As I venture forth into Bridgerton I am struck by the large quantity of testosterone abounding in this silly show. Two episodes in, I cannot refrain from sharing my thoughts on the multitude of masculine ego driving various plots in this series, and in this communique I will discuss them. I must also pause to reflect on our dear favorites, Eloise and Penelope, and their ignorance concerning conception. But first…
What the fuck is wrong with the old Duke of Hastings? I mean, seriously. Oh, forgive me. I cannot imagine from whence that foul language originated. It’s so out of character for me. It’s so shocking and vulgar; I cannot imagine someone of my station would utter such words. Let me rephrase: would someone please explain why the old duke casts out his son for a speech impediment? After all, as the boy’s mother lie dying the old duke was thrilled that he finally was given a son–oh, he cared not for the source of the child (wife or no), but only that the child were male. Please accept this likeness of the Hasting men as proof of my estimation:
After all the anguish over the boy’s sex–which is truly about the father’s title and honor–why would he dismiss his son at the age of four for his lack of speech and treat him so cruelly throughout his young life? (Seriously, what is to be gained from this plot other than to make us feel sympathy for the young duke and like him all the more?)
Indeed, I felt such a connection to the child when he tried to speak to the heartless duke and when he eventually asked him why he had let people believe the child dead. I also fist-pumped the air when Lady Danbury took charge of the child and raised him up to be a fine gentleman. These two characters are surely the most agreeable characters in the show. Hastings (as I will now call him, for his father is dead) has many redeeming qualities, including, but not limited to, his own sense of honor, his willingness to defend young Daphne’s honor, his wit, his charm, and let us not forget his dashing good looks. Though depicted as a rake, I see something noble in his character that I am eager to see developed.
Let us compare his finer qualities to two other men–the eldest brother Bridgerton and the nefarious Lord Berbrooke. Daphne’s brother surely has her best interest (and the family’s interests) at heart when he rejects suitor after suitor and condemns her choice (though we know it a ruse) to be courted by Hastings. Surely he isn’t truly the ass he appears to be. After all, what kind of man would tell his mistress–a beautiful opera singer, but alas of the wrong class–that he will protect her forever and then dump her (“leave,” he said) because he needs to appear to have more honor? What kind of man would accuse his own friend (dear Hastings) of “sleeping around” as the young call it when he himself is doing the same? What kind of man would prostitute his own sister to a buffoon, pray tell, because he has not been rumored to live licentiously when in fact we know he has. Indeed, Berbrooke’s maid was with child and sent to the country for good reason.
Let me share with you my thoughts on that incredulous fool. Berbrooke! Distasteful. Disgusting. Disrespectful. Disagreeable. Dishonest. How dare he compare dear Daphne to a horse? How dare he attempt to coerce her family into forcing her to marry him so that he can raise his situation? How. dare. he. He got what he deserved, in the previous episode by Daphne’s hand and in this one by Hastings’.
May I also add that Hastings gave Lord Bridgerton a few blows to the body that he also deserved? Further, I will say that I applaud Hastings’ final words to his father–what better way to send the old man packing than to deny him his own vanity. Take that, I say!
Now I must turn my thoughts to the lovely innocents, Eloise and Penelope, who naively ask, where do babies come from, mama? I have included their portraits here for your perusal:
It seems absurd to imagine that these two girls, especially Eloise, cannot deduce how children are conceived. To state that they are the product of marriage but not to understand how seems to be written for comedic effect, but I question its placement in this plot. Eloise seems to be what the moderns would call a “feminist.” Penelope is simply ignorant, but I expect more from Eloise. I see why Penelope cannot understand the place from whence children are conceived, for this sets her up nicely to ask dear Marina how it happened and for Marina to exclaim, love! Clearly we all know that love has nothing to do with conception, for how many women have married for anything but love and have borne many children! I do wonder what the viewer is to understand here–that all girls are foolish, including Marina who is now “ruined” because she fell into the trap we dare call love?
I fear this note has exceeded the pleasure of your reading and must conclude. I welcome your thoughts about the subjects of this letter, and I look forward to writing to you again when I have learned more about the world of Bridgerton.
Your humble servant and amiable friend,