The Best ‘Bridgerton’ Episodes, Ranked

Dearest readers: It’s Bridgerton Week at IndieWire. We’re celebrating the new season by diving deep on one of the best romance shows on TV.

The world of “Bridgerton” is no stranger to competition. Among London’s elite, wealthy debutantes and ambitious suitors vie for attention and supremacy on every level, from status and title to the very notion of a “diamond” — the best the season has to offer. What better way to celebrate the eagerly awaited Season 3 (Part 1 now streaming and Part 2 due June 13) than by revisiting past and previous diamonds?

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Now that there are fully 20 of them out in the world, we decided to rank the best “Bridgerton” episodes, and to not overly favor any one season over another. A show doesn’t become an overnight popular horny period sensation without some certified bangers (pun intended), so we revisited Seasons 1 and 2 along with Season 3 – Part 1 to pull the greatest hits.

Whether you’re a Daphne-and-the-Duke diehard, a Kanthony stan, or #fallinforPolin — this list, like the show, has a little something for everyone.

Here are the best “Bridgerton” episodes, ranked.

8. Season 1, Episode 1: “Diamond of the First Water”

It’s difficult if not impossible to revisit the best of “Bridgerton” without the hour that started it all, written by Chris Van Dusen and directed by Julie Ann Robinson. “Bridgerton” premiered on Christmas Day 2020, in the very depths of unvaccinated COVID quarantine, and provided the kind of fantasy respite most people only dared to imagine. Here was Regency England — a diverse, sexy, and glorious reimagining — where people frolicked in ballrooms and promenades in the finest garments, where Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) set upon the straightforward yet surprisingly complicated task of finding a husband. The episode introduced every Bridgerton distinctly, established the family dynamic, and adds the ton’s key players as well as Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews), then shrouded in mystery. If you haven’t rewatched it recently, give it a go — and when the urge follows to binge the entire series, you have our blessing.

7. Season 1, Episode 8: “After the Rain”

After once again failing to speak to each other directly about literally anything, Simon and Daphne openly discuss the trauma that led to him not wanting children, as well as the loving family that enriched Daphne’s life and inspires her to be a parent. The real winner here is communication, and hopefully the Duke and Duchess don’t forget it as they embark on married life. The seeds for future seasons are sown with a heartbreaking end to Anthony and Siena, and Penelope almost telling Colin how he feels before he (not for the last time) decides to fuck off to Europe. The Queen’s forces almost catch Eloise’s hero, Lady Whistledown, but she escapes — and reveals herself only to the audience, as Penelope herself.

6. Season 2, Episode 1: “Capital R Rake”

The ton’s most eligible and incorrigible gentleman is looking to marry — but this is Anthony Bridgerton we’re talking about, and his standards are… a little intense. As joyful as Violet is that her eldest son seeks a wife, she’s less than delighted by his pragmatism as he “interviews” debutantes with his mental checklist. A meet cute involving horses introduces Anthony to Kate Sharma, visiting London from India, and her sister Edwina in her first season. Being both too smart for his own good and too stupid to follow his own intuition, Anthony sets his sights on Edwina when she’s declared the season’s Diamond. What could go wrong? (Eloise also debuts and hates it.)

5. Season 2, Episode 3: “A Bee in Your Bonnet”

The significance of the “Bridgerton” bee is finally revealed, along with the deep-seated trauma Anthony ties to it. Flashbacks reveal how the Viscount we know was thrust into his title after father Edwin’s sudden, tragic death, as well as how the loss undid Violet. In the present, we see the Bridgertons at their finest; joyful, together, and playfully competitive at pall-mall — though perhaps not so playful, when it comes to Anthony and Kate. The game ends up with just the two of them, stubborn as ever but also crucially covered in mud. Anthony is on track to propose to Edwina but doesn’t, perhaps due to the aforementioned mud. This list because Benedict is on drugs for most of it.

4. Season 2, Episode 8: “The Viscount Who Loved Me”

It seems there shall be no peace for Kate and Anthony, who remain estranged after she wakes up from her sex coma and refuses his proposal because of her sister. But Edwina proves surprisingly amenable — as does the rest of the ton because, you know, money — and the former capital-R rake finds himself a Viscountess. The rest of the episode is filled with unrest; Eloise realizes that Pen is Lady Whistledown and immediately severs ties with her, while the new lord Featherington proves to be a financial fraud. This revelation comes from Colin, who quickly loses favor by telling a group of men that he would “never” court Penelope, who overhears and is heartbroken. Unforgivable! Or is it??

3. Season 3, Episode 4: “Old Friends”

Colin is tormented, his entire chemistry altered by the kiss with Penelope, who is not inching but hurtling toward a betrothal to Lord Debling. It may have taken Colin literal years and a pivotal kiss to realize the feelings that Pen always had, but credit where credit is due; once that beautiful, worldly dummy figures it out, he wastes little to no time before telling her the truth, finger banging her in a carriage, and proposing marriage (in that order). It’s a hell of a cliffhanger, which only makes the episode more memorable and satisfying — they’re on the path for sure, but the story isn’t over yet.

2. Season 1, Episode 5: “The Duke and I”

With one misunderstanding after another — including a near-homicide — Daphne and Simon someone, miraculously, end up at the alter. He even declares the authenticity and beauty of his love to the Queen, but Daphne doesn’t believe it because they’re both so committed to thinking that the other person is still performing a ruse and actually hates them! It’s far from a happy day when they wed while barely being able to lock eyes, but on their wedding night at an inn, the truth finally comes out with one specific verb in play: “I burn for you.” They make love for the first time, a point of no return for the show as well as the characters as we collectively descend into horny instrumental bliss.

1. Season 2, Episode 7: “Harmony”

The Bridgertons and Sharmas are the talk of the ton in the worst way when Anthony and Edwina’s broken engagement is the scandal of the season. The families remain peaceful and double down on making the image public, but the ton isn’t having it. Part of the damage control is keeping Kate and Anthony separate, which would be easy enough if they didn’t grab at every opportunity to breathe into each other’s mouths (“Was I truly that naive?” asks a flabbergasted Edwina after they give each other a full look down and inhale during tea). The non-couple comes to blows at the end of the episode, arguing in the gazebo until they find other ways to occupy their mouths — but the night of their dreams turns into a nightmare when Kate falls off her horse the next morning (sex coma!).

“Bridgerton” Season 3 – Part 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

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