Friday, March 25, 2022

REVIEW: 'Bridgerton' - The Social Season Begins With Anthony Connecting with Kate and Edwina Sharma in 'Capital R Rake'

Netflix's Bridgerton - Episode 2.01 "Capital R Rake"

Anthony begins his search for a wife, Eloise braves her society debut, and Lady Danbury helps the queen choose a diamond among the season's debutantes.

"Capital R Rake" was written by Chris Van Dusen and directed by Tricia Brock

Anthony and Kate have very specific goals when it comes to the new social season. Anthony sees it as the expected and responsible thing to do. He must marry and produce heirs. He already cares for his family. All he does is already exhausting. And yet, it's expected of him. It's how he can be of service even though love doesn't enter the equation whatsoever. Meanwhile, Kate needs to find a well-regarded English nobleman for her sister, Edwina, to marry to secure her financial future. It should come as no surprise that these two goals converge. However, they clash because not everyone is in the loop about what's at stake with this specific decision. Edwina is declared the diamond in the rough for the season. It's an honor that immediately attracts Anthony's attention. He believes the Queen has already done the vetting process for him. He can simply pursue whomever the Queen bestows this title onto. As such, he doesn't have to endure the work of finding a bride. He is front and center to ask her to dance. Edwina sees his charms. He's not fumbling around on the dance floor any longer. Instead, he is captivating and asking all the pertinent questions one would want to know before engaging in a long-term committed relationship. However, Kate sees the true man. They interacted long before Anthony showed an interest in Edwina. He chased after her on horseback believing she must have been a damsel in distress. She wasn't. In fact, she is more skilled than he is. And then, she overhears his list of what he wants in a bride. He wants someone with a personality. Being able to serve as a wife and mother is all he needs. He doesn't particularly want to be challenged. He's not looking for love. That's a trivial concern that can't be his focus. Kate can't think so foolishly either. They are both cynical about love. They don't particularly like the process they must endure in order to achieve good standing in this society either. Kate had to train her sister to be the best in order to secure a stable future for her. That's all she wants. Anthony could provide that. It won't be enough. It's not satisfying. Of course, Edwina is told what to do and expected to obey. Her sister offers the approval. She has to be won over. Kate and Lady Danbury scheme to keep the truth from Edwina. They don't want her to make a mistake given the stakes involved. They love her too much for her to make that sacrifice. They've endured so much in the hopes that others can prosper. Anthony is becoming part of this dynamic. It's one that will challenge everything even though it's already clear his dynamic with Kate has more dimension than his brief fascination with Edwina.

None of this has much to do with Lady Whistledown either. The gossip writer took the ton by storm. Her identity remains a mystery. Of course, the audience knows Penelope is the figure behind the words. The viewer gets to see more of the mechanics of how she obtains her information and gets it printed. It's always a struggle for her. And yet, it's also clear the mystery of Lady Whistledown is important to far fewer people. Yes, the ton still buzzes over each column. They pay to read what she has to write. The Queen is the most furious because the columnist makes her seem out-of-touch and focusing on things that don't ultimately matter. Of course, that's not the perspective everyone has. Some are charmed by her writing. They are amused by how she talks about the social scene and all everyone cares about so much. It's not all that deep ultimately. Lady Whistledown serves as the narrator of this series. Her words ring out for the audience as they are coupled with actions involving the central characters. However, Lady Whistledown also acts as part of the story. She has to be a participant to it. She has to be invited to all of these galas and obtain all the information necessary to know what's happening. She needs that expertise. Is her opinion truly necessary? Eloise seeks to challenge that notion. And so, Lady Whistledown increasingly seems like a response to what Queen Charlotte and Eloise are demanding her to be. She responds to how they view the column. It's no longer an outlet to reflect on how much Penelope enjoys this world. Eloise has long figured she shares similarities with her best friend. They are both exhausted by needing to be present at these various dances. It's not what they truly care about. It's simply society placing pressure on people to act a certain way in order to be admired. It's not digging deeper to examine the true extent of character within each person who wants to get married. That's the end result of all of this. Scandal has a way of sticking with a person long after they retire from the scene. That pressure is evident as well. Eloise feels it. Kate and Edwina experience it as Lady Mary's daughters. But it's also rather timid with how it challenges the very notion of what Lady Whistledown offers. She states that the Queen's blessing is not all it takes to be the most deserving prize this cycle. That contrasts with the opinion believed with Daphne and Simon. They were both diamonds. They had to believe that themselves in order to come together. And now, that designation is no longer good enough. It has no bearing on a person's true significance. That's a challenging concept mostly meant to indicate the show wanting to operate differently this season even if so much comes across as the same.