Warning: Article contains spoilers for Bridgerton season 2.
Bridgerton season 2 is absolutely packed with smart Easter eggs, especially to Jane Austen and Pride & Prejudice. Although Netflix’s Bridgerton series is inspired by a series of popular novels by Julia Quinn, in truth Bridgerton changes – and usually improves – the story. In part it achieves this by connecting with popular culture, not only through its stunning modern/period soundtrack but also by a greater awareness of romantic period fiction.
The first season of Bridgerton was praised for being like a raunchier version of a Jane Austen story, and Bridgerton season 2 doubles down on the comparison. The overarching narrative is lifted straight from Pride & Prejudice, with some scenes feeling as though they’re lifted straight from that famous tale. But the story of Bridgerton season 2 is no mere carbon-copy, with themes and concepts incorporated from other classics, and everything given its own fresh twist.
All that means there’s something timeless to Bridgerton season 2. It is at once brand new and hauntingly familiar, because it plays on tropes modern viewers are intimately familiar with. Here are all the Easter eggs and references in Bridgerton season 2, including to the works of Jane Austen.
Bridgerton Season 2 Mocks Darcy’s “Pride & Prejudice” Views
In Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice, Mr. Darcy (in)famously presented a list of what makes an “accomplished” woman. She should have a thorough knowledge of music, singing, drawing, dancing, all the modern languages, and even a love of reading to boot. Darcy’s exacting list prompted a sarcastic quip from Elizabeth Bennet; “I am no longer surprised at your knowing only six accomplished women,” she observed. “I rather wonder now at your knowing any.” Like Darcy, Anthony Bridgerton is looking for what he perceives to be the perfect woman, and he has his own list – which includes a love of reading. Bridgerton season 2 then subtly mocks both Darcy and Anthony’s attitude toward women when Anthony chooses his horses in the same way, because Nectar is “well-bred, highly trained and well-favored.” He’s considering potential wives as he would a racehorse, not truly seeing them as people at all.
Bridgerton Season 2’s Eavesdropping Is A Classic Jane Austen Plot Device
Bridgerton season 2 borrows heavily from a lot of Jane Austen’s favorite plot devices, most notably her love of eavesdropping. Austen tended to use this to create conflict due to miscommunication, with Pride & Prejudice serving as a classic example when Elizabeth Bennet’s eavesdropping led her to an entirely false understanding of Mr. Darcy character. In Bridgerton season 2, Kate’s eavesdropping on Anthony generates conflict in a different way; in truth, his unguarded words revealed more about his views on women than he would like to admit. It’s interesting to note Bridgerton season 2 closes with another eavesdropping scene, with Penelope hearing Colin dismiss the idea he would ever be interested in her.
Anthony Bridgerton’s Wet Shirt Moment One-Ups Mr. Darcy
One of the most celebrated scenes in the BBC adaptation of Pride & Prejudice saw Colin Firth’s Mr. Darcy plunge into a lake, and emerge with a very wet shirt – so, perhaps naturally, Bridgerton can’t resist one-upping it. The show’s own Mr. Darcy figure, Anthony, takes an unexpected dip and emerges in just as revealing a manner. Bridgerton is a lot more risqué, though – even if Bridgerton season 2 doesn’t have as many sex scenes. As a result the ladies react in a very different way; both Sharma sisters are unable to resist ogling, although amusingly Kate hypocritically tells her sister off.
Anthony’s Fencing In Bridgerton Season 2 Is Another Darcy Callback
Bridgerton season 2 lovingly reproduces another scene from the BBC’s Pride & Prejudice adaptation, with Anthony trying to work out his feelings for Kate in a fencing match. It’s exactly the same approach Mr. Darcy used, and it’s about as effective. Amusingly, in Pride & Prejudice Darcy walks away fuming to himself; “I shall conquer this,” he insists to himself, “I shall!” The scene is almost perfectly reproduced in Bridgerton season 2.
Bridgerton Season 2’s Touching Hands Mirror “Pride & Prejudice”
The fear of physical intimacy is a very real one for Anthony and Kate, for every touch they share brings with it temptation. This is frequently symbolized in moments where the two come close to touching hands – an image that’s shared with the 2005 Pride & Prejudice as well. Interestingly, Bridgerton season 2 takes the prospect of hands touching in a very different direction on occasion, with Kate and Anthony flexing towards one another in a manner reminiscent of traditional Indian wedding ceremonies.
Kate’s Fall & Concussion In Bridgerton Inverts Jane Austen’s “Persuasion”
Bridgerton season 2, episode 7 takes a shocking twist when Kate falls from a horse, and is left unconscious for a week suffering from a concussion. The plot device is very similar to one used by Jane Austen herself in Persuasion, although there events moved in a very different direction, with Louisa’s concussion prompting Wentworth to realize he doesn’t truly care for her at all. As with several other plot devices in Bridgerton, the show inverts as much as it copies.
Bridgerton Season 2’s Sharma Sisters Are Reminiscent of Jane Austen’s “Sense & Sensibility”
Pride & Prejudice may be a major influence on Bridgerton season 2, but the show also riffs on other classic stories by Jane Austen. One prominent example is Sense & Sensibility, which focuses on two sisters – Elinor and Marianne Dashwood – whose father has died. The elder sister, Elinor, focuses on trying to secure a good match for her sister – and in doing so represses her own character in a distinctly unhealthy way. It’s a very similar dynamic to the one shared by Kate and Edwina Sharma.
Bridgerton Season 2 Features Smart Shakespeare Nods
“Any suitor wishing to gain an audience with Miss Edwina Sharma must first tame her sister,” Lady Whistledown observes in Bridgerton season 2. It’s an oblique reference to William Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew, a play starring two sisters who are the talk of the town of Padua. The older sister Katherina is an obstacle to any potential suitors, however, and a man named Petruchio resolves to “tame” her by teaching Katherina her place. This particular Shakespeare play hasn’t exactly dated well, but it’s been adapted into several less problematic films and TV shows over the years – notably 10 Things I Hate About You, which modernized Shakespeare effectively. This play undeniably has an influence on Bridgerton season 2 as well – perhaps in part because it shows the way the men of Regency London would view matters. Unlike Petruchio and Katherina, however, Anthony does not “tame” Kate at all – she remains every bit as fierce and competitive after they have married as she was before.
Bridgerton Season 2’s Wedding Scene Is Adapted From Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing”
The Bridgerton season 2 wedding fiasco is modified from Shakespeare too, specifically from “Much Ado About Nothing” in which Beatrice and Benedick trade insults while they refuse to admit their love for each other. In Shakespeare, Beatrice’s cousin Hero is jilted at the altar; in Bridgerton, Edwina realizes Anthony and her sister have feelings for one another, and flees before the ceremony can be completed. The 1993 adaptation of Much Ado About Nothing, starring Emma Thompson and Kenneth Branagh, saw Beatrice and Benedick stand in the church alone afterwards, finally admitting their feelings and sharing a kiss. Bridgerton season 2 plays the scene in a similar way, albeit with a somewhat different tone.
Bridgerton Season 2’s Race Horse Scene Is A Nod To “My Fair Lady”
Looking beyond the world of classical literature, Bridgerton also includes a surprising Easter egg to the 1964 musical My Fair Lady. There, Audrey Hepburn’s Eliza Doolittle is taken on a trip to the races, and the experience breaks through her normally reserved character – prompting an excited outburst. Kate has exactly the same experience, completely losing her inhibitions in the competitive thrill of the races.
Eloise’s Interest In Mary Wollstonecraft Foreshadows Her Bridgerton Season 2 Arc
Eloise’s arc in Bridgerton season 2 is one of the most striking, and it’s signposted from the very beginning because of her interest in the works of Mary Wollstonecraft – whose writings she prefers to Lady Whistledown’s gossip. Wollstonecraft (1759-1797) was a philosopher and advocate of women’s rights, and her treatise A Vindication of the Rights of Woman insisted women only appear inferior to men because of a lack of education. Eleanor clearly reveres Wollstonecraft, and even has her portrait up in her room; this reverence hints at the scandalous direction Eleanor’s interests will take her, because after her death Mary Wollstonecraft’s reputation was unwittingly ruined when her widower published a memoir of her unorthodox lifestyle. Interestingly, many scholars have suggested Mary Wollstonecraft had a strong influence on Jane Austen, finding nods to Wollstonecraft’s themes in her works. It’s quite amusing to see the bookish Eloise reflect the same kind of interests as Austen, whose books Bridgerton season 2 reveres so highly.
Bridgerton Season 2 Has An Easter Egg Calling Out The Books’ Author
Netflix’s Bridgerton is based on a series of romantic novels by author Julia Quinn. Appropriately enough, then, Anthony’s list of names includes both “Lady Julia – a romantic” and “Miss Quinn – an exceptional writer.” It’s delightful to see Julia Quinn herself honored in the popular show inspired by her books. It’s nice to see Bridgerton season 2 engage in such smart fan-service.
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