I did it! I skipped around and read recaps and went into another room to do dishes and answered work emails and more or less watched the whole season. And now I am ready to talk.
Anthony Bridgerton, oldest son of the family, feels a responsibility to marry a nice pretty intelligent woman to raise his heirs, but he is not looking for love because he saw how much his mother was hurt after his father (her true love) died. Kate is looking for a nice man who will be a good match for her sweet young sister Edwina. At first Kate and Anthony sparr because she is trying to keep him away from Edwina. Then they semi-acknowledge their enormous physical attraction for each other, and how that could be an impediment to an Edwina engagement since Anthony would be distracted by Kate. Then after Kate insists she will leave the country after the wedding and she feels nothing for Anthony, he proposes to Edwina. The tension continues until at the wedding itself, Edwina sees what is happening between them and stops the ceremony. Anthony and Kate kiss, then pretend it didn’t happen and focus on containing the scandal around the canceled wedding for both their families. Until they are alone together again and have sex in a garden. The next morning, Anthony goes to propose to Kate and instead finds her after a riding accident. She is in a coma for a week, wakes up to find Edwina has forgiven her and tells her to just go out and be happy for herself. At the same time, Anthony talks to his mother and gets advice to risk it all for love, even if it means pain later. He finally proposes and Kate accepts. Happy Honeymoon Sex Ending.
If it feels like that plot was chugging along for the first few sentences and then went INSANE, you are correct. Definitely way too many stupid STUPIDITY about Kate and Anthony not getting together. Yes, at first he was courting her sister and she had never thought of marriage for herself. But by the time they are almost kissing in the middle of the night in the library, this is clearly a MAJOR problem which they seem to be acknowledging and then, weirdly, pretending like it won’t be a problem.
I don’t love the book, as I’ve said, but at least the book thought things through a little better. Most importantly, I know that Kate and Anthony got together and the whole Edwina courtship was set aside well before the end of the book. Because only idiots would have these big powerful moments together and keep up the pretense of the Edwina courtship.
The book also did not have a lot of stupid confusing plot randomness, like Edwina having to marry well in order to insure an inheritance for her mother. That’s just, like, pointless! What was wrong with simply having Edwina being a dreamy girl who wants a happy marriage and her sister wanting to give that to her? The inheritance thing is way too complicated and adds a nasty edge to their sister relationship.
Keep it simple! Man thinks he wants a simple biddable wife, finds himself in love with her strong sister instead. Woman thinks she isn’t made for marriage because she is too strong, finds out that what she wants is a man who challenges her.
The parts of the show that drew on that thread absolutely sang. The chemistry was over the top between the two of them, and the way Simone Ashley played her strong but fragile character was mesmerizing. But by halfway through the season, even all of that good could not overcome the STUPID.
And it didn’t have to be stupid! So long as you are messing with plots, put in some good old-fashioned blackmail, someone who is forcing Anthony to marry Edwina or vice versa. Or change it altogether, have Anthony and Edwina be engaged before Kate even shows up, so then their guilt and tension makes sense. Or have Anthony and Kate be engaged without admitting they love each other which, I think, is what happened in the book? I remember there being some kind of tension over them agreeing to the engagement but resisting admitting their feelings. Which makes a heck of a lot more sense than admitting their feelings but resisting an engagement!
Anyway, desi stuff! That was actually really well-done by not being overdone. There is a tiny Haldi ceremony between the 3 women. There is a moment when you see Kate giving Edwina an oil head massage. There is discussion of how they lived in Bombay and before that her father was the secretary for a royal family. I was hoping there would be something I could pick apart as being culturally significant, but no. It was just an appropriate small part of their family background.
But yeah, first third of so of the story was good, and remaining two thirds were just a bunch of people acting dumb and heavy breathing.
What did you think?