Bridgerton Season 2 follows Julia Quinn’s highly anticipated second novel, The Viscount Who Loved Me, in Anthony Bridgerton‘s search for a wife. Only, it’s not the kind of word-for-word or close adaptation as some would’ve hoped for. Though that’s never something to be expected, while some changes are understandable, others are questionable at best.
The popular series returns with fan-favorite characters and newcomers who fit as seamlessly as a tailor-made gown, and it’s as though they’ve been here all along. Charithra Chandran does a lovely job with Edwina, and Shelley Conn embodies Mary remarkably. Plus, in an unsurprising turn of events, Rupert Evans’ Edmund Bridgerton will floor you.
And as far as our new leading lady is considered, there’s much praise to be given for Simone Ashley’s Kate Sharma, who’s inspired by the novel’s Kate Sheffield. Ashley is a sight to behold and a masterful performer who will undoubtedly steal hearts from the first moment she steps onto the screen. It’s impossible to avert gazes from her captivating embodiment of the character.
In bringing the core love story to the surface, Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley are transcendent—the way they move and merely breathe in the same frame results in something profoundly indescribable. They were born to play these characters, and it’s evident they understand all the concealed layers underneath that only a close examination of text can illuminate. Even when there are no words, Bailey and Ashley give their characters the latitude to convey a swarm of emotions in silence.
And as much as this show is about romance, it’s also about families, and the dynamics are better than before with the Bridgertons. It’s those relationships the show continuously gets right, as do the actors in embracing the lesser-known parts of their characters to bring organic and more grounded facets to the surface. It bears repeating, but as far as the performances go, this cast remains unmatched, each brilliant in their own right.
Still, for as much as there are some great additions in Bridgerton Season 2 from its first season (and the books), some storylines fall into the questionable territory. The story starts to feel clunky at some point, and that wasn’t the case with the debut season and how seamlessly paced the episodes are (imperfect sure, but the flow wasn’t one to disappoint). It’s like taking the wrong exit on the highway, but instead of getting back on immediately at the next opening, we keep taking turns the GPS isn’t calling for.
In this case, the show glosses over elements that deserve more excavation while it spends far too much time on storylines that don’t require nearly as much. The drama is more expansive and bolder than Season 1, but as a result, rather than having the characters take a front seat in the vehicle, it’s the plot that’s driving them forward.
We’ve said it here countless times, but we never expected a carbon copy of The Viscount Who Loved Me. We’re good at compartmentalizing the book and the show as two different mediums while understanding that some details wouldn’t translate as well, but this isn’t our first rodeo, and the series didn’t need to divert as far from its source material. Some changes, in short, feel unnecessary and thus like a disservice to Quinn’s beautiful storytelling.
The show is full of some of the most talented actors who could’ve conveyed far more if they were given the space to. And while there are certainly moments where they do more than the words command, it’s hard not to wonder about all the little things.
Bridgerton Season 2 could’ve been sensational, but it leaves much to be desired, and it tragically lacks balance. Still, this is Bridgerton, and while we’ll always be grateful to see our favorite couples on-screen, the underlying sadness isn’t easy to put aside, at least not for now.
Bridgerton Season 2 is coming to Netflix on March 25!