Get ready for the yelling! Not the characters’ yelling. Mine. I found myself super frustrated while watching episode 4–more frustrated by this episode than any of the others thus far. Why? Better question might be what is there not to yell at? 😀
Funny thing is that I’m not the only one. When I Googled “Bridgerton episode 4” the first article that popped up was this Vulture.com piece called “Bridgerton Recap: Garden Body Party,” and the first words of the article: “Reader: I yelled.” I haven’t read the article yet, but I bet it points out the same things. 🙂
Here’s my list of frustrations, and please let me know if you share any of these:
- Remember how I said in my post about episode 1 that the series seems to suggest that this version of Regency England is colorblind, but I see signs of that not being true? Well, in episode 4 we learn that I was right. While I enjoy being right, I really don’t get why this scene with Lady Danbury and Hastings was thrown into episode 4. Like, the placement of it here doesn’t make sense to me, and then the reason behind it is even worse.
The actors all do a great job with the parts, but I don’t think the logic in the writing holds up. For instance, in the scene in question Lady Danbury says that things used to be different socially, racially. She suggests that white people did not see people of color as equals; oh, no, the white people looked down on the Black people, but then miraculously everything changed when King George chose Charlotte, clearly a woman of color in this alternate universe, for his wife because of L-O-V-E. Then, everything fell into place, and the races were equal, and people of color were given titles of nobility, and it seems that everyone forgot about skin color. After all, Anthony and Simon were besties at college, right?
The timeline for this social change, which is completely absent from the conversation, would suggest that two generations (at most three) of nobles of color would actually have benefited from the king and queen’s egalitarian culture. That would mean that old Hastings could have been given a title, and his son could be the second duke–maybe this was something that was explained in the second episode; maybe not. Could that be why the old duke freaked out about his son’s stutter? Could this be why it’s so harsh for the new duke to not want an heir–what an honor to have had the title bestowed upon his father, and then the duke wants to end it all?
The love-conquers-all argument, though, pleaaaaase. We all know that it’s a bunch of BS. Kings don’t marry for love. Neither do would-be-queens. They marry for political alliances. On top of that, even if George III (whose mental problems the show seems to not have addressed thus far unless I missed it) did have feelings for Charlotte, if she were Black and he white and the world were as racist then as it is now–it certainly was–he never would have married her. He would have found a white royal to marry. So the notion that he could overlook her race, or loved her because of it, and then that the two of them changed the social attitudes about race and that their subjects accepted it so quickly and moved on is unbelievable.
If we follow the model of reality, here’s what I would expect to find: he marries a Black queen, his subjects turn on him, they fabricate some plot to dethrone him, and he probably gets his head chopped off. That’s what happened to Charles I because he and his Catholic wife liked to party, and in recent history contemporary to the time of the show France’s Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette met the same fate (too much cake?). Love has nothing to do with marriage in this high-class world, whether you’re king or lord. You can only marry for love if you are of a middling-class or poor, and even then not so much. OK, I could rant about this all day. I’ll stop. I hope this doesn’t sound like I don’t think a woman of color should be queen because I do. I just don’t think this show is going about this in a realistic way–you can’t have it both ways with the fictional queen’s race not mattering and mattering at the same time. Even if the show’s creators have drawn on the idea that the real Queen Charlotte did have African ancestry.
- Here’s another thing that bothers me: the fact that we need an artist orgy scene. Whatever. You know someone was like, hey, we need some nipples in this episode. We haven’t had any full frontals yet. Hmm, how about an artist orgy scene? It’s actually not something that shocked or surprised me. It just felt like a gimmick, and it was boring, too. I thought brother #2 was gay, actually. Maybe he is and we’ll find that out later.
- Another frustration: male egos AGAIN. I am at a point in the series where I can’t stand any of these dudes. The Bridgertons, aka The Jonas Brothers (a friend called them this), are annoying AF–all of them–but especially Lord Anthony Bridgerton, who is in love with a singer but won’t marry her (although he will have sex with her aplenty) because of her lower class. Mr. Featherington (aka, Mr. Bird Brain–I came up with this one) has gambled away his daughters’ dowries, thus thwarting their positions on the marriage market and thus dooming them all. What a pig! The old geezer who wants to marry Marina and sized her up in a scene like one would a horse or a soon-to-be enslaved person really pisses me off. (For real, people abducted from Africa and sent west were inspected publicly like Marina was in the family living room.) That guy needs to go die and save us all some grief.
Then there’s our hero, Simon, Duke of Hastings, who knew that kissing a girl in a garden would ruin her but did it anyway, and when he was found out simply stated, “I cannot.” He cannot marry the girl he loves? Why the hell not? Not because of class. Not because he’s already married. No, it seems that he can’t marry her because he made a vow of revenge against his father never to have an heir. Oh, OK. He’s gonna let Daphne be ruined for male pride. Nice one, dude.
And let us not forget that we have to have a duel for this show to do its thang. There was duel foreshadowing a couple of times before the gauntlet was dropped on Hastings. I dunno about you, but it seems to me that Lord B just wanted to shoot someone. He got his chance when an “affair of honor” caused him to challenge his now former best friend. How dare you ruin my sister! A duel! Lo, a duel would actually let him leave England with his mistress and shirk his responsibility as eldest son. Win! Unless he dies in the duel. Lose! Eh, this scene felt contrived. I mean, Hastings has his gun pointed in the air–not gonna shoot–and Bridgerton still shoots at him? Wtf? Luckily (?), Daphne rode into the middle of a gun fight, stopped the duel, didn’t get shot, and…well…was told by our hero for a second time that she will not be getting married to Hastings. Damn, girl! But wait, she declares that they are marrying. End scene and episode.
The Prussian prince actually doesn’t seem so bad compared to these dopes!
I think that’s enough to address for now. I yelled a lot of “what?!”s at the TV. I shook my head and smirked. My husband actually said he doesn’t know if he can continue to keep watching, but I know he will. Bridgerton is a wreck, and we’re all rubberneckers.
See you next time when I talk about episode 5!