To fans of author Julia Quinn’s novels about the Bridgerton family, it’s clear early on in Netflix’s Bridgerton Season 2 that the series made a bunch of severe right turns away from its source material, The Viscount Who Loved Me. That’s something of a surprise, as Season 1 was generally faithful to the Quinn book it was based on, The Duke and I (even the problematic parts). But even with the changes to Bridgerton Season 2, there are easter eggs from The Viscount Who Loved Me everywhere, nodding back to the source material in their own special way.
Warning: Spoilers for Bridgerton Season 2 and The Viscount Who Loved Me follow. Much like Season 1, several of the episode titles of Bridgerton Season 2’s eight episodes are taken directly from the novel. The season premiere, “Capital “R” Rake,” for example, directly references Lady Whistledown’s opening missive that begins the novel’s first chapter. “The Royal Ascot” is a subject that comes up after dinner — the series just puts the action on the screen instead of off. And of course, the final episode of the season is titled after the whole novel it’s based on, “The Viscount Who Loved Me.”
But those are only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to easter eggs in this season. Here are a dozen more.
1. The Opening Credits
Bridgerton’s premiere episodes are the only ones that do a full opening credits sequence. Eagle-eyed fans will notice the images are different from Season 1 to Season 2. Instead of Daphne’s name on the page, for example, it’s Anthony’s; instead of candles, there’s the Pall Mall wicket; and the dance card is replaced with Anthony’s father’s watch.
2. Anthony’s Father’s Watch
The show largely ignores Book Anthony’s obsession with time, being on time, what time it is, and the constant need to check the heirloom he carries. That’s partly because the show drops a huge aspect of his traumatic response to watching his father die — believing he will die at the same point in his own life. In the novel, he constantly checks his watch because he’s watching the sand go through the hourglass, believing he knows the moment it will run out. Luckily, there is a nod to all this in the opening credits.
3. The Sheffields’ Original Story
Although the series changes Kate’s family’s last name to Sharma (and rewrites her history completely), the old Sheffield name is still part of the story, since it’s Mary’s maiden name. Also, there’s a nod to Kate’s fear of thunderstorms, since her father passed away in the middle of one. However, like Anthony’s obsession with time, it’s merely a nod and not a full-blown trauma response.
4. Anthony’s Parade Of Paramours
The opening montage of Anthony looking for a wife is interwoven with scenes of him leaving various hookups, most of whom seem like Sienna from Season 1 — actors, opera singers, etc. That’s in keeping with where Anthony is when the Viscount novel opens. (In fact, he never has a long-term mistress like Sienna.)
On the show, Kate’s Corgi doesn’t do half of what he gets to do on the page, but he does manage at least to jump on Anthony, annoy just about everyone, and drool all over the place. It’s only a shame Lady Whistledown never slanders the pup in her pages as she does in the novels.
6. The Pall Mall Scene
The series changes a lot of details of Kate and Anthony’s romance, but the competitive Pall Mall game and the famous Lucky Mallet make it to the story, as does the black “Mallet of Death.”
7. The Engagement Ring
The Bridgerton heirloom is exactly as described in the books, and Lady Violet is as reluctant to let Anthony have it when he’s pursuing Edwina in the books as she is happy to let him have it for Kate on the show.
8. Theo’s Chartist Pamphlets
Although the series doesn’t dive deep into Eloise and Theo’s readings on human rights and progressive politics, the two are about a year ahead of their time. There were a lot of writings about the inequality of the class system (Thomas Paine’s Rights of Man, published from 1791-1792, is the most famous). But the actual Chartist movement Theo is pushing started in 1815, a year after the season is set.
9. The Bee Sting
In the novel, Kate’s bee sting is the cause of her and Anthony’s engagement, as Lady Featherington and others see them as he panics and sucks the bee venom from her breast, leaving them in quite the awkward position. The series changes that part up, having Kate calm Anthony, significantly altering their courtship. But the panic gets to stay.
10. Benedict’s Art Education
This is more of an easter egg for The Viscount Who Loved Me’s sequel, An Offer From A Gentleman, but I’ll let it slide. In Benedict’s story, he’s convinced nobody sees him as a serious artist, and that they are right. Part of his journey is discovering his worth as a painter, and this added subplot sets that up nicely for Season 3.
11. Colin’s Sense Of Purposelessness
In the same vein, Colin’s dabbling in Jack’s bad investment scheme is part of the setup for reaching his story, Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. His comments to Penelope are also a part of his setup, chafing against the sensation that his life has so far amounted to nothing and that he isn’t worthy of her because she had a purpose and he does not.
12. Marina & Sir Phillip
This is a carryover easter egg from Season 1, setting up a romance several seasons down the line. That the series did not let the couple completely disappear from the picture until they needed to return suggests it will be cycling them through every season until the show gets to Season 5, and that’s all I’ll say about that for now.
All episodes of Bridgerton Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix.