Bridgerton. (L to R) Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Simone Ashley...
Liam Daniel/Netflix

Bridgerton Season 2 Is A Love Letter To Mothers Everywhere

And marathoning it is self-care!

The following contains spoilers about Bridgerton Season 2.

Season 2 of Netflix’s Bridgerton not only sizzles with sexual tension and heaving chests, dazzling audiences with breathtaking Regency sets and costumes — it also provides something deeply meaningful for those of us with unresolved issues with our mothers.

Bridgerton, produced by Shonda Rhimes and based on Julia Quinn’s bestselling romance novels, is a fantasy that takes place in a post-racist universe — a step beyond recent productions with colorblind casting, like Hamilton. This early 1800s London high society drama sees race, every character of color has a backstory, but racism no longer exists. This kind of entertainment escape, a temporary, fictional reprieve, is what so many of us seek right now. After all, in real life we are reckoning with ongoing systemic racism in the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, and more, as well as the 11,000 hate incidents against Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) persons recorded by Stop AAPI Hate since the pandemic started.

This fantasy universe is ruled by the fierce Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) and Season 2 centers around the arrival of the Sharma sisters from India: Kate, captivatingly portrayed by Simone Ashley (Sex Education), and Edwina, embodied by winning television newcomer Charithra Chandran, in a plot very loosely inspire by Shakespeare’s Taming of the Shrew. Though last season’s smoldering duke Regé-Jean Page is missed, the rest of the ensemble cast returns along including this season’s male lead, Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey).

Each Bridgerton mother breaks free from societal rules and conditioning to fight for and protect their adult children in unexpected, inspiring ways.

Season 2 delivers not only a temporary break from a reality with racism, it also offers fairy-tale mother-daughter relationships in which the prominent matriarchs all rise to the occasion in a rousing celebration of motherhood — something many of us crave from our own mothers and struggle with as mothers ourselves. Each Bridgerton mother breaks free from societal rules and conditioning to fight for and protect their adult children in unexpected, inspiring ways. This is all to say: Bridgerton Season 2 gifts audiences with epic mom moments. They were the type of speeches some of us didn’t even know we’ve needed to hear — eloquent affirmations, apologies, and regrets we may never hear verbalized in real life. This series reminds us of the importance of our relationship with our mothers, which shapes the type of parents and humans we become.

Though Kate (right) lost her birth mother at a young age, she is fortunate in not only having Mary as a mother who loves and guides her, but also in finding a maternal figure in Lady Danbury. Liam Daniel/Netflix

“I wish for you to know the joy of an exceptional marriage,” Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), whose quiet wisdom fans have come to anticipate, tells her son Anthony. Violet reminds him of this repeatedly, even when there is risk of a major family scandal, because Anthony’s happiness is more important than reputation or wealth. “…If this is not what you want, you must say something now… If you have doubts, do not simply set them aside,” she emphasizes. “This is the most important choice you will ever make. And it would break my heart to see you spend the rest of your life in regret.”

The heartfelt apology Violet gives Anthony for being lost in her grief, likely depression, following her husband Edmund’s death and forcing onto him responsibility beyond his years is even more unexpected. “I’m so sorry it was you who was with your father that day and I am sorry for everything that happened in the days that followed,” she says. “If I could go back and change things — you have no idea how much I wish I could change everything.”

Violet’s powerful words are pivotal for Anthony in processing his loss and its impact and allowing himself true love. This validation of Anthony’s childhood trauma is what he needs to understand love, the kind worth fighting for, even at the risk of debilitating loss. Similarly, Mary Sharma (Shelley Conn) apologizes to stepdaughter Kate for abandoning her emotionally when her husband, Kate’s father, died. Mary frees Kate from the weight she’s been carrying, acknowledging that she should not have left Kate to guide her younger sister Edwina alone.

“You were grieving Appa,” excuses Kate.

“But so were you,” Mary rebukes. “And after you had already lost your mother too.”

“I wish for you to know the joy of an exceptional marriage,” Lady Violet Bridgerton tells her son Anthony.Liam Daniel/Netflix

The significance of these scenes with Anthony and Kate magnify one another. In real life, it’s common for siblings to step into parental roles for younger ones or serve as caretakers for their own parents. The expressions of regret from Violet and Mary, the acknowledgments of what should have been, align with what my therapist shared about mourning a make-believe parent, the ideal one who never existed, as part of the healing journey. These mom scenes in Season 2 honestly present like role-playing exercises in therapy. They play out like what I wish my mother would say to me, to make it easier for all of us to move forward — to bring what is unsaid out into the open.

Mary defines love for her daughter in the precise way she needs.

“You never had to earn your place in this family,” Mary also reminds Kate. “I loved you from the day I met you.”

Like Violet does for Anthony, Mary defines love for her daughter in the precise way she needs. “Oh, love is not something that is ever owed,” she declares. “You came into my life as a daughter, and I never saw you as anything else. It grieves me to think you do not believe you deserve all the love in the world.”

This is a message Kate, who believes she is not worthy of love, needs badly to hear in order to accept the love already in her life, instead of running away.

Though Kate lost her birth mother at a young age, she is fortunate in not only having Mary as a mother who loves and guides her but also in finding a maternal figure in Lady Danbury, played immaculately by the formidable Adjoa Andoh.

“[It is an] offense against truth to hear you say you wish to be alone at a mere 6-and-20,” Lady Danbury fires at Kate. “Content? I’m content because I have lived a life. I’m a widow. I have loved and lost.”

She sternly warns Kate against giving up before trying. “I have earned the right to do whatever I please, whenever I please, and however I please to do it,” Lady Danbury says, explaining to Kate the difference between a content solitude of a life lived well versus a life lived on the sidelines. “Child, you are not me, and if you continue down this road, you most certainly never will be.”

As showstopping as Lady Danbury consistently is, the season’s most unlikely heroine is Portia Featherington (Polly Walker), who in Season 1 and most of Season 2 is depicted as a challenging mother with a poor fashion sense. Portia finds redemption in the finale, however, when she cunningly rejects the offer from Jack Featherington (Rupert Young), the swindling new lord of their household after her husband’s passing, to run away with him to America and abandon her daughters. She turns the tables on him, reclaiming all the power, telling him to never touch her again.

“Portia, we are a team. An excellent one at that,” he pleads.

“I already have a team,” she retorts. “They are three young ladies, often nettling and contrary, but they are mine. And it is clear to me that you do not care about them at all, so I’m sending you away with your favorite person. Yourself.”

“You are cruel,” replies Jack.

“I am a mother,” Portia shoots back without skipping a beat. In that moment, she shows herself as a lioness willing to do anything to protect her daughters in a society in which all of the cards are stacked against women. (In this aspect, the world of Bridgerton stays painfully true to life.) Portia leverages everything she can, including the fact that she will always be underestimated by society, to her advantage to protect her daughters.

All these strong, female characters show what mothers are made of. Bridgerton Season 2 demonstrates once again that in quality writing, though the characters may be specific and the setting fantastical, the themes are universal.

I believe marathoning Bridgerton is a healthy form of self-care for mothers everywhere and that every mother should relish this show in peace. The show provides a much needed mental health break, so that we may replenish our souls, to help process our past hurts, and lose ourselves in a make-believe world of fancy clothes and grand balls with chocolate eclairs — where moms apologize and racism doesn’t exist.