Saturday, December 26, 2020

REVIEW: 'Bridgerton' - Daphne and Simon Must Present Their Case to the Queen for a Quick Wedding in 'The Duke and I'

Netflix's Bridgerton - Episode 1.05 "The Duke and I"

To fend off rumors about their garden escapade, Simon and Daphne must make a personal appeal to the queen. Marina's wedlock scheme dismays Penelope.

In 2019, the television industry aired 532 scripted shows across numerous outlets. The way people consume content now is different than it used to be. It happens according to one's own schedule. As such, it's less necessary to provide ample coverage of each episode in any given season from a show. Moreover, it is simply impossible to watch everything. As such, this site provides shorter episodic reviews in order to cover as many shows as possible. With all of that being said, here are my thoughts on the next episode of Netflix's Bridgerton.

"The Duke and I" was written by Joy C. Mitchell and directed by Sheree Folkson

Daphne and Simon have love and friendship with one another. However, they are very tentative about actually communicating that. It's strange and creates the overall sensation of them yearning to be close but never given the ability to talk until their wedding night. Everyone just wants to present this wedding as a good thing. The only obstacle the pair have to overcome is getting Queen Charlotte to sign off on them getting married after only a weeklong engagement. She is very engaged in the antics of the main characters. She's not all that aloof and distant even though she should be seen as the head of the entire country. This gossip and marital intrigue fascinates her. She is just as intrigued by who Lady Whistledown could possibly be. She's even willing to hear all of the guesses and speculation that Eloise has currently gathered in her pursuit of the truth. The perception of scandal can be crippling to not only one person but the entire family they represent as well. Daphne's marriage sets the standard for what her siblings can aim for. Of course, she's the sibling who has long dreamed about this union. She has desired being a wife and mother. Colin is enthralled in his courtship of Marina as well. However, he feels no rush to make a commitment. He too sees the benefit of time and being able to enjoy the celebration of it all. That won't work for Marina and the Featherington family though. But those two Bridgerton siblings are the ones focused on marriage and the standing of their family in the world at large. Anthony believes he represents that duty as well. And yet, he is continually chasing after Siena and trying to believe in the fantasy of what their union could be while creating more problems for his siblings. Meanwhile, Benedict and Eloise would rather pursue their passions. They are the artistic members of the family who deserve more from life than simple servitude in what society dictates for them as a result of their gender. Daphne recognizes the importance of all of this. She views marriage to Simon as the only viable choice to ensure that everyone remains alive. She is perpetually anxious though because this is a dramatic different version of events than she has always expected. People have talked about this moment for her entire life. However, they only went into vague details. It's only after the wedding that Lady Bridgerton tries to talk about sex with her eldest daughter. Even then, she is tongue-tied and unsure of how to have the conversation. Daphne has so many questions about the world. People aren't quick or easy to give them to her. As such, she leaves in this perpetual state of agony. She and Simon are left to infer how the other is feeling. Now, Simon spoke the truth when he and Daphne presented themselves in front of the Queen. They were deceiving the public. That allowed them to start with friendship. One that didn't have the pressure of needing to marry by a certain date. And yet, they have openly embraced their feelings for one another now. It's still not entirely truthful. That remains a core part of the plot as well. Daphne doesn't want to talk about the reason why Simon cannot have children. She believes it must be a physical barrier that is quite painful for him. It's his pride though. It's him holding firmly to a promise he made to a man who was dying. It's not something that he has to follow through with now that his life has changed. He genuinely loves Daphne. They confess their true feelings by the conclusion of this episode. It makes their honeymoon night more special because they show that care and consideration for the other. Daphne is frightened. And yet, this first sexual experience is still freeing and empowering for her. Everything is not as she imagined. That's frequently what life is. People plan and prepare for so much. It never works out perfectly. People need to embrace the unexpected. And yes, part of that comes from the frustrations and uncertainty that others put in their own way. Simon has created these problems. It makes it easier for him to drink and be distant than actually embrace intimacy and vulnerability with someone. He has that with Daphne for a few fleeting moments. That's still not enough to build a lasting marriage. The foundation is built on a lie. As such, it's hard to see it as smooth sailing moving forward. That too is by design. It ensures the core romantic pairing has plenty of drama ahead even though their wedding takes place a little over halfway through the season. Sure, some of the pacing issues still persist and it's difficult to really explain the motivations for several actions that are deemed important. That makes the audience less patient and more eager to see the purpose of it all. If the payoff works, then a lot can be forgiven. Right now, it's just passionate to see how fiery Daphne and Simon can be when they are actually together.