The hit Netflix show ‘Bridgerton’ has certainly caused a stir. Yet, it’s original source didn’t see quite the same spotlight. Julia Quinn’s novels blended into the background of modern-day literature. Written back in 2000. The books were shelved amongst other works attempting to rival famous regency literature.
That was, until Shonda Rhimes took those books off the shelf, and shook them to their core. The American producer not only brought the story to life in all it’s regency glory. She altered historic societal structures cemented in colonial life.
No matter which way the 19th Century is analysed, one thing is concrete, everyone had their place. Like modern day, classes governed society. Unlike today, it was almost near impossible to move up the ranks. Especially when it came to the colour of skin.
The Netflix show is set in an era of colonial endeavours, Bridgerton raises questions of diverse nobility. According to historians, black nobility did exist, but the numbers were minor. Which hardly enabled the scales to tip. Rhimes decided to add a few weights to those proverbial scales. Making diversity in the 1800’s as common as corsets. She sought to use the series to reinvent a society built on contradiction and prejudice. This is what makes the adaptation of Quinn’s novels so unique. I’m sure it hasn’t escaped your attention that colour fills all levels of society in the ton.
Let’s take a look at casting, and how it challenges the racial injustices of a Colonial period.
The Queen seems to be the most poignant character to begin with. For two reasons. One, Charlotte is brilliantly played by Golda Rosheuvel. A British born actress who has been a key figure in black theatrical casting changes. The second reason examines Queen Charlotte as a historical figure.
Charlotte was born into a family who ruled Duchy Mecklenburg-Strelitz in the 1700s. According to resources, there are theories that Charlotte had a mixed racial heritage. Historian Mario de Valdes y Cocom proposed portraits show her having African features. Valdes also cited many first-hand accounts of Charlotte’s appearance. One describes her nose as “too wide and her lips too thick.” These descriptions parallel Charlotte’s image to how black people were viewed at the time.
Because of these accusations, Charlotte became celebrated by black colonial subjects. Who saw her image as a beacon of hope for their place in society.
The Duke of Hastings
Simon is hailed as a “real-life Disney prince” by adoring fans. Initially the most obvious rake in the town, the Duke quickly becomes the centre of gossip. He is played by British-Zimbabwean actor Rege-Jean Page.
In episode 4 Lady Danbury reminds Simon that once societies were separated by colour. That was, until a King “fell in love with one of us.” On a few occasions black history is discussed. But it is interesting to see how producers blend modern-day issues with regency politics. Not only has black history altered, but families of colour proudly sit in aristocracy. What’s more? The Duke, although dealing with father issues, seems completely comfortable amongst society. I believe a better casting for the role couldn’t have been found.
The woman who raised Simon sets out to always remind him of his place, where he’s been, and why he should be grateful. As any doting parent-figure should.
When it comes to race, Lady Danbury seems to be the key to exploring how black aristocracy rose in equality. But she is also a key figure in the workings of the complicated 1800s social caste system.
Like Rhimes’ period drama “Still Star-Crossed.” the focal point of Lady Danbury isn’t the colour of her skin. She may have been cast as a black woman. But the true focus of her character centres on her ability to woo the ton and bend the people to her will. In this sense, Lady Danbury plays a vital role. Her character sets out to alter the focus of contemporary racial perceptions. To instead bend the viewer to accept the social charade of the 1800s for what it is.
Marina is an interesting character, and this is enhanced by her casting. Ruby Barker is of mixed-race descent, as is her character. Yet, Marina also exposes a slight flaw in the colour-blind casting technique.
Marina’s storyline closely resembles the stereotyped role of the “tragic mulatta.” This is probably unintentional. Nevertheless, this role has been a popular stereotype used in abolitionist fiction.
The figure of a light skinned mulatta was used by writers to gain sympathy from the reader. Eve Allegra Raimon explains this perfectly in “The Tragic Mulatta Revisited.” This is similar to how Marina Thompson’s endeavours are explored in Bridgerton.
Only passing comments of her father are made. She is described as a “distant cousin” of the Featheringtons. Initially she outshines the jewel in the debutante crown. She then quickly becomes the source of gossip for the town. Marina’s fate is finally sealed once it becomes known that she is with another’s child.
No matter how Bridgerton is analysed in terms of colour-blind casting. It is clear that race was never meant to be a focal point of the story. Instead, societal structures are a central line of focus. Either way, we look forward to seeing what Rhimes has in store for the second season in the ton.
Thank you for reading our article on why Bridgerton from Netflix flips and un-flips racial injustice. What are your thoughts on Bridgerton on Netflix? Let us know in the comments below.
Read five things you missed in Bridgerton HERE.
Read IMDB information about Bridgerton HERE.
Loki Episode 6 – Review
Episode six of Loki from Marvel is here, streaming now on Disney Plus. It’s time for the series finale. Here’s our review.
SPOILERS: If you’re reading this then you’ve probably seen the show, but if not there are spoilers ahead.
More to come
The post-credit scene showed that a second series has already been ordered, meaning this finale is essentially the end of Part One. Thank goodness it is. Because if this was the denouement of the entire Loki story then there’s a good chance it would go down in television infamy as one of the more unusual series endings.
Introducing the big bad
We pick up from Sylvie and Loki’s defeat of The Alioth as they look at the citadel upon the rock at the end of time. They make their way to the entrance, and upon being invited in they’re met by Miss Minutes. It’s been widely predicted that ‘she’ would be an agitator in this series. And at last her role has been revealed. She is an emissary of Kang The Conquerer, embedded within the TVA.
She offers Loki the earth, almost literally, as she tries to coax him to betray Sylvie. Her offers of infinity stones, defeating Thanos etc. Happily, Loki rejects all the trinkets that she offers. Instead, he and Sylvie head into the lift where they meet ‘He Who Remains’ aka Kang The Conquerer. A 31st-century scientist and the true timekeeper.
Sylvie attempts to kill him but he quickly demonstrates some of his powers by dodging and weaving her before she gives in and the three of them sit down for a very long discussion. To sum up what was a lengthy and occasionally fairly tedious scene. He Who Remains (HWR) asks Loki and Sylvie to kill him and take over the role of controlling the timeline. Loki is extremely reticent but Sylvie, angry at what HWR’s meddling has done to her life, is desperate to do so.
Meanwhile, back at TVA HQ, Renslayer is informed by Miss Minutes of HWR’s plan. Showing her dual role and playing on Renslayer’s desperation to keep the TVA active and relevant.
Loki and Sylvie get into a physical fight over what to do with HWR. With Loki recognising how the timeline will fragment with branches springing up all over the place. But Sylvie is consumed by her rage and eventually overpowers Loki, sending him back to the TVA and then kills He Who Remains.
Setting up season two
Loki finds Mobius and tries to explain what has happened. But then discovers the terrible effects of what Sylvie has done by apparently killing HWR. Mobius has no idea who Loki is. This situation is then made worse when Loki looks out to see a statue of He Who Remains adorning TVA HQ. Loki realises that he is in a different timeline branch. One where HWR or Kang is in control of everything. Sylvie has been manipulated into apparently killing him which has enabled him to increase his power further.
Jonathan Majors was masterful as He Who Remains. Which is what you’d expect from someone with a Masters in acting from Yale. He was flamboyant, powerful and mesmerising, which is exactly what you want from a major villain. He will be back in AntMan 3 as Kang The Conquerer and is set to be the key villain in the next phase of the MCU post-Endgame and Thanos.
I have been extremely positive about this series, as I think it has been the strongest and most cohesive of the Marvel series so far this year. But I can’t disagree with anyone who felt short-changed by this finale. My 11-year-old son was pretty vocal in his disappointment the moment the credits rolled, and he was absolutely right. He is one of the most obsessive Marvel fans around and if he was underwhelmed, I feel pretty sure he was reflecting the majority view. Nothing I’ve seen online since has dissuaded me from that either.
Phase 4 groundwork
It seemed that the finale was essentially an exercise in introducing He Who Remains or Kang to our screens ahead of AntMan 3. While this isn’t necessarily a problem, it meant that the focus shifted away from being the climax of this series. Instead of being a prologue for the next phase of the MCU, which does seem a peculiar decision.
There are those who feel that the series original premise of Loki and Mobius teaming up to find Variants dotted around time and space was dropped after the first two episodes. Instead, it was replaced with a love story between Sylvie and Loki and a voyage of discovery with Mobius reduced to a bit part for the rest of the series.
But, the cliffhanger at the end of the series as Loki returns to the TVA does give me hope that Series Two will be an even better follow up.
CULTURE CROSSING SCORE 6/10
Thank you for reading our review of Loki episode six. Do you agree or disagree with our points or have anything to add? If so, leave us a comment below.
Read our Loki episode five review HERE.
Read IMDB information about Loki HERE.
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