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Bridgerton 2×01 “Capital R Rake” Review

Bridgerton “Capital R Rake” Spoilers Ahead

Bridgerton. (L to R) Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton, Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne Basset, Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Florence Emilia Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in episode 201 of Bridgerton "Capital R Rake"
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Well, dear readers—we’re back to Grosvenor Square, it’s now 1814, and Anthony Bridgerton is looking for a wife. Quite literally, too, in the same way, most normal people go off looking for employees, conducting interviews, etcetera—he’s taking the word “duty” and running with it, two dramatic steps at a time.

Bridgerton‘s “Capital R Rake” kicks off Season 2 with more interruptions than steady moments, but it’s joyous, no less, as Whistledown returns from her hiatus with sharpened knives. She, a grieving Penelope Featherington, coordinates her latest column to release right as Eloise Bridgerton is about to be presented to Queen Charlotte, giving Claudia Jessie some exquisite facial expressions to don as she realizes what’s happening.

The opening montage sets up some rather fascinating viewpoints on work, specifically through how Whistledown works and later, how much Anthony overworks himself. The sleeplessness is a crucial detail to showcase precisely what we’ll see as the series moves forward to indicate how little he does for himself, even though no one necessarily expects him to do as much as he does either. But this is what the season essentially exhibits, thematically pointing out that there are characters within this series who have brought it upon themselves, either by choice or no other option, to be everyone’s protector.

The Capital R Rake Meets His Match

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton in episode 201 of Bridgerton.
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

I would have expected a few more montages to show how much Anthony sleeps around but what we get shows enough. Despite his exhaustion, the more significant picture to pay attention to is the concern he immediately exhibits when he believes the lady riding astride is in trouble. But as we know, the lady in question, future Viscountess Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), doesn’t require his concern at all. This changes Kate and Anthony’s meeting from The Viscount Who Loved Me, but it’s the kind of meet-cute I love with everything in me.

Whether from India or Somerset, it’s easy to expect that Kate would appreciate quiet mornings amongst the trees beyond anything else. As she tells him, this wasn’t a race, and he’ll get no name from her, but what neither of them realizes (the detail that strikes us hard) is that they’ve met their match in every regard. The person who’ll challenge them to grow for the better and the person who’ll put them in their place when they’re wrong. There won’t be any compromises soon, but that’s for the better—the chemistry between Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey is already so infectious, what’ll follow is only bound to get better.

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Introducing The Sharmas

Bridgerton. (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma in episode 201 of Bridgerton "Capital R Rake"
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2021

As we learn pretty early on, Lady Mary (Shelley Conn) and her daughters, Kate and Edwina (Charithra Chandran), have returned to London from India and stay with Lady Danbury as her guests. However, the scandal here is far more extensive than anything from the books because Mary’s backstory is significantly modified, as is Kate’s role as the older sister. Today’s real reason for their visit is that the Sheffields (Mary’s family) have promised a sizable dowery if Edwina marries an Englishman by birth. Their funds are low, much like in the books, but as a 26-year-old, Kate is not only considered a spinster by society’s standards, but because she isn’t Mary’s biological daughter, the offer does not apply to her.

Though this change from the book is a bit much, nothing is more apparent than how fervently Kate adores her sister because Ashley shows us how deep the love runs. She’d do anything to make sure that Edwina is not only secure and happy but that she finds a true love match. “It is his mind and spirit that will court yours. He will speak in a manner that only your heart can hear,” Kate tells a nervous Edwina before their first ball. We could start to see how sheltered Edwina’s been and how that could likely backfire later on. Edwina deserves a love match, but she also deserves the truth. Though it’s easy to understand why Kate tells Lady Danbury to keep it a secret, it’s frustrating how it comes to the surface later on.

Still, in an unsurprising turn of events, Edwina Sharma is rightfully named the season’s diamond in Bridgerton’s “Capital R Rake,” and Anthony gets his dance despite Kate’s objections outside of the conservatory ball. As said after the sneak peek was released, their chemistry here is the pinnacle of “enemies-to-lovers” excellence, and it continues remarkably. Though no shoe stomping dance follows, and Kate instead warns Edwina about the viscount, Anthony will start to witness a taste of his own medicine from his behavior in “Diamond of the First Water.”

Two different souls, but kindred in every regard—there are terrors in both Kate and Anthony that blind them to the truth, which is what the series ultimately explores as we dive further towards splitting apart duties and choices.

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Violet and Benedict Bridgerton Get It

Bridgerton. (L to R) Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, and Luke Thomspon as Benedict Bridgerton in episode 201 of Bridgerton. "Capital R Rake"
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2022

Violet Bridgerton is every mother without a filter, and we wouldn’t have it any other way. Ruth Gemmell was fantastic last season, but she is on a whole new level in Season 2, as is Luke Thompson’s Benedict Bridgerton. Whether it’s Violet loudly proclaiming that the viscount intends to find a wife or Benedict saving Eloise from dancing with other men, the two are on entirely different slopes while providing the moments of joy necessary.

How the mother and son relationship plays out in An Offer From A Gentleman is one of my favorite details from the book, which makes seeing them having such opposite goals at the present that much more intriguing. Violet tries to turn to Benedict a lot, asking particularly about Anthony when he isn’t present, and though he is currently on a quest to run away from the dance floor too, it’s prepping us for his season gorgeously (and hilariously).

Eloise Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton's "Capital R Rake"
©Netflix

Eloise wants to make her mother happy. She adores her family, and she wants them to be proud of her, but she cannot be someone she isn’t, and having Penelope to at least voice all of this to is lovely. But it’s Eloise’s conversation with Penelope in the field that’s worth discussing because though she cannot get away from the dance floor, constantly feeling like a disappointment because she knows everyone compares her to Daphne merits excavation.

The two are twin flames in more ways than one, and the TV series fleshing out their friendship is already lovely. They’re opposites, yes, but the appreciation for the other person remains immense and unyielding. There will never come a day when they do not love each other as profoundly as sisters do (even when they are at odds) because it is moments like this, far from prying eyes, in a field of buttercups and daffodils where they can be their most authentic selves—safe with someone who truly cares for every part of them.

Though insipid wallflowers will come to light soon, the comfort of female friendships is something we’ll see more of this season between Penelope/Eloise, Kate/Edwina, and even Violet/Lady Danbury.

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The Featherington Heir

The Featheringtons in Bridgerton 2x01
Netflix © 2022

Rupert Young’s identity as Jack is no longer mystery now that we learn that he’s the Featherington heir, presumably here to save the day from America. While the family has been in mourning and struggling with how to make ends meet, Penelope has been corresponding with Colin Bridgerton, who’s still in Greece. Phillipa still has the hots for Mr. Finch, and Portia hasn’t changed a bit. But what the future holds for them could be interesting with someone else in the picture.

Bridgerton’s “Capital R Rake” is a solid premiere, but it misses the first episode spark that can only be achieved through some sort of a magical, tension-filled dance. (And though I might be alone in this assessment, it’s still good enough to prompt immediately pressing play on the next one.) Thematically, the episode clarifies that the pursuit of perfection will always lead to more damaging grounds than beautiful roads, structuring both Violet’s concerns for Anthony and Kate’s for Edwina as an interesting juxtaposition that will lead to the showcase of choosing from the heart’s deepest desires.

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Afternoon Tea and Further Thoughts

  • LET ANTHONY BRIDGERTON SLEEP.
  • Also, y’all saw the geese, right? As Anthony sees Kate. It’s like I was there with them.
  • I will also never get over them finding the chunkiest, most perfect corgi for Newton.
  • Something about the show opening with Daphne feels right, like a passing of the torch.
  • Also the parallel of Colin telling Benedict Daphne likes him more, but Benedict telling Daphne she’s the last person Eloise would want to see is chef’s kiss.
  • Violet saying “See that he is quite well” and Benedict responding with “Me?” followed by Anthony’s intense, “I’m not in need of coddling” If you heard a high-pitched scream, that was me.
  • Followed closely by “Are you and the modiste still making a stitch?” / “Apparently not, but have you found a wife yet?” I love A&B, Your Honor.
  • Anthony and Eloise griping about the season and Anthony saying “I can still barely feel my toes.” We need more of these two.
  • Eloise saying she despises Hyacinth in that tone. Sisters. I cry.
  • The potatoes again line is giving me real Pride and Prejudice vibes and I love it.
  • Nicola Coughlan using her Irish accent at the print shop is brilliant.
  • Eloise declaring she’d rather die than join Cressida’s clique? MY GIRL.
  • They were trying to destroy us by having Eloise practice dancing with Gregory who’s somehow grown way too much, and I’m having all the feelings about it.
  • Kate’s giggle after the “race” lives rent free in my mind, as does her perfect hair.
  • The carriage scenes are pure gold though I really wish Colin was also there when Anthony tells Benedict and Gregory he intends to marry.
  • So…who else lost their mind when Violet said the betrothal ring is at Aubrey Hall?
  • I still cannot believe this buffoon straight up conducted interviews, but also the fact that he does the same in his dance with Edwina.
  • It’s hard to love Kate’s brash introduction with Violet. I completely understand her frustration and the series framing her closely to Anthony last season, but the scene felt a bit out of character to me.
  • Anthony burning the ad with Siena’s photo is…something, but the purpose is clear.
  • The kid who’s called on Eloise proceeding to play with Gregory and Hyacinth had me howling.

Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on Bridgerton’s “Capital R Rake?” Let us know in the comments below.

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