Bridgerton from Shonda Rhimes brings Regency-era London to life on Netflix. The series is based on Julia Quinn‘s best-selling series of the same name. The first season is based on the events of her novel, The Duke and I. The series promises us romance and quite a bit of scandal as the eight Bridgerton siblings find their happily ever afters. In the season finale “After the Rain”, Simon and Daphne must decide if their love is worth fighting for and others will learn that your heart can break more than once.
It goes without saying that this recap will contain spoilers for Bridgerton; if you haven’t watched it, check out the series here!
“After the Rain” opens as Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews) discusses how no one in London, even herself, is truly privy to what one’s marriage is like behind closed doors. They could be thrilled and filled with love. Or there could be doubt and betrayal. What lies ahead for those matches that took place this year is still up in the air. Though she certainly plans on trying to uncover what is hidden behind closed doors.
Simon (Regé-Jean Page) and Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) are posing while Henry Gravill (Julian Ovenden) paints their portrait. Now that they know Daphne is not pregnant, Simon plans on leaving London as soon as possible. Daphne requests that he stay until the end of the season (which is only a few days), so they might avoid scandalous claims about their marriage. Simon agrees to that and to attend the Hastings ball seeing as he really has no choice in the matter. Looking to bring the two closer together for the portrait, Henry asks Simon to place his hand on Daphne’s shoulder. Upon contact, it is clear that the two still care deeply for each other, if only they can find a way to get past their current issues.
At the Bridgerton house, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) is questioning Benedict (Luke Thompson) on Genevieve Delacroix’s (Kathryn Drysdale) interests and what places she might visit. Benedict thinks Eloise disapproves of his relationship with the modiste, upset that she, of all people, would look down on her simply because she is a woman with a job. Eloise decides not to confide in him that she believes Genevieve to be Lady Whistledown. Lady Violet (Ruth Gemmell) shares with the family that Franchesca (Ruby Stokes) will finally be returning home and has missed quite a bit.
At the Featherington household, Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) finds Marina (Ruby Barker) packing her things. Now that she is no longer with child, her tea concoction taking care of that, she can finally return home. She apologizes for everything including all the pain she has caused and hopes that Penelope can forgive her one day. During their conversation, a surprise caller arrives at the house.
While out at the flower market, Daphne discusses her and Simon’s choice to live separately with her mother. Lady Violet believes the two should try and forgive each other to move on and strengthen their bond. However, Daphne finds it hard to forgive a man who would rather hold a grudge than allow himself to be truly happy. Before Lady Violet can further discuss this choice, they are approached by Lady Portia (Polly Walker). She shares how upset her daughters are that they did not receive an invitation to the Hastings ball. While Lady Violet has no issues telling the woman no, Daphne chooses to invite them, sharing that she wishes to forgive the family for the past.
Daphne then overhears that a caller named Sir Crane has arrived at the Featherington house and returns home with them. However, it is not Sir George Crane that is awaiting them. It is his brother Sir Philip Crane (Chris Fulton) instead. His brother George died fighting in Spain a few weeks prior. A letter was found in his belongings addressed to Marina, telling her that he loved her and would come home, marry her and raise their child. Marina is thankful for Daphne’s help and, without her, would have never known how George truly felt.
Eloise decides to do a bit of digging on her own and visits Genevieve’s modiste shop. She has a rather vague conversation with her on the subject of the Featheringtons, Bridgertons and the Queen (Golda Rosheuvel) while Benedict hides out of sight. Eloise is worried that if Lady Whistledown isn’t too careful, she may create an enemy out of the families like she has the Queen. Genevieve believes Lady Whistledown is too smart to get caught as well as loyal to her customers and will do the right thing.
At the Hastings House, preparations are underway for the ball when Daphne runs into Simon. She tries to get him to open up about what happened in his childhood. She wants to understand why he chose to make the vow he did. Simon, however, refuses to give her an answer. He feels that she will be better off without him and intends to stick to their original plan. He leaves her to attend Will’s (Martins Imhagbe) exhibition match.
Will debates whether or not to throw the match like Lord Featherington (Ben Miller) has suggested. Does he risk winning and continuing to fight match after match to put food on his table and take care of Alice (Emma Naomi) and their children? Or does he take the sure bet and walk away far richer than they could ever imagine? Lord Featherington places a huge bet against Will (his house deed to be exact) with two very sketchy individuals hoping that he will go along with the suggested deal.
Anthony, who is also in attendance at the match with Benedict and Colin (Luke Newton), spies Siena (Sabrina Bartlett). The feelings he has been trying to move on from maybe finding their way back to him.
At the Featherington household, Sir Philip has returned to request an audience with Marina. He asks for her hand in marriage to make up for the liberties that his late brother took with her. He knows how much Sir George cared for her and wants to make sure that she is well cared for. Marina declines the offer knowing she does not love him. He respects her choice and takes his leave. Lady Portia is angry with Marina for not accepting the suit. However, now that Marina is no longer pregnant, she is in no rush to wed someone or take part in any schemes.
While Simon is at Will’s exhibition match, Daphne finds the drawer with all of Simon’s letters to his father. She spends her day reading through them to uncover what Simon will not tell her.
Will is clearly throwing the fight though the crowd seems to be none the wiser. Anthony catches the eye of Siena and the two sneak away for a private moment alone under the benches. In the end, Will throws the match. Lord Featherington is beyond excited that he has won back his home and then some. However, Simon and the two gentlemen Lord Featherington made the bet with seem to think that something suspicious has occurred.
Daphne has spent the better part of her day reading through the letters from Simon to his father when Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) finds her. Daphne asks if Lady Danbury was aware of the letters. She admits she was and that she had a part in helping Simon get over his speech impediment, but in the end, the triumph was his alone.
Simon pays a visit to Will to find Lord Featherington leaving his tent. He accuses him of throwing the match and should have asked for help if he needed more investors. The two argue over Will’s misplaced sense of honor, but Will finds nothing more honorable than doing what needs to be done to take care of one’s family. An idea that Simon seems to be ignoring when it comes to his own wife.
Lord Featherington returns home to share the good news with Lady Portia. The money he won is more than enough to cover all of his debts and then some. When she questions where he got the money from, he refuses to give her a straight answer. Overjoyed that their financial problems seem to be over, she doesn’t question him any further.
Simon and Daphne find themselves having breakfast together. She suggests he join her when she visits the Bridgerton house to see her sister Franchesca. The two arrive to find the whole family enjoying their time in the parlor. Benedict chooses this time to demand that Eloise never repeat what happened with Genevieve and Anthony learns of his brother’s newfound relationship with the modiste. Shockingly he is quite okay with Benedict’s situation. It must be something in the candies.
Penelope arrives and Eloise drops the bomb of who Lady Whistledown is on her. The two discuss their futures and Penelope admits that while Eloise has the means to do what she likes because Daphne is now a duchess, her family situation is entirely different. Simon spends his time answering questions from Hyacinth (Florence Hunt) and Gregory (Will Tilston). He humors the children, showing that maybe he wouldn’t be entirely bad with children after all.
Genevieve pays a visit to the Featherington house to drop off the girl’s dresses for the Hastings ball. With their financial burdens gone, the family can get back to living their normal lives. Marina passing in the hallway has an odd sensation in her stomach, which causes her to drop her plate. This brings Lady Portia and Genevieve out into the hall and Marina requests they send for the doctor.
As the last of the preparations are underway for the Hastings ball, Lady Whistledown shares her feelings on the end of the season. While some might rejoice that it has come to an end, others have a better understanding of what this truly means. For Daphne and Simon, this is the final night they will be living with one another under the same roof.
Marina learns from the doctor that she is still with child. He finds it odd that she would believe that tea would rectify the situation. It dawns on her that she might not have a choice in accepting a proposal from Sir Philip after all.
Anthony finds himself happy and in the arms of Siena once again. Knowing they need to get ready for their separate evenings, Siena begins making jokes about what Anthony will be doing that night. Not wanting to leave her, Anthony asks her to join him and to stand by his side. She has her doubts, but Anthony believes because he is the Viscount, Daphne a Duchess and his brother in law the Duke of Hastings, no one will say a word.
Simon and Daphne find themselves in each other’s company again as they go over last-minute arrangements for the ball. The feeling of easiness seems to have returned to them as they joke about how many dances to partake in. Daphne thanks him for spending time with Hyacinth and Gregory earlier that day and remarks how well he is with children. He agrees that it has always been that way, but it does not mean he wants his own. The conversation is cut short as guests begin to arrive.
Eloise struggles to fit into the ball, uncomfortable in her situation and corset. Daphne slips to her that she won’t tell if she chooses to slip away to the library. Eloise thanks her for being so perfect so that she does not have to. Lady Portia and the girls arrive at the ball to the shock of the other guests. When told they weren’t expecting her, she shares that she got an invitation personally from Daphne herself. Sometimes circumstances change overnight. The ladies bring up Lord Featherington’s big win at the boxing exhibition and question if he is still out celebrating.
Lord Featherington is currently making his way through what appears to be a brothel when he enters a room where someone special is awaiting him. On the other side of the door is not a pretty lady but the two men he placed his bet with.
Colin spots Penelope and apologizes for not listening to her about Marina. He understands that she was trying to protect him from becoming heartbroken. She tells him he should never apologize for being in love. In fact, when you find yourself in that position, you should share it with the other person. Penelope tells Colin she has something she wishes to share. It turns out he does as well. But before Penelope can express her feelings for him, Colin announces that he is leaving for his grand tour in the morning.
Eloise attempts to speak with the Queen, but her guard refuses to let her by. However, she can weasel some information out of him regarding the investigation into Lady Whistledown. It turns out that they plan to unmask her this very night after learning where she drops off her missives to be printed. Eloise tries to warn Benedict that Genevieve is in trouble, but he brushes her off. She takes matters into her own hands and bribes the carriage driver to take her to the location.
Anthony arrives to pick up Siena for the ball, but it is the man Siena has been seen with that answers the door. Siena asks for a moment in private with Anthony and shares with him that she can not continue to be with him. She is content in her situation and knows that she needs to look out for herself. She believes Anthony to be lost in the world, not knowing what he wants to needs to do. She can not and will not let herself become lost with him. She asks him to let her go and he finally agrees.
Eloise awaits outside of the print shop for Lady Whistledown to arrive. When she does, she attempts to look at her face, but the woman in the carriage is wearing a hood that completely covers it. They don’t have much time before Eloise hears a Bow Street Runner heading in their direction. She calls out to the driver that this is a trap and she watches as they rush away. Lady Whistledown’s identity has been saved for at least tonight.
Lady Danbury checks in with Simon to see if his mind has changed regarding his separation from Daphne. She reminds him that pride will tear him apart, just like his father. Lady Violet and Daphne have a discussion of their own on how men view love and the sacrifices and choices one makes to stay true to it. It seems Lady Violet has finally imparted some much-needed wisdom on Daphne.
The time has finally come for Simon and Daphne to partake in their only dance of the evening. But as they spin about the dance floor, the skies open up and thunderstorms roll in. Instead of following the ton underneath the coverings, Daphne chooses to stay out and accept the rain. Simon stands beside her as she lets the water wash over her. Lady Danbury lets the people know that the party has come to an end and they can thank the Duke and Duchess in the morning. But now it is time to get out.
Simon tries to apologize to Daphne for the weather, but even she knows a Duke cannot control it. She uses this time to share with Simon how she truly feels finally. After reading the letters, she understands why Simon believes he is unworthy of love and why he made that vow. But she is tired of pretending that she doesn’t love him. She loves every bit of him, even the parts he finds to be damaged. All she wants is for him to allow himself to accept her love and be happy.
Lady Portia and her daughters return home after the ball to find two Bow Street Runners awaiting them. They bring the unfortunate news that Lord Featherington is dead. Lady Portia searches his desk to find all of the money missing.
Simon seeks out Daphne to finally share with her his feelings. He does not want to be alone but does not know how to be the man she needs and deserves. But she knows that he does. He needs to stay. Stay with her and work through their problems each and every day. Choose to love each other every day and everything else will come naturally. The two finally reconcile and it appears that Simon is finally about the break his vow to his father.
The next morning, the ton prepares to leave London as the season comes to a close. Eloise visits Penelope to comfort her and shares news that she saved Lady Whistledown from being taken in by the Bow Street Runners. Marina turns to Lady Portia for advice on how to survive in a loveless marriage. Lady Portia shares that you find things to love like your children and eventually, the idea of being married to someone you do not love does not feel so bad. Marina has decided to accept Sir Phillip’s offer and leaves London with him. While saying goodbye, Lady Portia learns who will inherit the Featherington estate.
The Bridgerton family gathers to say goodbye to Colin, who is leaving on his grand tour. He promises to write to them about his adventures for everyone to enjoy. Simon and Daphne have decided to stay in town and enjoy each other’s company for a bit longer and Anthony makes his intentions of finding his Vicountness known. When they question who the young lady might be, he reveals it doesn’t matter. He has removed love from the equation.
Eloise goes to say goodbye to Benedict and tells him to tell Genevieve hello. He tells her it will have to wait as she has left for France, but he did get to see her the night after during a party they attended. Eloise realizes that if Benedict was with Genevieve, then there is no way that she could be Lady Whistledown. The season’s final scandal sheet reveals that Lady Whistledown knows of the attempt to unmasque her, but she isn’t ready to stop sharing scandal with the ton just yet. She will reveal herself to the world when she is ready.
Unknown to Eloise and the other members of the ton, Lady Whistledown is none other than Penelope. Flashbacks of the night prior show Eloise sending off the carriage carrying Lady Whistledown and Penelope drops her hood in one of the greats reveal moments of the season.
“After the Rain” and the first season of Bridgerton comes to a close with a most joyous occasion. Daphne and Simon welcome their son into the world with Lady Violet by their side. They do not have a name picked out for the boy; however, Simon believes it needs to start with an “A”. They do have a family tradition they need to uphold, after all.