Season two of Bridgerton exceeds all expectations in both scandals and representation

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Photo: Lucia Thorne

Illustration Lucia Thorne

By Mariyam Quaisar, Content Managing Editor, Business Managing Editor

My skin is still tingling from season two of Netflix’s Bridgerton, and I finished the new episodes almost a week ago. 

While the casting of season one was immaculate, this season topped it off with the addition of Simone Ashley and Charithra Chandran as two Indian sisters, Kathani and Edwina Sharma, joined the powerful English families of the ton. Witnessing such an empowering portrayal of Indian women in a white-led television series ignited a sense of pride within me. 

Many South Asians, myself included, are used to––and expect to see––stereotypical depictions of fellow South Asians in television and film. But this? This incredible representation could pave the way for a new era of casting actors from South Asian heritage, and thank God for it. 

Not only are Kathani and Edwina Sharma illustrated as strong, independent women, but their genuine character development is inspiring to all those watching. There are truly no words to describe the thrill I felt knowing I was watching someone who looks like me rock the socks off millions of watchers. 

And can we talk about the chemistry between Kathani and Anthony Bridgerton (played by Jonathan Bailey)? Their lust, passion, and desire were almost tangible and, let me tell you, it had me pacing around my room every few scenes. There were moments I had to do jumping jacks to calm myself down. 

Bailey and Ashley did a remarkable job. They truly allowed the audience to feel—or at least long to feel—what coursed through their veins with every passing look and each graze of their fingertips. 

Anthony and Kathani’s many sensual scenes made viewers forget that they were actors playing a role. Instead, it undoubtedly amped up audience members’ libido and made their palms sweat. When Anthony told Kathani, “You are the bane of my existence, and the object of all my desires. Night and day, I dream of you. Do you even know the ways a lady can be seduced? The things I could teach you …” Gawd, I wish someone would say those words to me.

Moving forward, the sibling dynamic between the Bridgertons not only diffused the heavy hotness of the show (which was definitely necessary at times), but also brought a chuckle to my lips. The understanding between Eloise and Benedict was adorable and hilarious, and a great addition to the relationships between the characters.

Speaking of relationships, the bonds throughout the show—some unexpected—keep the audience hooked. Lady Danbury and Violet’s cunning and well-meant antics, Edwina and the Queen’s connection over love, Lady and Lord Featherington’s surprising attraction, and Eloise’s crush on Theo Sharpe were just a few side plot lines that kept the show worthwhile. 

Of course, the neverending eye-sex between Kathani and Anthony kept my eyes glued to the screen, but getting a break here and there to explore the other characters’ purpose in the show was refreshing. Like a cold shower, if you will. The show’s creators knew we’d need to touch some grass…  

To top it off, the hustle around Eloise trying to uncover Lady Whistledown while Penelope Featherington tried to maintain her identity as the gossip girl was thrilling. The back and forth was exhausting, but both womens’ persistence was badass. 

Season 2 of Bridgerton was undeniably better than season 1. Not only because of the palpable and constant sexual tension, but also because of the South Asian representation that I have been longing for for the past 15 years. However, I do have one qualm. 

Her name is Kathani Sharma, not “Kate” Sharma. I did not understand the need to essentially whitewash her name. If you are going to so incredibly portray an Indian woman, go all the way with it. When Anthony said her full name while declaring his love to her, I quite literally fell out of my chair. It was the single hottest thing I have ever experienced… and there was a full-on sex scene in the episode prior. 

Season two of Bridgerton exceeded expectations and became the first show that not only depicted South Asian women beautifully, but also solidified my pride in being a South Asian woman myself. Thank you to the creators and thank you to Simone Ashley.