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Bridgerton reminds us of the world we all hope for

Contains spoilers for series three of Bridgerton

With season three of Netflix’s Bridgerton up and running, viewers keenly await the release of the final episodes next week. While it’s primarily known for steamy storylines and beautiful costumes, the real draw of the wildly popular show is its desire to redeem and beautify the world it sees. Author Julia Quinn explains that the raison d’être of the novels is to provide happy, satisfying endings – right down to the props used.

For example, horticulturally minded viewers might notice Bridgerton’s permanently blooming wisteria. In our world, it’s a plant that only flowers for a few weeks. In the Bridgerton universe, however, the wisteria is always in bloom.

Season three follows Penelope Featherington, a young woman who undergoes a thorough glow up in an attempt to change her romantic fortunes. Already, Penelope’s romantic arc appears poised for joyful resolution, as she finds herself on the receiving end of a breathless carriage-side proposal at the close of the fourth episode.

Similarly, there’s a sense in which the show is looking to right past wrongs, evident in the showrunners’ decision to diversify the cast and reimagine a Regency society in which some semblance of racial equality had been achieved.

There’s a dark side to this instinct, however. In season one, the show gave the lead couple a ‘happy ending’ of sorts, though controversially abuse within the relationship was left unresolved. The show is notoriously full of sex, which can make the cast seem objectified. Even the crafting of a fictionalised racially equal past has been criticised, with one historian accusing the show of ‘overlooking of the realities of that period’.

To judge Bridgerton fans as undiscerning in their viewing habits misses the legitimate desires for justice, love, and beauty that attract them to the show. However, while Bridgerton fuels these desires, it only does so by escaping the real world, where racial injustice still exists, relationships break down, and flowers decay.

In fact, nothing within this world ever does satisfy these desires. And, as CS Lewis wrote in Mere Christianity, ‘the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.’

So, when disappointed love and injustice appear, Christians have good news to share with Bridgerton fans. And we’re invited by God’s Spirit to prophetically foreshadow this in how we live. Because God is bringing about a new world where good desires are fulfilled, justice is done, and perfect love reigns – not just for a few weeks of the year, but in bloom for all eternity.

Eliza Bailey
Eliza writes a Substack newsletter, More by Reaping, on literature and the Bible – discover more here.

Comments

  1. For ever! Amen

    By Mark Knight  -  7 Jun 2024

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