feel disappointingly scattered.

Best: Bridgerton Season 2 is gorgeous

For all its enrapturing drama and charming characters, "Bridgerton" Season 2 remains largely carried by its overall aesthetic presentation — arguably the most impressive part of the whole series, and certainly its most critically lauded. Just as they did in the first season, the hair, makeup, costuming, set design, and musical score all blend together beautifully, creating an enchanting world that fuses fantasies of past and future.

There is an undeniable appeal in the escapism of Regency balls and promenades, but the genre typically isn't for everyone. Corsets and courtship are acquired tastes. The magic of "Bridgerton" is that it takes the core of what makes period fiction so enticing and updates it with contemporary flair, widening the gates of the genre so that all kinds of new fans can appreciate it. In this regard, Season 2 is as successful as its predecessor. The balls and estates and carriage rides are all strikingly shot and underscored with string quartet covers of modern pop songs.

At its best, "Bridgerton" feels like a pointillist painting in motion — a colorful kaleidoscope of swirling dresses and sculpted flower arrangements that's as easy to get lost in the second time as it was the first.