Netflix’s ‘Bridgerton’ returns in season 2 with more glittering scandals and precarious romances in Regent-era London high society inspired by Julia Quinn’s novels. This time around, the eldest Bridgerton sibling, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), is on a mission to find a suitable match. Instead, he finds a fitting rival in the newly arrived, equally headstrong, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley).
Meanwhile, Queen Charlotte hatches her own plans to uncover the identity of the notorious Lady Whistledown even as the cheeky raconteur begins to question the very ceremonies the Ton religiously follows. ‘Bridgerton’ season 2 brings us cartloads of what makes us love the show, so let’s dive into its opulent gilded depths and untangle the tumultuous romances at its heart. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Bridgerton Season 2 Recap
Season 2 opens with the Viscount, Anthony Bridgerton, on a mission to find himself a suitable bride. On his list of requirements for the new Lady Bridgerton — who is to be charming, sociable, have childbearing hips, and a modicum of intelligence — the matter of love doesn’t even feature. When Edwina Sharma, a young lady from Bombay being hosted by Lady Danbury, is picked as the season’s diamond by the Queen, Anthony feels like he has found his ideal match.
However, as the Viscount puts it, every rose has its thorn, and in this case, the thorn is Edwina’s prickly elder sister, Kate Sharma. A spinster by choice and fiercely protective of Edwina, Kate takes an instant dislike to Anthony’s entitled, slightly chauvinistic worldview. Things get increasingly combative when Anthony continues to pursue Edwina while Kate, realizing Anthony is marrying out of a sense of duty and not love, becomes all the more adamant about stopping their courtship.
Of course, neither Anthony nor Kate count on falling in love with each other, and matters get truly scandalous when Edwina and Anthony get engaged even while the latter is tortured by feelings for his bride-to-be’s elder sister. A truly disastrous wedding ensues, climaxing with Edwina finally realizing the real romance that is afoot and leaving Anthony at the altar.
Meanwhile, Eloise is summoned by the Queen and given a secret assignment to uncover the identity of Lady Whisltedown. Unbeknownst to the young Bridgerton, her best friend Penelope Featherington is the notorious gossip pamphlet writer. Unfortunately, Eloise then becomes a suspect herself, and in an attempt to save her, Penelope (as Whistledown) publishes a particularly scathing piece about the Bridgertons, accusing Eloise of fraternizing with political radicals.
Bridgerton Season 2 Ending: Do Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma Get Together?
The season 2 finale opens with the Bridgerton and Sharma families both feeling the brunt of the Ton’s judgemental gaze. No one shows up at the ball hosted by the families even as the Featheringtons — enriched by Lord Jack Featherington’s underhanded scheme of pushing fake rubies — throw the season’s closing ball. The Queen attends (as do Anthony and Kate), and seeing the couple so deeply in love, grants them the approval of the matriarch, restoring the families’ standing in society. Elsewhere, darker stories brew as Eloise, finally realizing that Penelope is Lady Whistledown, breaks her friendship with the latter and leaves her bitter and tearful.
Season 2 closes six months on from the events of the wedding season, with the Bridgertons, Sharmas, and Lady Danbury collected at Aubrey Hall. Having returned from their travels together, Kate and Anthony are well and truly in love and do not need to hide their feelings anymore. The healthy rivalry that has marked their dynamic from the start remains, which becomes apparent in the closing scenes where the two families join together in a game of pall mall.
And so, much as was the case with his sister Daphne, Anthony Bridgerton ends up with the one he loves instead of the bride that society pushes him towards. Kate, too, against all the odds and even her own plans, finally accepts the man she comes to love. Interestingly, it is Edwina who finally pushes Kate and Anthony to be together, and the two are last seen madly in love and unable to keep their hands off each other.
From the fleeting conversation in the closing moments of season 2, it is revealed that Anthony and Kate are now married and have spent the last six months traveling. Though that doesn’t seem long enough for them to make a trip to Kate’s native India, their journey certainly seems to have brought the two even closer. It is also heartening to see that their argumentative dynamic — of the two being continually “vexed” by the other — is also strongly present in their relationship.
Has Lady Whistledown Stopped Writing?
Season 2 also deals a heavy blow to one of the show’s most iconic characters — Lady Whistledown. At the end of season 1, it is revealed that the cheeky gossip writer is none other than the relatively unnoticed Penelope Featherington. However, her identity remains known to few others, the notable exception being the Modiste owner, Madame Delacroix, who begins helping Penelope deliver her rough notes to the printers.
Penelope’s otherwise smooth publishing process, which has kept her secondary identity undiscovered all this time, is shaken up when her best friend, Eloise, gets involved in uncovering the identity of Lady Whistledown. Things come to a head when Eloise herself becomes a suspect, and the Queen threatens to ruin the Bridgertons if the young girl doesn’t start siding with the crown. Penelope is then put in the uncomfortable position of having to save her friend by publishing distasteful news about her.
Thus, the last Whistledown pamphlet of the season (falsely) claims that Eloise is involved with political radicals, which is why the Bridgertons’ ball remains unattended. Destroying her friend’s reputation — coupled with Eloise’s frequent critiques of how Whistledown covers only the shallow proceedings of high society while ignoring real issues women face — pushes Penelope to stop writing her popular pamphlet altogether.
The season 2 finale sees Penelope being rejected by Eloise as a friend, causing her incredible sadness at losing her only friend. To make things worse, Penelope then overhears Colin, who she has a bit of a crush on, telling his friends that he would never consider courting her. Heartbroken and alone, the jilted youngest Featherington picks up the quill again and closes the season by resuming penning her acidic pamphlet.
And so, Lady Whistledown perseveres! After a gap of nearly two weeks that has the Ton getting jittery at their lack of printed gossip, the show’s iconic narrator and provider of scandalous gossip is back. Of course, it remains to be seen whether Eloise reveals the identity to Whistledown or keeps the explosive secret about her former best friend under wraps. Interestingly, for all her efforts to uncover and stamp out Whistledown, even the Queen seems to miss the columnist, and there is no doubt that the writer will come back bolder than ever, her quill considerably sharpened by heartbreak.