An Honest Recap Of ‘Bridgerton’ Episode 1

By Sara Levine | January 4, 2021
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I, like many others, was sick of seeing Bridgerton memes, tweets, and references take over my timeline without understanding WTF it all meant. Having already finished all the true crime documentaries on offer on HBO and Netflix, I figured it was time to turn my attention in a completely different direction: the London marriage market circa 1813. So I’m ready to bring you, in the style of my Princess Switch and Holidate recaps, an honest recap of the first episode of Bridgerton.

We open in Grovernor Square, in 1813, and I know this because there’s a convenient voiceover that explains everything that’s going on. We meet the Bridgerton family, who’s basically known for being well-looking and rich. Kind of like my family. Daphne, the Kim of the Bridgertons, is being slow af to get ready for some very important event, so one of the sisters does what we all do when we need to get our parents’ attention from the other room: yell DAPHNE!!!!!! TAKE HASTE!!! I’m just surprised Daphne doesn’t yell back “WHAT DID YOU SAY??? WHAAAAT???”

We have a f*ckboy brother who’s MIA and I know this because the matriarch remarks to one of his brothers, “if your brother is to be Lord Bridgerton, he needs to act like Lord Bridgerton. Where is he?” Cut to: him f*cking some wench behind a tree while his guard pretends not to watch.

The guard: I doth not get recompensed enough for this. 

So I guess the purpose of this meeting is to present one of the sisters to the Queen to, like, see if she’s a suitable wife? Listen, I don’t know, I barely know how the dating scene works in NYC, where I live — you want me to understand the intricacies of the 19th century London marriage market? No. All I do know is that an eligible bachelorette from another family literally falls at the Queen’s feet because her corset was too tight. A real 1800s Jennifer Lawrence. Ya hate to see it. 

Daphne Bridgerton’s turn goes a lot better, with the Queen taking her chin in her hand and saying “flawless, my dear.” Everyone seems thrilled (in a very understated kind of way) so I’m guessing this is good news. Except! The narrator warns us that “the brighter a lady shines, the faster she may burn”. In the biz, we call that foreshadowing.

Saith the voiceover: “It’s been said that of all bitches dead or alive, a scribbling woman is the most canine.” Cool I have no idea what that means but I do know I’m putting it in my Instagram bio.

So basically Lady Whistledown is like the Victorian Gossip Girl. XOXO, I f*cking love this mess.

Daphne is all of us recounting the Queen’s compliment to her family: She called me flawless… or whatever she said, I don’t even remember, I mean who even cares? She’s just the Queen, LOL.

Lady Whistledown sings Daphne’s praises, and the Bridgertons are eating it up. Over at the family of the girl who fell (hey voiceover lady, could you help me out here?) they are PISSED. Also, Lady Whistledown is my stripper name. Just putting it out there now.

Penelope, who we know is supposed to be the ugly fat sister (I don’t make the rules, I’m just reporting on the portrayal!), doesn’t want to get married, she just wants to study, and that’s how I know she’s a real bitch. There’s also a cousin who’s coming to stay with them because she’s basically hopeless in the job market elsewhere. 

Elsewhere, some hottie in a black coat rolls up to the Danbury’s (I only know their name because of the subtitles, so TG for that) who’s only returning to London to deal with his late father’s sh*t after his recent death. 

Does anyone else get major Todd from Wedding Crashers vibes from the f*ckboy Bridgerton brother? The way he just leers at Siena (the aforementioned wench) as she’s doing her opera scales right before he f*cks her creeps me out. 

Bridgerton

Tell me I’m wrong!!

So there’s basically going to be this party where all the families present their eligible members and they dance like in Romeo and Juliet and whatnot. Kind of like Ye Olde Singles Mixer.

Upstairs, the moms talk sh*t about some girl who got caught “unchaperoned” with some man and ended up with a shotgun wedding. Did they have shotguns back then, or was it more of a musket wedding? Anyway, Penelope’s mom refers to her as “Light skirts” — a vintage way of calling someone easy.

Todd (don’t know his real name, subtitles have not come through yet) is the best wingman ever, exposing a Lord and potential suitor for Daphne for skipping out on his debts. I mean, it takes a f*ckboy to know a f*ckboy, so this checks out.

Marina Thompson, I have learned, is the cousin, and she’s ready to f*ck sh*t up. The mom is like, “she’s rather dowdy, is she not?” Just hating. Marina is a regulation hottie and mom knows it.

Black Cloak Hottie has arrived to the party, this time in a red velvet blazer, and all the girls are swooning. Can’t say I don’t get it. 

Daphne goes to get lemonade and some weirdo goes up to her like, “tiny glasses?” And she’s like, “yea I guess…” this seems to be like a dick joke but this man does NOT have BDE. Ew ew ew. In her haste to run away from this creeper, she runs straight into Cloak Hottie. 

With Lord Creeper approaching, she says to His Hotness, “tell me your name” and he’s like “wow, you don’t know who I am? I refuse to believe that.” Spoken like every Instagram “influencer” with 4k followers.

The brother is actually a real one for being like, “don’t dance with any of these Jabronis. They all want you, so now you need to leave them wanting more and not dance with any of them.” Things I will remind myself when the club reopens.  

So now it’s the day after the dance, meaning it’s time for the suitors to come calling. I still don’t recall the name of the other family but I can tell they’re trashier because of their mom’s overall attitude and overuse of color in the wardrobe. All the suitors come for the cousin, and she is not happy.

And it appears maybe Daphne’s decision not to dance was overplaying her hand, because none of the suitors come to the Bridgerton house and instead come to check out Miss Thompson. The only action Daphne gets is from Lord Creeper.

Actual footage of Daphne: 

Honestly that sucks but as someone who’s constantly been passed over for my hotter friends I can’t help but feel a slight sense of schadenfreude. 

Hastings (the hot one) is determined to not take a wife. He even goes so far as to say “Hastings was my father’s name” which like… doesn’t work for last names, dude. It’s yours too. Anyway, this is true dedication to the f*ckboy lifestyle. I can almost respect it. Almost. 

Hastings is like, “looks like the pot calling the kettle a f*ckboy” (I paraphrase) which is true since Lord Bridgerton over here is just porking some mistress that everybody knows about with no inclination of ever taking a wife. Am I watching Bridgerton or Queen’s Gambit, because ok, checkmate with that comeback.

So Lady Whistleblower (I forgot her name, get used to this) is predicting that Lord F*ckboy is going to Woo Miss Thompson. Ok I was close, it’s Whistledown. 

The Bridgertons invite Hastings to dinner and Daphne has got the heat now. Hastings is like, “I thought you’d be happy we’re sitting next to each other” and Daphne goes, “Perhaps you’d be better not thinking about me at all.” 

Me: 

That is an 18th century neg that I am keeping in my back pocket, thank you very much. 

She calls him “a rake through and through”. I looked it up and this is basically a scrub who pisses his money away and/or is a womanizer. You’re welcome.

Daphne: I assure you, I’m anything but interested in you
Hastings: And I you
Daphne: Takes one to know one
Hastings: I know you are, but what am I?

Right, right. I buy that these two aren’t interested in each other as much as I bought it in Holidate

Later that night, the brother is in his office writing some letter in a quill and ink or whatever and the mom comes in.

Brother: I can’t believe you’re trying to set up Daphne with my friend. He has no intention of marrying.
Mom: All men say that.

I mean, ok but where is the lie. 

The brother also says Daphne deserves better. Now, unless he knows something we don’t know or he has not set eyes on the man, I’m eagerly awaiting his reasoning on how that can be true. 

The mom is like “look dude, if she follows your advice she’s going to be married to Lord Creeperton, so are you her brother or her cockblock?” Tbh if there’s an incest plot awaiting us I’m going to throw my computer out the window now. 

The next day Lord F*ckboy dumps his side hoe because he has to “do what’s necessary”. This bitch is like, “you said you’d always protect me, what shall I do now?” and he goes “you shall leave”

oh shit

So we’re at another dance (how many social obligations do these people have, I would be jealous except that choreography is one of my weaknesses) and Penelope and Collin encounter each other. Sorry for not noting this earlier, Collin is a definite cutie who you can tell is just as into books as Penelope. God, to be alive in an age where reading books was a noteworthy personality trait. 

Some other bitch comes up and spills her drink on Penelope while asking Collin to dance. Collin, a true ride-or-die, turns her down and instead escorts Penelope to the dance floor. Love this.

Just then we have to interrupt the dance for a never-before-seen event and it’s… tea lights. To be fair, this is probably also how the first women on Pinterest planning a wedding reacted to the advent of tea lights.

Bridgerton

Lord Brother F*ckboy finds Daphne to be like, “ok so you’re going to marry Lord Creeperton because there’s nothing explicitly wrong with him, and the sooner I find you a husband the sooner I can get back to banging my side chick.” The first part of that is spoken like my dad trying to set me up with his friend’s son whom he has never even laid eyes on.

Meanwhile, back at the Tackytons (the name I have given the other salty family who dresses in garish colors), the mom has figured out that Miss Thompson hasn’t gotten her period and deduced that she must be pregnant. 

In true Shonda Rhimes fashion, Miss Thompson gives some monologue about how elitist her aunt is and the aunt promptly slaps her in the face. Take a drink if unnecessary monologues were in your drinking game.

Daphne, faced with the prospect of marrying someone truly gross, takes a lonesome walk in the garden, where Lord Creeperton finds her to be like “you should be lucky I’m agreeing to marry you, nobody else will.” Then in true creep fashion, Lord Creeperton attempts to assault Daphne and she punches him in the face. F*CK YES! YE OLDE GIRL POWER!

At that moment, Duke Hot Stuff walks up to witness Daphne’s one-two punch. They both bond over their hatred of Lady Whistledown, and ok I see where this is going. A fake marriage plot so they can both get Lady Whistledown off their backs? Do I watch too many f*cking holiday movies? The answer to both of those questions is yes. 

Ok so now I don’t even need to watch the rest of this show, because I know how this is gonna go. They fake an attachment so they can both reap the social benefits. Meanwhile, one of them will fall in love for real (I’m guessing Daphne due to Lord Hastings’ constant insisting that he will never marry — we get it dude). When they make that feeling known, the other will be incredulous that they could have lost sight of the grift. Ashamed, the scorned lover will flee — which will make the other party realize their love was real all along. 

And on that note, I’m out. No need to spend the remaining 9 hours of my life watching this tired plot play out. Then again, this is Shonda Rhimes, so this could have more twists than a curly fry. Should I recap more episodes? LMK! 

LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

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