S1: The following podcast contains explicit language.
S2: Oh, I see. Right now I see. Charlotte.
S3: Greatest people know I am the father. But.
S2: What’s in the box.
S3: Yo, you’re blowing up.
S2: Damn, you old.
S4: Oh, hello and welcome to Slate Spoiler Specials. I’m Marissa Martinelli and associate editor at Slate. Today I’m joined by Rebecca Onion, a Slate staff writer. Hi.
S2: Thanks so much for having me.
S4: So happy to be spoiling today with you. And today we are spoiling Bridgerton Season two, the Netflix drama produced by Shonda Rhimes and created by Chris Van Dusen. It’s based on Julia Quinn’s series of romance novels, with each book following one of the eight Bridgerton siblings as they find love in Regency, England. The first season, which aired in December 2020, was a smash hit. And now the Bridgerton’s are back. Season two is based on the second book in Julia Quinn’s series, The Viscount Who Loved Me, and follows the eldest, Bridgerton Anthony, as always on the Spoiler special. You can expect spoilers for the TV show. Rebecca and I have also read Julia Quinn’s books, so you can expect some spoilers for the Viscount who loved me as well.
S2: Yes, for my sins. I have read many of them, although not all.
S4: I have read them all and will be very happy to fill in the gaps and in your bridgerton knowledge. So when last we left the bridgerton’s in the first season we were following the fourth Bridgerton child, Daphne. Conveniently, they’re all named in alphabetical order, which is very helpful for keeping track. Fact There are many jokes about this within the show. Daphne is the oldest girl but the fourth bridgerton child. And so the first season saw her get married. Now we are following Anthony, who I know Rebecca has some very strong feelings about.
S2: I do. In the.
S4: Books, Rebecca. And even in the first episode of the show, Anthony is referred to as a rake. What is a rake? Are we gathering up leaves with this man?
S2: No. So I wrote a piece for you, as you know, about the idea of Anthony as a great, which he was a cook. And what I didn’t know until I did research for that piece was that great came from the term Rachel, which was what people in England starting in the 18th century called young men who went out and carousing. And so usually it’s like men who have a little bit of money or maybe a lot of money who decide to kind of go out and party instead of taking up their responsibilities. So in the book, Anthony is one of these. In fact, he’s so notable that he is described as a capital R rake by Lady Whistledown in the book. And that’s the first episode of the season is called Capital R Rage. And in the book, the idea is that he is so sort of undone, by the way, that his father died, that he sort of reacts by becoming really fatalistic about life. He can’t imagine living older than his father. I think Edmund was 38 when he died. And so he decides that he’s just going to go for it. And he has a sort of a sense of duty around his family and being the male head of the family. But he also decides just to go out and party. But eventually he decides in the book that he does need to get married and so does go on the marriage market, as they say. But in the show, he is much less joyful. He is a character who is fussy and grouchy and exacting is what he is called by his family, somebody who kind of expects everybody to be just as detail oriented and worried about how things are going as he is. He’s sort of a mr. Darcy. I don’t know. That’s the exact right archetype to peg him too. But he is not like silver tongued in the way that some romance heroes might be. He’s like a little more rough and honest. Is that the right way to describe it?
S4: I think Mr. Darcy is a great comparison, especially because all of the Bridgerton books and presumably each season of the show follows a different romance trope. So the first season with Simon and Daphne followed the fake relationship trope, which is when two people pretend to be in love and then inevitably fall in love. But this season is enemies to lovers, the pride and prejudice trope of two people who cannot stand each other but are attracted to each other and eventually do find common ground. So I think that’s a really great comparison with Anthony, who is really a crank. He’s not a happy camper.
S2: Yeah, he has a lot of kind of like veiled aggression, a little bit like when you see it coming out in the they call it Pall Mall, the game that they play in the show, the family game. I don’t know why it’s not. I don’t know what the difference is between the two things. But there’s a very competitive game that they play and it comes out that he is like the most competitive and you can tell it with him. He’s sort of like like it’s sort of a sublimated. Frustration, his role or his way of living, but he still feels like it is his duty. So this is what sets up kind of the romance between him and Kate Sharma, is that they both are sort of this way.
S4: Bright and Anthony is actor Jonathan Bailey. I am so impressed by him. He really is the backbone of this season and I’m so happy that they trimmed his sideburns from the first season. He really looked ferocious in the first season. You get to see much more of his face now, and he is just so good at subtle facial expressions in that Pall Mall game that you were describing. There’s a moment where he has to pretend to be a good sport for the sake of appearances, and his annoyance is so poorly masked as he’s clapping for someone. Every gif of him is a work of art, for sure. Yeah, he’s very believable.
S2: Yeah. There have been a number of sort of fun Twitter moments around his his face.
S4: Let’s talk about the other gorgeousness of this season, which is his love interest. Kate Sharma, played by Simon Ashley.
S2: She’s so pretty.
S4: She has the most amazing cheekbones I’ve ever seen in my life. I could stare at her all day. There is a pretty big change from the books here, which is also true of the first season, right? The first season of Bridgerton created a kind of alternate reality Regency England. Basically, the queen. Queen Charlotte, who was a real historical figure, is played by a black actress. And consequently the show has established this timeline in which the town, the aristocrats of Regency England, are fully, racially integrated. And this has caused many complications. If you’re looking at it from a historical perspective, right? This is a society in which somehow there is sexism and classism and no racism. And so they’ve received a lot of criticism on that front. This season is a little different than the first because the first season felt very much like colorblind casting, as much as the show positioned it as color conscious casting. I was talking about this on the Waves with our colleague Rachel Hampton, and she described Simon as black. For the sake of being black, this season is a little bit more aware of racial identity in that the Sheffield family from the books becomes the Sharma Sheffield family and they are visiting from India with the express purpose of finding a husband for the erotically. Both of the daughters Kate and Edwina. But really just for Edwina, the younger who is beautiful and accomplished and charming and who all of the family’s hopes have been pinned.
S2: On, which is so funny because it’s like, what’s wrong with Kate? Like, she’s extremely beautiful.
S4: She’s 26. She’s ancient.
S2: Horrible, disgusting. But in the book, it’s kind of explained a little bit more that Kate has sort of decided that she is not just kind of not going to do it and a little bit or she kind of can’t, like, play the game. And in the show, they take Kate’s motivation a little bit sideways, where she feels intensely protective of Edwina and she really wants to get a good outcome for Edwina. But there’s also this sort of other moving piece to the plot, which is that so their mother married, right to marry. She left England in love with their father and she sort of left in a little bit of disgrace. Her her mother and father did not want her to make this match. So the father was not like the status and wealth that they had hoped that she would marry and sort of in retaliation that the grandparents have told the Sharma family that Edwina will only inherit if she marries an aristocrat, like if she marries someone sufficiently fancy for them. And meanwhile, Kate is not actually related to Lady Mary. She was the father’s daughter who already existed, and her mother had died when the father and the brother got married. And so she has sort of taken on this role as the protector of this jewel of a daughter. The younger daughter is the one who is going to be the redeemer of the family. And actually, her motivation made a little bit more sense to me in some way. She sort of comes out in the last episode of season two that she has always felt a little bit like she has to justify her place in the family because her father has died and now she’s been adopted by Lady Mary, who’s never been anything but kind to her. But she can’t help but feel like she needs to do something in order to sort of, you know, pay her back. And so for her, her mind has turned to doing something will be helping Edwina marry somebody who’s, like the best possible match.
S4: Right. And this added complication of the strict grandparents and the dowry that they’ve promised. Edwina, you know, the show isn’t too precious about its adaptation. They’re definitely very willing to change the books in ways that sometimes I’m scratching my head. But others, I think, are very, very smart. And in this case, it also explains a little bit of the I want to call it a pan Indian identity that they’ve given the Sharma’s. Kamala Varga Rajan has a great piece over at NPR laying out the kind of reaction within, you know, Indian Internet communities to this family. And one of the critiques is that they seem to be from everywhere. Right? They’re speaking a mix of Tamil and Marathi and Hindi. They have customs from all over. And the blended family aspect seems to cover up a lot of this. Right, to say, okay, well, you know, their dad is from one part of India. Kate’s mother is from a different part. Her stepmother, Mary, is from a different parts. They’re widely educated. They lived in Bombay. So it does seem to be, you know, sort of you can forgive a lot of sins in that respect, but it also creates this identity. You’re right. That is not as much acknowledged in the book where Kate feels similar to Anthony. Right. She’s the eldest. She feels a responsibility for her sibling and for the well-being of her entire family that she’s shaped this whole identity around and has made her a little bit rigid.
S2: And a little bit unhappy. And also with both of them, with both Anthony, there’s like a sublimated grief at the death of their fathers that they have sort of channeled into doing too much.
S4: But speaking of major changes from the book, we are about to talk about the most important scene in Bridgerton season two the be seen. But first we’re going to take a quick break. We’ll be right back with you after this. And we’re back. Rebecca, this is the moment that we’ve all been waiting for. This is a very important scene in both book and TV show. It is the bee sting scene of Bridgerton. So viewers may have noticed in Bridgerton’s first season there were a couple of cheeky little references to a bumblebee, and it was very exciting for me as a reader of the Viscount who loved me, because bees are the driving action of the entire story and also a really tragic back story for the Bridgerton family. Rebecca, walk us through it.
S2: Before I read the viscount who loved me, I think you told me this was going to be coming. And I was like, No, it’s not going to be this weird. And that it was 100% that weird in both book and show. Edmund Bridgerton that the patriarch, the dad who was very beloved by all the Bridgerton kids who were old enough to know him when he was still alive, dies because you get stung by a bee in their garden and he just dies like within 5 minutes or something.
S4: He has an allergic reaction. What we now understand to be anaphylactic shock.
S2: Exactly. And clearly, there was no EpiPen or like any assistance for this person who dies in 1800 or whatever it would have been. So this kind of creates both Anthony’s later sort of personality because he ends up having to take over right away. And in the show there is sort of like this beautiful and super sad sequence where Jonathan Bailey can’t. How does he do it? He looks like he’s about 11 years old, although he’s supposed to be 19, you know, in this in this part of the show. And Violet, the mother basically falls apart and she has seven children and is almost about to have an eight. And there is this horrible scene where she’s in labour and the doctor comes and tries to get Anthony to tell the doctor who should be saved, the mother or the baby, because it’s supposedly like his duty now that he’s the viscount to say who should be saved. And eventually, he says, she can decide which is sort of, you know, historically accurate and awful. But one of the pieces of fallout from this little bit of family history is that he becomes afraid of bees. So he’s sort of afraid of bees in the show. He’s pretty afraid of bees in the book. And in the book, he kind of says, you know, I’m not going to, like, be so afraid of bees that I’m going to let it rule my life. But he still maintains a fear of it because part of the story of the death is that he has been stung before and it was okay. So again, this is at a time when this was poorly understood and there was not a way of like figuring out whether you were actually like anaphylactic allergic to bees. I’m sure there’s probably a more medically accurate way to put that. You understand what I mean.
S4: Sir? I mean, the bees the bees are driving his motivation, both in terms of why he wants to get married. Right. He feels he’s the head of the family. He needs to provide an heir. He’s convinced that, you know, he’s not going to create the same kind of heartbreak for whatever woman he marries that his father’s death created for his mother. So he’s taking love out of the equation. He wants to find someone purely out of duty, does not want love in the mix. And that leads him to settle on Edwina. She’s pretty. She’s accomplished. She fits the bill. She’s very smart as well. And so he feels that she’s the right candidate. Of course, Kate is not having it right.
S2: And which is, you know, this whole idea that you can marry someone without love is just fascinating. Like this whole I mean, I guess it’s supposed to show that he’s just like a person who rushes into things with a very strong idea of how things are going to be based on his own desires and does not sort of does not consider that other people might have like a motivation, like he wouldn’t want to, I guess maybe some people would want to marry a viscount who is very wealthy and just says, let’s just have kids and like we’ll never be in love. But as we find out, that’s not for Edwina. But anyway, to go back to the bee. So in the book there’s amazing bees. So Anthony and Kate are like engaged in a like an angry flirtation for a while. And so this is like maybe 50% of the way through the book, in the book that they kiss and and sort of fondle each other a bit more then in the series they do, which in Bridgerton season two, there is not sex until the last episode.
S4: A big change from the first season.
S2: Yes, exactly. So the bees in the book, they basically are having like yet another sexy argument in a garden and a bee comes and stings her and he freaks out. And basically it’s stomp her on her decolletage somewhere around her breast. And he finds himself absolutely compelled to lower his mouth to the. And try to suck out the venom, quote unquote, even though she’s like, don’t do that, don’t do that, don’t do that. You know, whatever. And this result in them getting busted by both of their mothers and also Mrs. Featherington.
S4: Oh, my gosh. The humiliation and.
S2: Humiliation who comes upon them in the garden and they have to get married. And so much like season one of Bridgerton, the show, the structure of that book ends up being like basically half of the other book is that they’re already married, they’re having a lot of sex and he’s falling in love with her. This doesn’t happen this way in the show. They take the entire episode, sometimes a very long sometimes feels like a very drawn out, which we can talk about. But they take the entire stretch to eventually, like, come to an understanding. But there is a big scene in the show, but it has more to do with them sort of coming closer to understanding that they love each other then then becoming discovered and needing to to get married. She does get stung and basically it sort of sends them into a similar tizzy, but they just end up kind of falling into a closer clinch and they put each other’s hands on each other’s chests. And she calls them down, basically, which I like. But you miss you miss the drama of that, of the books visiting, perhaps.
S4: I do miss the drama, even while I understand where they decided to make this change and why. I think the scene as it is on the show is actually very sweet and very romantic because it’s a moment where Kate gets to see Anthony vulnerable, basically for the first time, where he’s genuinely terrified when she gets stung and she actually takes his hand and places it on her chest. She has a little more agency than in the original scene where he’s like, Well, got to suck on your boob. So it’s intern Sarah Brenner actually interviewed an allergist about this to find out whether sucking the venom out of a bee sting is a good idea. Spoiler alert. It’s not that is not an effective way to treat someone for a bee sting. But I understand why they didn’t want to have such a silly scene. And I understand why they didn’t want to repeat season one, which also has the couple caught in a compromising position and forced to marry. There is a little bit of an underlying tension there, though, because romance as a genre, as a literary genre, is very repetitive. It’s one of its charms. It’s one of the things that people come back to. And so you see this conflict between TV as a medium where you always want to be doing something new, and this genre that is beloved for being predictable and formulaic, and where those two things are positive in a way that is, you know, not acknowledged for a Netflix show.
S2: Yeah, it’s going to be so interesting to see what they do with the next kids. Like if they try to make the next two seasons as radically different from one another structurally as one or two are from each other, I’m curious to see.
S4: I’m curious, too. We do get one compromised position, two marriage pipeline plots in Bridgerton season two, and that has to do with the Featherington family. The other main family of the Tom, the redheads who have suffered greatly, they’re in dire financial straits and last season saw them awaiting the arrival of a distant cousin who was standing to inherit all of their stuff. The women are now totally dependent on the stranger who arrives and is maybe not quite what they were expecting.
S2: Now he’s like a handsome American, kind of.
S4: He’s an American ish American.
S2: And he’s like, he brings like a big gun cabinet and all kinds of like, sort of like Western accoutrements, you know, to put in their house kind of redecorated a little bit, which I kind of was like, well, I don’t know if in 1810 there were actually people thinking about silver mining in the west of the United States, like I don’t think so. But who am I to question Bridgerton’s timeline in this way? Well.
S4: You’re not wrong, because as it turns out, he’s a total fraud. He’s a con man. His gems are all fake. And he’s there, you know, with the aim of finding a rich heiress to marry so that he can do his duty to support the family and also have a little money.
S2: Have a little fun, make a little money. He kind of charms various gentlemen of the tong into giving him money and eventually part way through this, Portia, who is the mother, the parent Featherington knows what he’s doing and collaborates with him and kind of like points him towards different people in the town who might be good kind of mercs for this. And she sort of falls in love with him a little bit or like at the very least, like he is trying to play her for like trying to get her to go along with him and he kind of like seduces her a little bit. But in the course of that, she has not forgotten that she really wants to get her three daughters married. And I believe the second daughter is already married. She gets her. Already by this cousin. And she goes off and gets married. So then we have the older daughter, and then we have Penelope, who we find out at the end of season one is Lady Whistledown, the.
S4: Gossip columnist of the town.
S2: Exactly. But anyway, so Mrs. Featherington basically tracks this cousin into an engagement with the older daughter, Prudence, by setting them up to be seen together in a garden. These gardens are just like hotspot to place in this world.
S4: Go into one. This is the stakes for seeing Petunia are too high. Oh.
S2: Well, the smell of the oranges in the orangery is so beautiful this time of year. And she leads all the other ladies in there to see it. And, of course, what she’s trying to do is get them to see the cousin and prudence together, which does work. And they do get engaged for a little while.
S4: And of course, he’s penniless, so they need to find a new scheme.
S2: I find that father intense, so grating. Like I have a hard time watching their scenes. Do you mind watching that stuff or do you do find some kind of interest in it?
S4: They’re definitely grating, but it’s by design. It’s not by accident. Certainly, you know, they’re tacky and they’re very focused on money in a way that the bridgerton’s don’t have to be because the bridgerton’s are fabulously wealthy. Right. Portia, as Reddington has a little bit of a mrs. Bennett vibe, if we want to go back to Pride and Prejudice, she’s got a bunch of daughters. Her husband now has died, which is Mrs. Bennett’s worst fear, leaving a cousin to inherit. And now their whole livelihoods are dependent on this guy they barely know. And she winds up screwing him over. She, in the end, gets the money she needs and gets him out of their lives, despite what seems to be some attraction. So she’s very fiercely defending her daughter, even though as a personality, you know, she’s she’s a lot to take for sure. And I like that with Penelope as well. We really see the financial motivations behind her being Lady Whistledown. Right. She has a little trust fund under the floorboards in her room that she can use to support herself because she increasingly seems like she may not ever get married. She’s overlooked by just about everyone in society, and that’s what enables her to observe the rest and record it.
S2: Yes, I should say that my blanket distaste for the featherington never includes Penelope. I do like Penelope, of course.
S4: Naturally, I would never have thought so.
S2: I will say that that the last scene that you’re talking about where Portia decides she sort of pulls the rug out from under the cousin and informs him that she is like the game is up and she’s siding with her daughters. That was the first time I ever felt very tense. I think maybe it’s because it’s like the bridgerton’s are so likable. It’s not just that they’re wealthy, it’s that they like. I don’t know if you’ve ever had like a family in your hometown where it’s just like their family just seems really happy and it’s like they like each other, although they get angry at each other and whatever. There’s just like a sort of like a, like a happiness about them. And I and I always want to watch that. Like, I want to see that. But I also I can see how I think the show does a good job sort of showing how someone like Penelope Featherington, who is sort of stuck on the outside of that family, her jealousy is not just about money or I don’t know if it’s explicitly described as jealousy, but like like it’s like she should be bridgerton to be happier that way and perhaps she will be bridgerton in the near future.
S4: Let’s pause our conversation for a moment to take a quick break and then we’ll get back with more bridgerton’s. And we’re back. Since we’re on the subject of the other Bridgerton’s in the Bridgerton family. Let’s talk briefly about what they are all up to while Anthony is having his big love story. Rebecca Which Bridgerton sibling are you most excited to talk about?
S2: Okay, so I have an affection for Benedict. So during this this season, while he’s waiting around for his romance to come along, he’s going to art school, and he’s he discovers at the end of the season that Anthony paid for him to get this spot of art school. And he’s very heartbroken about it. But he shouldn’t be because he’s a good artist. But he also reveals himself to be very a sensitive supporter of his siblings. He’s like Eloise as friends of the brother, as he’s probably like her biggest ally. He says the right thing to Anthony on several occasions. So I can’t wait to see him fall in love. I know that people are excited about Colin. If the books are to be believed and the much the many foreshadowing are to be believed is going to end up with Penelope, each other written. He said so many mean things about her this season. And in fact, the last the very last episode, he says a really cruel thing about her to his friends that she over here. And I think the show is going to have a lot to do to sort of repair people’s good feelings about him. Of course, I want to see what they do with Alawis, the political radical of the group.
S4: Oh, Louise, I don’t know what to make of her. The writers seem to be hitting me over the head with a copy of The Feminine Mystique every time she talks. She is just a walking feminism, but in a way that I just find really grating. I just wish they’d given her a little more humanity. She does have more to do this season because she’s out in society for the first time and she’s chafing at the expectations that go along with it. In her pursuit of trying to find out who Lady Whistledown is. She finds a little path for herself. She dabbles in some political radicalism. She flirts with someone who is working at a print shop and is therefore below her station. I think I would find all of this more compelling if I hadn’t already seen it on Downton Abbey done better. She’s giving Sybil Crawley vibes. I also think that this comes back again to the problem with adaptation of such a beloved series, which is that I find myself almost not paying attention to the other bridgerton’s because I don’t trust the writers to make daring changes. I trust them to follow the books. And so everything feels like they’re just biding their time, right? I’ve read Louise’s book. I know who she ends up with. I would be very pleasantly surprised if the writers deviate from it and give her a new path. But I am not sure that that’s where we’re headed.
S2: Well, since we’re on a spoiler special, I can say that we see the man in this series Season two, Colin goes to visit Marina Thompson, who viewers of Season one will remember as the visitor to the Featherington, too. They almost get married, and then it’s revealed that she was pregnant and she’s kind of tracking him into it so they don’t get married. She marries the guy who in the book series always is going to marry once. So when Colin goes to visit her in season two, we see the actor who plays Philip Klein is supposedly Louise’s, you know.
S4: Guy intended.
S2: He’s not that cute. And I just don’t think that they’re going to hang a series on him.
S4: Wow. Disagree? Yeah, I think he’s very cute. Here’s my problem with Eloise and with Marina Thompson. There is a pact that romance authors and readers enter into, and that is the happy ending. It is the most important part of the genre. In fact, the romance writers of America in their definition of what it means to write a romance novel. One is there is a central love story. Two is there’s a happy ending. It is non-negotiable. And this is really a problem for a TV show because TV is a medium that resists endings, let alone happy ones. So. I think that in the books, Marina Thompson is much less of a character. She’s more you know, in the past, she’s already died by the time we enter this family’s life, because the show has turned her into, if not the heroine, then a heroine. Right. She’s a very sympathetic back story. Her lover died while she was pregnant. She entered into this marriage with his brother out of honor. I mean, that’s a very romantic setup. And as a romance reader, I’m primed to expect a happy ending for her. And it makes me very nervous to think that we may be headed in the direction of the books, where she’s going to live a loveless marriage and then die to make way for someone else. I’m not a fan.
S2: You make a really good point. Yeah, Marina is very much more sympathetic. In fact, in the book they always book she dies basically like she’s depressed and to commit suicide. And it’s just like, that’s mean. Like, don’t do that. Please don’t do that to Nice Marina, who we met in season one, who.
S4: We’ve come to know.
S2: You know, it doesn’t seem that way. But anyway, speaking of a happy ending, I feel like we should talk about it a little bit more. The Internet is alive with Kate, and Anthony stands excited by every breath they encounter and in.
S4: So many bird encounters. It’s very funny how many times this couple winds up almost kissing, but not quite, and they just sort of breathe into each other’s mouths. You got some very sexy dialogue and some great tension out of it. At one point, Anthony says, Oh, the things I could teach you, which is a very good line. But after the third or fourth time, I did find myself looking at my watch like, okay, let’s let’s wrap this up. You have to kiss eventually. You can’t keep breathing into each other’s mouths. Do people use toothpaste in this era? Like, what’s the situation?
S2: Yeah. I remember when I first was watching the series Screeners, and I got to the end of episode six, which is the episode where Edwina and Anthony almost get married and the Queen has set up the space between has an investment in her getting married to someone fancy because she’s picked her as the diamonds and they get all the way to the altar. And the queen has, like, orchestrated this entire wedding and ordered all the cakes and all the orders and like the living statues and the peacocks and like, all the things for it. And then, as it turns out, Anthony cannot stop staring at Kate, who is like, at the altar with them behind. And Nina is wearing the full bride looking absolutely gorgeous. But then Kate is like wearing one of her purple dresses, which she looks amazing and kind of like looking at it a bit, giving him one of these hot looks that they exchange. And so Edwina runs away from the altar, basically. And see, episode six is basically sort of her running away from the altar and then trying to figure out what’s going to happen now. And at the end of it, I thought to myself, how are we going to have two more episodes? Like what is what is possibly going to happen? And of course what is going to happen is that first Anthony and then Kate and then Kate and then Daisy, you’re going to go back and forth going, I don’t deserve love. I do deserve love. Oh.
S4: There’s a very funny line from Edwina in those last two episodes where there are ostensibly no obstacles left Anthony and Kate getting together other than, you know, social scorn of having Anthony and Edwin as a match broken up where Edwina catches them doing one of their, like sniffing at each other, gazing into each other’s eyes, moments. And she’s like, Was that truly that blind? Because they’re incredibly unsubtle.
S2: Yeah, they do a thing where the actors lean towards each other like they’re like planets with, like, a gravity problem that are, like, about to collide. Yeah, it’s just like, there’s just so many instances where that’s happened in a drawing room and you’re, like, amazed that nobody’s seen anything. So this line is kind of funny. So I guess one of the obstacles that needs to be overcome is that Edwina needs to soften a little bit or like because basically after everything comes out and she knows that her sister and her intended have been in love with each other, she like has a giant realization about it in episode six. She’s really angry. And this is a difference from the book because in the book Edwina says, Oh, well, like it’s it’s fine. I’ll just marry a scholar. And that’s sort of what I wanted anyway. But in the show she’s like furious at her sister for not having said anything and for not telling her about the whole like, inheritance thing with the Sheffield’s and just generally not being what she sees as forthcoming with her. So I guess you could say that in episode seven and eight there needs to be some kind of rapprochement between the sisters, otherwise it’s not going to feel right about it. And that comes of course, it falls off her horse. He needs to have a crisis where she almost dies. She gets a head injury that I’m sure is not treated well in like the medicine at the time. And then she ends up recovering, of course. And, you know, Edwina sort of says, you know, it’s the classic, you know, you almost die with this unresolved and let’s resolve it basically. And she forgives her. And that sort of clears the way.
S4: Clears the way for her and Anthony. Yes. This was a very dramatic accident that Kate has that I thought was funny because it is so melodramatic. And she’s basically in a coma afterward. And I mean, I appreciate that they’re amping up the drama. I think that that’s what’s needed at that stage. And I also think that Jonathan Bailey gives an amazing performance. There’s a scene where his mother, Anthony’s mother, Violet, comes into the room to let him know that Kate has finally woken up. And he goes through so many different emotions just in his face alone, where he’s like fighting back tears. He’s pushing back a smile. He buries his face in his hands. Just a really remarkable performance that grounds what is otherwise, I think, a kind of ludicrous plot.
S2: I love that scene, too, because the relationship between Anthony and his mom is very sweet. And in the book, she’s like a little bit more sort of like society focused, and she kind of is trying to make things happen in a certain way, maybe especially with Daphne and Chloe’s, but in the show, she’s like, she’s just like really worried about his emotions and she’s worried that she must him up by reacting the way that she did to her husband’s death, which is like a very sad idea to me, surprisingly sort of like deep motivation for this family, for this kind of show, which is sort of ridiculous. But I have to also mention that one of my favorite scenes in season two is in episode seven, which is when the Charm and the Bridgerton and Lady Danbury, who’s sort of the shaman’s sponsor and in Edwina season coming out, they decide to hold a ball to try to sort of like show everybody in the town that they’re fine with what has happened with the marriage, the marriage, the wedding falling apart. And in the end, nobody comes to the ball because Lady Whistledown has exposed Louise as a sympathizer with political radicals. So there’s this like scene where a classic society snub scene where the Bridgerton’s have prepared all of this food and everything is like set up for a ball. They have the musicians and everything and nobody comes. And instead of just going home, they decide to dance. And it’s like, very sweet. I don’t know why I love it so much. Like, it just seemed like they were going back to the way that the show sort of shows that bridgerton’s as being happy with each other. And it also is a good moment for Anthony to show why Kate loves Anthony in a way. He’s the one who says like, Let’s dance anyway. And he gets the younger Bridgerton’s to come downstairs and dance with them. And so they end up having like this, like like it’s an embarrassing situation when you throw a ball and it becomes but basically he sort of turns it into like a moment of bonding for them.
S4: I think that’s one of the strengths of the show as a whole and a secret to its success, which is that, you know, as outrageous and over-the-top as some of these plot points can be, there is a lovely humanity underneath, and the family is a big part of that. I mean, it’s called bridgerton for a reason, as much as each character gets their own love story. Fundamentally, they do have the family to fall back on and the lovely relationships related to that. I am already very excited for seasons three and four of Bridgerton, which they’ve already put in order for. Plus, there’s going to be a prequel series about Queen Charlotte. So we are going to have lots more bridgerton ahead. Season two leaves off with Louise discovering that her friend Penelope is Lady Whistledown, who just exposed her to the public ridicule of having been a political radical. Now, of course, Penelope did that to save Louise because Louise was suspected of being Lady Whistledown, but Louise sure was mad. So we’ll have to tune in in the next couple of seasons to see how this is going to resolve.
S2: I can’t wait. I mean, I know this show was ridiculous in a lot of ways, but I have not felt so swept up in anything for a long time. There’s a particular effect that it has on you where you just kind of lie there, letting it wash over you.
S4: I’m looking forward to spoiling it with you again.
S2: I can’t wait. Thanks so much.
S4: That’s our show. Please subscribe to the Slate Spoiler special podcast. And if you like the show, great review in the Apple Podcast Store or wherever you get your podcasts. If you have suggestions for movies or TV shows we should spoil. Or if you have any other feedback you’d like to share, please send it to. Spoilers at Slate.com. Our producer is Jasmine Ellis, the executive producer of podcast. That Sleep is Alicia montgomery. For Rebecca Onion, I’m Marissa Martinelli. Thanks for listening.