Netflix’s Bridgerton became one of the most talked-about Netflix releases back in 2020, partly because of the revelations of its ending. Thanks to the fact that it’s based on the 8-book series by Julia Quinn, there is a lot more scandal to be told in the world of Bridgerton. Fortunately, with Bridgerton season 2 arriving on March 25, 2022, and more seasons planned, fans will be getting answers very soon.
Bridgerton might have one major controversy, thanks to a sexual assault scene that caused controversy in the books and should have been left on the cutting room floor, but overall, it is a glorious triumph. Shonda Rhimes’ production company and the director – Rhimes collaborator Chris Van Dusen – have crafted a beautifully observed, surprisingly progressive answer to Pride & Prejudice that deserves to sit alongside The Crown and Downton Abbey as one of the finest historical drama series of recent years. Bridgerton is less conventional than both, but does end up doubling down on some of the very familiar tropes that make the most successful historical romantic dramas so popular.
SCREENRANT VIDEO OF THE DAY
Related: Bridgerton Cast & Character Guide: What Else The Actors Have Been In
The ending of Bridgerton season 1 sets up further adventures – romantic and otherwise – in the ton, with each of the main Bridgerton family members facing new dawns, even, as the finale says, when some endings feel more final than others. Netflix can explore more on the subject of scandal, the accountability of rakes, the mystery of the Featherington estate, and the question of whether Eloise and Penelope will find their matches – no matter how reluctantly. For now though, here’s what the ending of Netflix’s Bridgerton season 1 means.
Why Lady Whistledown Revealed The Ton’s Scandals
The big moment at the end of Bridgerton season 1 – and the thing that offers the most promise for the coming seasons – is the revelation that Lady Whistledown is really Penelope Featherington. More important, however, is the question of why Whistledown does what she does. Bridgerton’s Lady Whistledown doesn’t merely revel in the idea of scandal and salacious rumor (because she rarely writes anything inaccurate), but she is a protector of virtues and a sort of guardian angel of the ton, seeking to make sure anything untoward or immoral doesn’t go unpunished in the court of popular opinion. In effect, Whistledown is running her own answer to cancel culture throughout Bridgerton season 1, which, of course, is merely a sensationalist way of discussing accountability. Whistledown, as an outsider able to take aim at “acceptable society” with greater impunity seeks not to target victims or the weak, but to turn society’s gaze to injustices, though her own personal experiences of debutant culture have jaded her somewhat. In that regard, she is also fighting back.
Why Simon Changes His Mind About Family
The biggest single story of Bridgerton season 1 is the courtship and marriage of Simon Bassett and Daphne Bridgerton, who are thrust together through a delightful, trope-embracing meet cute revealed in the marketing. Daphne wishes to be desirable in Whistledown’s eyes (and the Queen’s) and Simon wishes to hide from the pressure of debutantes and their meddlesome mothers. Naturally, they fall for one another, but Simon’s dark past stops him from committing to a family as he wishes to end his bloodline as revenge for his father’s neglect. It’s an understandable pain point, but Simon is eventually convinced to turn his back on it, largely through Daphne’s gentle pressure that his vow is punishing a dead man and himself. It is also thanks to Lady Danbury that Simon is convinced, as at the Hastings ball, she warns Simon not to become a victim of pride, alluding to the fact that his father’s rejection of him was for the same reason. In seeking to avoid becoming his father, Bridgerton’s Simon, Duke of Hastings almost repeats his greatest sin.
What Happened To Lord Featherington In Bridgerton Season 1?
He’s killed, to avoid any doubt. Throughout Bridgerton season 1, Featherington was noted for his poor decisions – not least in the wagers he placed – and his final error of judgment was in engaging the sinister bookmakers in a bet on the fight that Will threw. Unfortunately for him, Will was as good an actor as Featherington was a gambler and the dive he took gave the game away to Simon Bassett and the bookies. As he spent his winnings, the bookies used connections to infiltrate the brothel and laid in wait for him, taking back what was owed to them. Whether Featherington took his winnings out with him or they brook into the Featherington home is unclear at this stage, but he was an unscrupulous man who threw good money after bad, so it wouldn’t be surprising if he had. The final insult Bridgerton’s Lord Featherington left his put-upon family was the loss of the deeds of the house, which the bookies presumably took back from him as revenge for his attempt to deceive them. Lady Featherington is shown asking who will inherit their home and her housekeeper Violet passes a mysterious note in a loaded moment that confirms that whoever it is is known to the Featheringtons. That mystery will roll over into season 2, but it would have to be someone wealthy enough to have either bought the deeds or to be bankrolling the bookies.
Related: Does Simon Die In Bridgerton Season 2?
What Bridgerton’s Final Shot Of The Bee Means
After the storylines are wrapped up, the very last shot of Bridgerton season 1, sees a single bee fly in through the open window of the bedroom in which Daphne gives birth with the camera resting on it. It’s no accident, as fans of the Bridgerton books will know, but there are two meanings behind it. Firstly, in the wider narrative of this universe, bees represent the weight of the past, particularly for Anthony Bridgerton, who wrestles with the same ideas of legacy throughout Bridgerton. That’s because, in the books, Lord Bridgerton – his father – was killed by a bee sting, inspiring in Anthony a morbid fear of bees. They fundamentally represent both mortality and the fear Anthony has throughout Bridgerton season 1 of his own duties as the head of the household, which he runs away from symbolically by becoming a rake. But the second meaning of the shot is more conventional: bees are a sign of community spirit and personal power, but even more crucially, the concept of order, which is precisely what Bridgerton is all about – the upkeep of good order.
The Real Meaning Of Bridgerton Season 1
The whole salacious undercurrent of Bridgerton’s ton paints a picture that absolutely everyone has either a scandal behind them or some sort of secret they do not wish for others to pry into. For some, it is a personal trauma – as with Simon’s history or the Queen’s tragic marriage – but for others, it’s outright criminal or immoral in the eyes of society. Everywhere you look in Netflix’s Bridgerton season 1, characters have a duplicitousness about them, whether out of necessity or design: Simon hides his fragility behind stoicness and strength; the Queen hides her pain behind a front; Lady Whistledown’s real identity is massively at odds with her assumed one; Anthony is a Lord seeking order for his family but wrestling with his own desire to escape his duty. And then there is the concept of the second community beneath the surface, where Benedict and Henry Granville can be themselves and embrace counter-culture, where Madame Lacroix doesn’t hide behind a false accent and unfortunately where Lord Featherington destroys his life and family.
Lady Whistledown’s true mission is cutting through the facades by revealing all of the scandals and the hypocrisy of those who appear one way but contradict their image with their behavior. In this world, the idea of a love match – where two people can be together without pretence or force – is, of course, the purest of things. And even as Bridgerton offers a more progressive view of life – where there is more racial equality (than the real historical period) and women have far more agency (and are in fact the major power players), it’s something as simple as the message that love conquers all that shines through loudest. There is, however, a sting in the tale of Bridgerton season 1 – so the bee is even more pertinent – because it ends up reinforcing some of the most typical tropes of acceptable society.
Why Bridgerton Season 2 Will Be Totally Different
When Bridgerton season 2 it will give those who revelled in all the intrigue and romance of season 1 will be eager to dive back into Shonda Rhimes’ expertly -crafted world. However, while the setting and some of the core characters from Bridgerton season 1 will remain as they are, Bridgerton season 2 will, in large part, feel like an entirely different show. This is due to the nature of Julia Quinn’s book series, in which each installment focuses on a different member of the Bridgerton family. While Bridgerton season 1 primarily told the story of Simon and Daphne’s blossoming romance, season 2 will instead follow Daphne’s brother Anthony as he deals with his own romantic struggles, namely a love triangle involving two sisters, Kate and Edwina Sharma. Despite this change, however, the heart of what made season 1 a salacious success will stay, and perhaps even grow bolder, as it’s been revealed that Bridgerton season 2 will see Lady Whistledown once more at war with several of the Ton’s most notable characters.
Related: Bridgerton Season 2 Will See Anthony & Lady Whistledown At War
Why Simon Isn’t In Bridgerton Season 2 – Did His Ending Work?
Because Simon, Duke of Hastings played such a crucial part in Bridgerton season 1 and was a fan-favorite character, questions abound as to why Regé-Jean Page didn’t return for Bridgerton season 2. Rest assured, Simon hasn’t been killed off, and his happy ending with Daphne remains in place. Rather, the main reason the Duke is missing in Bridgerton season 2 is the same reason that the series as a whole will have a different feel starting with the season 2 premiere: Bridgerton season 1’s story has reached its rightful conclusion, and from now on the show will be following different characters.
In fact, Regé-Jean Page knew all along that his role as Simon Bassett in Bridgerton was only meant to last one season. Throughout the course of Bridgerton season 1, Simon had a complete and satisfying character arc. As previously discussed, his relationship with Daphne allows him to let go of the past somewhat and stop punishing himself for the ways his father wronged him. Renouncing his vow against children, Simon finds himself in a perfect relationship with Daphne that ultimately results in the pair having a baby. Simon and Daphne’s love story may be chock full of period drama tropes, but this makes it no less satisfying and effective. Essentially, Bridgerton season 1 already gave Simon the best ending it could have, and thus there’s no pressing need for the character to return in season 2. Of course, this doesn’t mean fans won’t still miss the Duke of Hastings, and hopefully, Daphne’s return in Bridgerton season 2 will offer some windows into what happens next in her and Simon’s life.
Next: Bridgerton Season 2’s Kate Is Already Avoiding The Show’s Simon Problem
Supernatural Prequel Show The Winchesters Casts Sam & Dean’s Parents
About The Author
(390 Articles Published)
Simon is a veteran editor who has been writing online since 2010 – long before anyone wanted to read his work. He loves Clueless. Like, a lot.
More From Simon Gallagher