Sunday, December 27, 2020

REVIEW: 'Bridgerton' - Daphne and Eloise Try Their Best to Offer Hope to Marina and Penelope in 'Oceans Apart'

Netflix's Bridgerton - Episode 1.07 "Oceans Apart"

Amid accusations of lies and betrayal, a rift forms between the newlyweds, while a deception of another kind could besmirch the Bridgerton family name.

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.

"Oceans Apart" was written by Jay Ross & Abby McDonald and directed by Alrick Riley

Simon has been positioned as being directly responsible for all of the drama and strife that constantly consumes Daphne's life. She loves him fiercely. And yet, he continues to hurt her. That is the basic structure and understanding of this particular couple. It hasn't particularly been challenged in a meaningful way as the season has developed. It absolutely should. The roles should be reversed so that Daphne can deal with the ramifications of her actions as well. She has made mistakes but the narrative is constantly focused on presenting things from her perspective. As such, she feels entitled to her reactions because Simon is always in the wrong. He is the one who has made a tortured and wrought vow to never have children. She views that as completely silly and contradictory to the vow that they took during their wedding. She feels uninformed and blames everyone around her for not teaching her what she needed to know. She believes it was their responsibility to best prepare her for the world with reasonable expectations. Not everything will work out just because she has the best intentions. She saw the ideal version of marriage. Her parents gave her that goal. They didn't tell her how to find that and embrace it fully. All of the Bridgerton siblings suffer in that way. They feel the pressure to live up to these high expectations. The moment they even have a slight falter or are criticized they lash out because that suggestion cannot be acceptable. They have to be perfect. The world is forcing them to have changed perspectives. In fact, it's clear that Lady Bridgerton may be making up for her mistakes with Daphne in how she cares for Eloise. She understands that her children shouldn't embark on this journey of marriage until they are ready for all that it entails. And yet, Eloise is still willing to present herself in society because she feels a sense of duty to the queen. Of course, Queen Charlotte is impulsive and self-involved. She doesn't care about Eloise. She is simply amused by whomever can offer her personal details about Lady Whistledown. Eloise believes that finding this answer can save Penelope from a tarnished reputation. That's not how a functioning press should work in a society though. Sure, Lady Whistledown has done damage with what she has written. Her standards are questionable. But she has brought a valuable perspective to this world. It's one that people could interpret as vindictiveness. Eloise zeroes in on a suspect simply because of the proximity she had to the Featherington household. And yet, that offers no help to Marina. In fact, the narrative suggests that terrible choices are all that these characters can make at the moment. Daphne offers hope to Marina because of the influence she can command elsewhere. And yet, Marina is all too aware that that hope is fleeting. Daphne believing in the best may only lead to death. That could be the final outcome for Marina. Again, having the right intentions doesn't immediately make the world better. In fact, it highlights just how foolish people can be in believing that society will react how they want it to. Not everyone holds themselves to the same ideals. It's simply good enough to find love and embrace it no matter what. That's the way this show positions its stories especially when it comes to romance. It's a rather binary depiction of what is possible in a relationship. Daphne and Simon can either be happy or miserable. There is no middle ground for them. They can embrace what a married couple is expected to do. Or they can bitterly fight because that future is constantly denied to Daphne. That is important to her. And yes, the show has done very little to justify Simon's actions. His adherence to his vow to his father is so labored. It also suggests that he will magically change his mind after hearing Daphne's tears upon learning that she is not pregnant. He could change his life for her. The narrative could highlight the fundamental differences between the central pair. It's not all that interested in doing so. They fight. They have sex. It's all visual and reactionary. It doesn't delve deep into the psychology of this world and the people who have such vested interests in it. Plenty of joyous moments have occurred throughout this season. But it's also apparent that the show doesn't exactly want the audience to feel a certain way based on genuine character concerns and actions. It's just hitting various plot points beat to beat without creating a cohesive whole. That's devastating to an overall show. Fascinating things are absolutely present here. Love is so much more complicated and all-consuming than Daphne imagined. And yet, that point being hit over and over again just suggests that the show has nothing more to say about the subject or is really intrigued in depicting its protagonist in a complicated light.