Fellow members of the ton, our wait is over. The second season of Bridgerton has finally dropped onto Netflix! This season focuses on the older child Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) as he navigates the ton searching for the perfect wife. But the head of the family isn’t leading this quest with his heart, but rather a list of unobtainable qualifications. In the first episode, “Capital R Rake,” we get a front-row seat to the return of the marriage season and a plethora of drama. Let’s not waste any more time and dive in!

DISCLAIMER: It goes without saying that this recap will contain spoilers for Bridgerton; if you haven’t watched it, check out the series here!

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Return of the Ton

“Capital R Rake” kicks off as we are welcomed back to Regency London! Daphne (Pheobe Dynevor) arrives home to find her mother, Lady Violet (Ruth Gemmell) and her siblings hiding outside of Eloise’s (Claudia Jessie) room. It seems we have just arrived for her official debut and she looks like she would rather be anywhere but here. Maybe those feathers can be used to fly her away.

At the castle, Queen Charolette (Golda Rosheuvel) and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) discuss the need for a truly fantastic Diamond of the First Water. How are they going to follow up after Daphne’s season? But that isn’t the only thing weighing heavy on the Queen. It seems that Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews) has been quiet since the end of last season. This makes the Queen and Lady Danbury believe that the writer must be one of the ton. It seems the Queen’s mission to uncover the gossiper is back on!

We then jump to the Featherington household where Lady Portia (Polly Walker) and her daughters have still not met the new Lord Featherington. Without him or a dowry, everyone’s plans seem to be at a standstill. Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) appears to have other things on her mind as she keeps her eyes on the street below.

“Capital R Rake” comes full circle back to the Bridgertons where Lady Violet, Daphne, Franchesca (Ruby Stokes) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt) provide Eloise with some advice on dealing with the Queen. Smile. Don’t trip. No hysterics. Got it. In another carriage, Anthony brings Benedict (Luke Thompson) and Gregory (Will Tilston) up to speed on his plans to find a wife this season. No feelings, just the list. Tolerable, dutiful, suitable hips for childbearing and at least half a brain. How hard can his search be?

Let the showing of the ladies begin! Eloise tries to convince her mom to let her escape while wishing Penelope were here. On the other side of town, Penelope finally spots the delivery boy and the official return of Lady Whistledown begins. This happily coincides with Eloise’s turn in front of the Queen and she is waved off before she can make a full of herself. Talk about perfect timing! And yes, Lady Whistledown, we missed you.

As Lady Whistledown kicks off her first gossip page of the season, we see precisely how Penelope manages to accomplish her task. This includes sneaking away from parties, dressing and acting the part of a maid and visiting a printer to haggle prices. And while it might seem like a lot of stress for gossip, it appears that Penelope has been making quite a bit of money doing it. Cuts to the Queen and Lady Danbury has Lady Whistledown challenges her to name the season’s diamond. Nothing like throwing the challenge into the ring.

Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) in Bridgerton Season Two.

Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) in Bridgerton Season Two. Image courtesy of Netflix.

The Hunt for the Perfect Match

Back at the Bridgerton household, Eloise is practicing her dancing (two left feet just like us) when Anthony drops by to chat about Colin (Luke Newton) adding more stops to his trip and going over his plans for the season. Those plans seem to include his mother’s engagement ring. Everyone seems to think that someone caught his eye, but Anthony hasn’t even found someone yet! He just wants to be prepared.

“Capital R Rake” gives us a montage of Anthony’s “interviews” and none of them seems to be going well. But those aren’t the only things he needs to deal with. Just being Viscount requires a lot of his time as he manages his family and other recreational activities. It’s busy being the head of the household.

While on his way home one early morning, he spots a rider in the park going way too fast. That rider is none other than Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), who manages to beat him in a race. No real introductions occur, but we can see how this encounter seems to have changed his entire mood. The banter between these two was everything we had been waiting for!

At Lady Danbury’s home, Mary Sharma (Shelley Conn) and Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran) try to buy sometime before telling Lady Danbury that Kate has disappeared this morning. Thankfully, Kate pops in just in time with Newton on her tail. It seems that Lady Danbury will be sponsoring Kate and Edwina for this season as a favor to Lady Mary. Lady Danbury has provided instructors for them, but Kate has spent Edwina’s entire life preparing her for her debut season because the only goal here is to get the younger sister married.

“Capital R Rake” cuts to Eloise and Penelope waking their way through the market discussing the upcoming season. We learn that Colin and Penelope have been keeping in contact, but she doesn’t go into great detail about what. However, the real thing here is how Eloise doesn’t seem to be a fan of Lady Whistledown anymore and sees her as just another writer wasting her time gossiping about the ton. We worry about what will happen when she realizes that she is standing right next to the mysterious woman.

At the Featherington household, things don’t seem to be getting any better. They are broke. So broke that they are eating just potatoes, can’t buy new dresses and poor Phillipa (Harriet Cains) doesn’t have a dowry to marry the man she is promised to. Lady Portia reminds everyone that once the new Lord Featherington arrives, he will make good on Phillipa’s dowery, but the others should be worried. If they aren’t promised to someone, he might just send them off the Cornwall.

Across town, Kate and Edwina prepare for Lady Danbury’s ball and their introduction to the ton. Edwina is worried that their parents’ scandal years ago will put her in a bad light and cause her mother pain. But Kate doesn’t want her to worry and just focus on finding herself her true love. She really is all about getting Edwina married and happy just a day after arriving in London.

Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina (Charithra Chandran) in Bridgerton Season Two.

Kate (Simone Ashley) and Edwina (Charithra Chandran) in Bridgerton Season Two. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Let’s Dance

And halfway through the first episode of season two, we have arrived at our first ball! Lady Danbury and Kate butt heads over the perfect prospect for Edwina before the Queen gives quite the brush off to Lady Mary and her daughters. Soon after, the older Bridgertons arrive with a reluctant Eloise, who Benedict happily whisks away before she can be thrown to the wolves. Anything, however, isn’t as lucky and has to watch in horror as his mother announces to the entire ton that he is in search of a wife. Let the games begin.

As the party continues, we hear whispers of Lady Sharma’s scandal, an awkward conversation between Lady Portia and the Finchs and a plethora of ladies swarming Anthony for a dance. Kate almost lets on that she has already met him and Edwina seems smitten with him. As Edwina is whisked off for a dance, Lady Danbury reminds Kate that she doesn’t know everything about the ton.

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“Capital R Rake” swaps to Penelope, who is listening in on two waiters chatting away about a scandal, and we can see where she gets her Lady Whistledown information. But before she can listen more, Eloise shows up to try and hide with her. She even went as far as writing fake names on her dance card to get out of having to spend time on the floor. But fake names won’t keep her from being dragged around by her dear old mother.

Back in the ballroom, Kate keeps to the crowd while watching Anthony dance with yet another young lady. When it doesn’t seem to be going well, he excuses himself and heads outside to chat with a few other gentlemen. They all seem happy that marriage-minded moms won’t pressure them with Anthony on the market. Anthony shares his list with them while Kate is hiding behind a bush down on the walk and overhears it.

And just when she thinks she got away without being seen, she kicks a pot and Anthony finds her. Let the banter begin! Pleasing smiles aside, it doesn’t seem that Kate is charmed by Anthony’s declarations about finding a wife. We can’t blame her here. The guy is looking for a unicorn and is mad that none of the girls in there meet his requirements. Unicorns don’t exist, Anthony!

Back inside, Penelope prepares to sneak out when Eloise catches her and thwarts her plans to play Lady Whistledown’s maid. Penelope might have to come up with other plans for her Lady Whistledown business. In the ballroom, Kate rushes up on Lady Danbury and Lady Violet to inform her they are leaving. No asking permission, just up and leaving. Kate is angry and we can only guess who might be to blame for that. It seems that Lady Danbury will have her hands full this season.

“Capital R Rake” cuts to Penelope, who has returned home after the ball. It seems she has missed her chance to visit the printer shop, but she won’t let that stop her. Penelope sneaks out and pays the printer extra for rush delivery for her mistress. Penelope has her math down pat and I wonder how much she has made with her gossip papers. Side note, we absolutely love Coughlan’s use of her Irish accent. It’s perfect!

Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate (Simone Ashley) in Bridgerton season two.

Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate (Simone Ashley) in Bridgerton Season Two. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Regency Dating Fails

As Lady Whistledown narrates what sweet success feels like, we get a glimpse at a worn-out Anthony tossing away Siena’s (Sabrina Bartlett) latest show’s pamphlet and then the Queen declaring that she won’t be rushed into a choice on the diamond. But, it seems like Lady Whistledown’s words are starting to get to her. But who would she pick? Who would live up to her expectations and the Tons?

Back at the Bridgerton household, Eloise suffers through a little Regency date before he dips off to play marbles with Gregory and Hyacinth. It seems like his childish pursuits aren’t appealing to Eloise. Over at Lady Danbury’s home, Kate is watching over Edwina’s Regency dates like a hawk. Her interfering isn’t going unnoticed and that might just be Edwina’s downfall this season.

The morning of terrible dates continues at the Featherington house, where no dates occur. Penelope is busy listening to the others highlight Lady Whistledown’s latest gossip when she overhears her mother talking about selling the candlesticks with Varley (Lorraine Ashbourne). She is clearly making a pretty penny with her gossip sheet, but would she be willing to help her family? She would have to admit where she got the money and I doubt they would be okay with her continuing her role as Lady Whistledown.

“Capital R Rake” returns to the Bridgerton household, where Madame Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale) is helping prepare Eloise’s next dress. This, of course, leads her mother to nag her about trying to enjoy the balls. Violet makes the mistake of comparing her to Daphne, which essentially shuts Eloise down completely. Instead, Eloise turns the argument onto Anthony, who isn’t any closer to choosing a wife. We also glimpse a somewhat awkward situation between Benedict and Madame Delacroix. It seems that their relationship from last season is history.

This leads to a bit of brother banter between Anthony and Benedict before Anthony tries to rush out. But Violet is hot on his heels, wanting to know his thoughts on the ladies he has met. Spoiler alert – he hated them. He is after perfection and isn’t willing to settle on someone who doesn’t meet his qualifications. We have to agree with Violet; he will end up alone and most likely miserable if she doesn’t ease up.

At the Featherington household, Prudence (Bessie Carter) pops into Penelope’s room for the simple reason of just bothering her. She spots that Penelope has been writing to Colin, which draws the attention of Portia. Of course, she has nothing nice to say about their friendship and tells her daughter to get a new hobby. Portia then tries to see if she can sell off her books. Books! Get this woman out of here!

Penelope isn’t the only one getting a lecture this evening. At Lady Danbury’s home, Kate’s little lies are coming to the surface. And not just the early morning horse ride. It turns out that the reason the Sharma’s returned to England was so that Edwina could marry an Englishman of nobility and Mary’s parents would provide for the dowry and take care of Mary. Kate isn’t doing it for her own selfish reasons, though. She wants to make sure that Edwina never has to suffer and that Mary is well cared for. She won’t tell Edwina because she wants to give her the chance to find love on her own.

Kate (Simone Ashley) in Bridgerton Season Two.

Kate (Simone Ashley) in Bridgerton Season Two. Image courtesy of Netflix.

The New Diamond

“Capital R Rake” shifts to the Queen’s ball, where everyone is in attendance. The Queen takes a quick jab at Lady Mary (she never forgets a slight against her), but Lady Danbury tries to smooth things over. We wonder if it will be enough. On the other hand, Eloise seems to be making a great impression on the Queen. Emeralds anyone?

Eloise doesn’t take her newfound position well and tries to get Penelope to sneak away with her. But not before ripping into Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen). Outside, Penelope gives all the highlights of being a wallflower at the balls. The conversation shifts to Lady Whistledown and Eloise opens up about how her writing just reminds her that she can never live up to Daphne and knows that everyone is comparing them. Penelope, however, feels like no one in the room notices her, but she much rather prefers it that way.

Inside, the Queen makes the announcement we have all been waiting for. This season’s diamond is none other than Edwina Sharma. Talk about shaking things up! This catches everyone’s eye, including Anthony’s. This leads to a dance between the two while Kate and Lady Danbury plan what is to come next. While they plot, Anthony questions Edwina and it is clear that all of her answers are more than agreeable. When he makes the jump to talk with her father, he learns that he needs to win over her sister instead. And that sister is Kate Sharma.

As “Capital R Rake” comes to a close, Anthony decides that Edwina is to be his wife while Kate makes a stand against allowing Edwina to see him and the Featheringtons arrive home to meet the new Lord Featherington (Rupert Young). Before the credits can roll, Lady Whistledown shakes things up one more time by denouncing the choice to name a diamond. It seems that Eloise is a greater inspiration on Lady Whistledown than she knows.

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What a way for Bridgerton to return! This season’s stakes are high, with Anthony needing the perfect wife and Kate needing Edwina to marry to support their mother financially. But, there are a lot of secrets brewing about and we know that they don’t stay quiet for long. Especially with Lady Whistledown back and ready for action. Anthony and Kate already have great banter chemistry and we are excited to see just how the rest of this season will play out!

Let’s not waste any more time here! It’s time for episode two!

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Julia Roth
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