Can a Church Scene Redeem BRIDGERTON?

Poster via Netflix

Can a Church Scene Redeem BRIDGERTON?

By Movieguide® Staff

The Netflix sensation BRIDGERTON dropped the highly anticipated Part 2 of Season 3 earlier this week, giving way to a rush of fan-damoniom. The series, from GREY’S ANATOMY’s Shonda Rhimes, may center around a bustling and loving family, but it’s anything but safe for the family.

BRIDGERTON follows matriarch Violet Bridgerton and her brood of seven children through the marriage mart of Regency-era England. Under the watchful eye of Queen Charlotte, members of the London Ton debut each season to find a spouse. Queen Charlotte selects a “diamond,” who is considered to be the most eligible bachelorette that year. All of it is chronicled by the infamous Lady Whistledown. Lady Whistledown’s gossip column may very well be the most sought-after piece of literature among the Queen’s court, with even Charlotte herself obsessing over the identity of the mysterious writer. While Lady Whistledown’s sharp wit spares no one, the Bridgerton family remains one of the most respected families in the Ton, with the children each finding a love match in their season of the show.

Season 1, based on The Duke and I by Julia Quinn, explores Daphne Bridgerton’s debut season as Charlotte’s diamond. Daphne finds herself in a compromising situation with Simon, the Duke of Hastings, and must marry him at the behest of her brother, Viscount Anthony Bridgerton.

Season 2, based on Quinn’s The Viscount Who Loved Me, puts Anthony as the romantic interest. He pursues diamond Edwina only to ultimately fall in love with her sister, Kate.

Come Season 3, the show departs from the books’ timeline and instead gives the audience a look at Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington’s romantic entanglements from Romancing Mister Bridgerton. Additionally, Season 3 also gives viewers a glimpse into Francesca’s first romance with the Earl of Kilmartin. When Part 1 of Season 3 dropped last month, Guinness World Records declared it the “world’s most in-demand romantic drama,” as Colin realizes his feelings for his dear friend Penelope while he helps her find a husband. Statistics are not yet available for Part 2, however, fans have called some of the scenes the “spiciest” they’ve seen yet.

Part 2 picks up with Colin proposing to Penelope after a raunchy, borderline explicit kiss in a carriage after he professes his desire to be more than friends. The two are almost love drunk as they walk into Bridgerton House and share their engagement to the mostly ecstasy of Colin’s family.

However, Colin’s sister Eloise is heartbroken by the match because she knows Penelope has not been totally honest with Colin. Penelope agrees to tell Colin her secret but fails to do so before the two consummate their relationship in a scene that contains upper female nudity as well as a male’s full backside. In a show that’s largely defined by its promotion of soft-core pornography, the scene borders hardcore and can make viewers deeply uncomfortable. Furthermore, this season also explores the polyamorous relationship of Benedict Bridgerton, exposing viewers to even more debauchery.

Unlike previous seasons, which are still sexually excessive, Season 3 provides no emphasis on virtue. The gentlemen in Seasons 1 and 2 at least pretended to care about the reputations of their loved ones, but the formality is gone now. It’s ironic considering Season 3 provides an extended scene in a church where the vicar announces the marriage banns of couples intending to wed. The vicar quotes scripture and issues blessings on the couples, but that’s the most Christian content viewers can expect. The disappointment can also extend to the casting. While Nicola Coughlan is delightful as a vulnerable yet smitten Penelope, Luke Newton plays a brooding Colin who lacks any sort of joy when with his betrothed, although he claims to be lovesick.

Perhaps the bright spot in this season is to see an update on Viscount Anthony and his wife, Kate, who are expecting their first child. That alone, though, is not enough to save the season. BRIDGERTON’s excessive content goes too far this time, with deceit looming over the future as Lady Whistledown’s identity comes to the forefront. Unfortunately, given showrunners’ comments, renewed attention on throuples, and the introduction of a gender-bent love interest for an upcoming season, it appears that BRIDGERTON will continue down the path of destruction. Discerning viewers would do best to avoid the show entirely.

Quality: - Content: +2
Quality: - Content: +1