The latest season of Bridgerton takes a bolder view at handling troubled relationships and marriages as it teases displeased viewers from the previous season with enough fodder to last until the next season, feels Divya Nair.
In 2020, when most of our planet was crumbling and reeling from the effects of the pandemic, Netflix came to our rescue with two titles.
One of them was the addictive Money Heist (although Season 1 released in 2017, it was rediscovered when its fourth season released in 2020) that kept millions hooked to their devices unaffected by real-life job cuts, WFH burnout and travel restrictions due to the lack of a vaccine.
Money Heist offered a zillion plot twists that people hooked on to this story of theft, revenge and survival.
This was not the case with Bridgerton, which dropped sometime in December 2020 and went on to become one of the most viewed series of the time.
Back then, who would have thought that a story set in the Regency era about a group of oddly dressed men and women who have no real-life relevance in the present day had the potential to entertain the masses across continents?
Fast forward to 2023, after two successful seasons and almost a year of waiting, it would only be fair to anticipate how the third one would elevate the Bridgeverse experience further.
For instance, would Lady Whistedown still be around dishing out fresh gossip for the next tea and ballroom events?
Will there be any more scandalous scenes of consummation between the leading men and women, who start off as warring, reluctant partners but end up making love in the most bizarre of places?
Titled Queen Charlotte, the third season takes us further back in time as it traces the story of how a young Queen met King George III and attempts to answer all the bubbling queries about the King's illness and the Queen's subsequent rise to power.
The six-episode series begins with a young Charlotte (India Amarteifio) snapping at her brother for being forcefully engaged to the King (Corey Mylchreest) without seeking her consent.
As the teen bride to be travels from Germany to London, she discovers the discomforting truth that with great power and responsibility comes a greater deal of sacrifice of personal freedom.
The story is interestingly narrated in a back-and-forth fashion as the Queens in the present and the past battle the odds to protect their country and ensure a rightful heir to the kingdom, so the royal bloodline lives on.
What starts off as a distasteful choice of subject -- to raise and treat women as mere child producing machines -- metamorphoses into a non-pompous revolution of sorts where the women of the house who are ill-treated and reduced to mere bosom-heavy caricatures in agonizing corset gowns, strategically rise above the circumstances to alter their futures and eventually find a way to make their gardens bloom.
While each story of struggle and survival is inspiring in its own right, at the core of it all is the imperfect story of a reluctant king and the country’s first black queen, who understand and accept each other’s limitations before falling in love and sticking to each other when the world around them is falling apart.
Then, of course, there is the story of Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), who was raised only so she could become the wife of a king -- a king, who was not only old enough to be her grandfather but also disregarded her choices and disrespected her body almost every day that she loathed him even after his death.
How a young widow like Agatha made discreet life choices for the sake of a dignified future for herself and her kids is equally relevant in modern day.
Finally, the queen's reaction when the gender of the heir is revealed, explains the ingenuity of the makers in setting a bold narrative for the future.
Although there are countless scenes from present day where the queen despises the mad king and wants him dead, the climax scene in which the royal couple meet as their unassuming young and old selves will certainly leave you emotional and maybe even reinforce your belief in the institution of marriage.
With ample display of bedroom scenes between the handsome royal men and women, the passionate, forbidden romance between the queen and king’s front-men Brimsely and Reynolds, not to forget the sordid passing away of the Lord Danbury, the latest season of Bridgerton takes a bolder view at handling troubled relationships and marriages as it teases displeased viewers from the previous season with enough fodder to last until the next season.
However, despite its duration and limitation of characters, the series doesn’t justify its creative liberties at understanding its men, their duties outside the palace or their relevance and importance in history.
As we salute the fiercely-drafted, independent female characters in this season, we are left with more questions than ever.
Like, what happened to Reynolds?
Was it deep insecurity or unconditional love that forced the Queen to have 15 children with a mentally unstable partner?
Did Violet approve of Lady Danbury’s relationship with her late father?
Does it affect their friendship at all?
More importantly, what happens to the heir to the throne?
All this and more as we await another exciting fourth season.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story streams on Netflix.