The final episode of Bridgerton Season 2 (“The Viscount Who Loved Me”), written by Jess Brownell and directed by Cheryl Dunye, has so much to get through that even a super-sized seventy minutes isn’t enough time to do all these characters and stories justice. For instance, we blow right through whatever Benedict feels about Anthony making a large donation to the royal art school to secure Benedict’s place there. Benedict is generally the most chill of the Bridgertons, but even so he is remarkably forgiving, given the way Anthony’s donation obviously undercuts his confidence in himself. Similarly, Colin discovering the truth of Cousin Jack’s scheme is handled just as hastily, and I wish we had more time to watch Colin unraveling the truth. He’s been searching for a purpose all season, why not tie that to his investigation into Cousin Jack? It’s something for him to do! It also could have better integrated Will Mondrich and his new club into the larger story, but that whole subplot literally popped up in just the final two hours of the season.
And just as Colin’s storyline burns out quickly, so, too, does the resolution to Kate and Anthony’s story. It’s not even about the sex scenes—though, I am sure plenty of people will complain about the lack of them—it’s that after all this angst and drama, we get virtually no time to just enjoy Kate and Anthony as a happy couple. Daphne and Simon at least had their “honeymoon episode” before their drama flared up again, but Kate and Anthony get only a brief moment before a game of Pall Mall to be the amazing(ly competitive) couple they are. It’s just a bit deflating after all the buildup to have so little payoff. Romances are, ultimately, about the happy ending, but the happy ending here is almost blink and you’ll miss it.
Another missed opportunity comes when Kate and Lady Mary reconcile before the Featherington ball. We finally get a reckoning of how Kate confused obligation and love in the wake of her parents’ deaths, and again, I wish this had been teased out more thoroughly throughout the season. On one side, you have Kate denying her feelings because she feels she owes Mary, and that (somehow) translates into ensuring the best for Edwina at any cost. On the other side, is Anthony turning himself inside out trying to fill the void left by his father—something Violet, at least, finally realizes—but what is missing is the sense that these two parallel responses to children losing a parent is the thread tying Kate and Anthony together. It’s not just their physical attraction, it’s that they share a particular experience that allows them to better understand one another, in a way that perhaps no one else can. Yet we don’t get any of that, there’s no thematic consistency driving the story of Kate and Anthony.
It’s not a total loss, though. Lady Featherington sending Cousin Jack packing is fun—though I am unclear on whether or not Colin lost his money, and multiple rewinds didn’t settle it—and the fight between Eloise and Penelope is devastating. Another reason to wish the pacing of these final episodes was better is to give more room to the confrontation between Eloise and Pen when Eloise discovers Penelope is Lady Whistledown. It’s a horrible, painful fight to watch, it really feels like the worst kind of friend breakup, and their respective hurt is palpable. This is a GREAT scene, tremendously acted by Claudia Jessie and Nicola Coughlan, I just wish it had more space within the episode because this falling out is going to have significant repercussions, there’s no way it won’t, and it deserves to take up more story space and breathe, to really let us sit with the destruction of this friendship, as bad a breakup as Bridgerton has ever seen.
In fact, it seems the Bridgertons are now doomed to be on the wrong side of Lady W’s pen. The queen may have pulled their bacon out of the fire—or however that saying goes—by taking credit for the scuttled wedding, but between Eloise’s harsh words to Penelope, and Colin’s thoughtlessly cruel disregard for her feelings, it seems certain Lady W will no longer go so easy on the Bridgertons. Not that exposing Marina Thompson or Eloise was “going easy”, but really the only time Lady W targeted the Bridgertons was to save them from some worse scandal, and I cannot think that will be the case going forward. It makes one wonder how the events of Benedict’s season, coming up next, will unfold, given that the most laid back of the Bridgertons is the one who courts the greatest scandal of them all. In conclusion, gentle readers, someone PLEASE introduce Edwina to that nice Prussian prince!
Sarah Marrs is a film critic and the deputy editor of LaineyGossip.com, and a programmer for the Chicago Critics Film Festival. She also has bylines at Pajiba, SYFY Fangrrls, and Consequence of Sound. She can be yelled at on Twitter @Cinesnark. Sometimes she goes places and does things.