Just like the ton is recovering from the events in Episode 1 of Bridgerton, we feel like we’re doing the same in the following episode, “Shock and Delight.”
Daphne and Simon are in full negotiation mode for their fake relationship plan. Ladies Danbury and Bridgerton have matchmaking stars in their eyes over the two, and Anthony is against whatever is going on between his sister and friend.
But the main backstory we get in this episode is for Simon, and we got a chance to see what made our favorite duke the man he is.
A duke is born
First prize for being THE WORST in this episode is Simon’s father, the original Duke of Hastings. The man totally was drinking and celebrating the birth of his son in the next room while his wife was bleeding out and dying. She didn’t even get to hold her own baby before she started to fade because he was too busy being excited that his line would continue.
The duke’s ableism over Simon’s stutter was disgusting, but thankfully Lady Danbury takes him under her wing. She is awesome for standing up for her bestie’s son, long after her friend’s death. We loved how Lady Danbury taught him to command a room – because he certainly does. The real question is whether she taught him that magical eyebrow arch. Knowing how hard-earned that confidence was, we love Simon all the more. Plus, how cute was he as a child?
Kudos to Simon for giving his father the ultimate revenge by vowing not to get married or have kids. Now we have an understanding as to why Simon is so adamant against marriage. But unfortunately, we think these plans are not going to work out for him. The simmering heat between him and Daphne while dancing was palpable. And that hand brush against her bare back – we were fanning ourselves. This is how you do sexual tension properly. We are here for every longing gaze and all the faint touches.
It was very subtle, but at the end of the episode when Daphne is off dancing with another man – Simon’s stutter returns for a moment. He is shook.
Taking the second prize for being THE WORST is the annoying and utterly gross Nigel Berbrooke. This man simply cannot take “no” for an answer, even when Anthony finds out that he acted dishonorably with his sister and that earned him his purple eye.
Berbrooke had a lot of terrible moments in this episode, but probably the worst was when he compared marrying Daphne to buying a horse, saying he does not do negotiations with the animal. Not to mention him bribing the Bridgerton family for a wedding in three days in exchange for not ruining Daphne’s reputation.
She agrees to save her family – but Eloise’s expression of shock and disgust when Daphne made that announcement was basically all of us. Our hearts broke once again for Daphne. She spoke to her mother about wanting a love match like her parents and her mother said that she could maybe find happiness instead by having a home to tend and children. Once again, we all thanked our lucky stars that we did not live in that era. The Nigel situation represents just how terrible it was for women back then and the lack of choices they had.
Women get things done
After Anthony once again made a mess of things and Daphne was facing this awful marriage to Berbrooke, the ladies fixed this mess. The women in this era were often trapped by societal rules, but Violet Bridgerton showed that there are ways to work the system for one’s benefit.
How nervewracking was that scene when Lady Bridgerton had tea with the queen and it was implied that if Daphne didn’t marry well, it would go badly for the rest of the family? We love how Lady B bypassed Anthony at that point and took matters into her own hand. The gossip that ran Berbrooke out of town had the eldest Bridgerton eating crow for his highhanded ways.
We loved that though he promised to do better in the future, Violet Bridgerton was like “no thank you, son, I’ve got this.” He needed to be taken down several notches so we are here for it.
Eloise versus marriage
Another character we got to see a bit more of in this episode was Eloise. She is quite bothered by all the attention that Daphne is getting now that she has a relationship with the duke. Throughout the episode, Eloise declares she wants so much more out of life than marriage and babies.
Perhaps the best scenes for her were with her siblings. We love how close she is to Benedict in that she felt so free to bare her soul. And that he bummed a cigarette off her. He confessed that he feels the same way and it’s clear to see the bond between the two of them. Her conversation with Daphne did not go so well.
Eloise was so genuine when she revealed how the sounds of her mother giving birth still haunted her. Daphne tried to reassure her that someday they would be happy. It could have been a nice moment between sisters, but the gap caused by their different views on life was too great. Eloise accused Daphne of playing pretend with her feelings all the time. While harsh, her words might have been what inspired Daphne to insist to Simon that it wasn’t just about finding an advantageous match. It was about her life, and she is ready to take charge of it.
As for Eloise, we feel for her and the longing she has for something more. We hope she finds it, and are very glad that she seems to have allies in both Penelope and Benedict.
Where do babies come from?
Despite the angsty backstory for Simon, there was a surprising amount of levity in this episode. The biggest joke throughout is that Penelope and Eloise have no idea how babies are made. Penelope is genuinely curious, but Eloise wants to avoid it at all costs.
The scene where she tries to get the information out of her brothers is probably one of our favorites in this whole episode. This again proves how much the ladies in society were completely kept in the dark when it came to sex. The men were completely opposite.
All this comedy doesn’t dim the sadness of Marina’s situation, locked away because she is pregnant. And the fact that she had love letters from the baby’s father. Hopefully, Lady Featherington will let her out soon.
There were so many good lines in this episode to choose from. Here are a few that we narrowed down as our favorites.
- “If I were truly courting you I would not need flowers, I would need five minutes alone with you in the drawing-room.” – Simon to Daphne (excuse us while we go take a cold shower)
- “I knew I would have to step into the light someday and I could not very well be frightened. So instead, I made myself frightening. I sharpened my wit, my wardrobe and my eye.” – Lady Danbury
- “There are perhaps darker turns in these woods than we’ve been taught to expect, but there is light to be found at their end. And I know that one day, we both will find it.” – Daphne to Eloise
- “In fact, we were just heading out to take our sticks out.”
“A round of fencing!” – Colin and Lady Bridgerton
Bridgerton is now available to stream on Netflix.