March 20, 2022
At long last, it is finally time to return to the world of Bridgerton for another season of elaborate balls, steamy romance, and, of course, hot-off-the-press gossip in Regency-era England — and this time, dear reader, a new family is joining the ton. “I yearn for someone fresh, someone unexpected, to turn this season on its head. That is what we need,” says Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) in the first episode of the latest installment of the hit series, which premieres on Netflix on March 25. “There is no room for indifference. Apathy is a blight the monarchy simply cannot endure.”
The answer to the Queen’s request is the Sharma family.
Arriving from India, the headstrong Kate Sharma (Sex Education’s Simone Ashley) and her mother Lady Mary Sharma (Good Omen’s Shelley Conn) are on a mission to find a suitable match for her beautiful younger sister, Edwina Sharma (Alex Rider’s Charithra Chandran). Before I go on, a moment of appreciation for this absolutely fire trio, featuring three British actors of South Asian descent in a genre dominated by all-white casts. OK, let’s continue.
The Sharmas, originally just the Sheffields in Julia Quinn’s The Viscount Who Loved Me, catch the attention of Anthony, the eldest Bridgerton son, who is determined to fulfill his familial duty and find the perfect wife. Uninterested in a love match, he approaches the marriage market in a manner befitting Seema Aunty, aiming to find a woman who is “tolerable, dutiful, [with] suitable enough hips for childbearing, and at least half a brain.” And when the Queen dubs Edwina this season’s diamond, Anthony is convinced that he’s found his future wife — but first, he must win over her fiercely protective sister, Kate. You can see where this is going.
The resulting season is a predictably fun romp of lavish sets, intricate costumes, and burning will-they-won’t-they sexual tension. The show weaves thoughtful nods to Indian culture throughout like easter eggs for an audience eager to see themselves reflected on screen, and Ashley rightly steals every scene she graces. Yet, for all these wins, Bridgerton Season 2 still doesn’t feel entirely satisfying.