Claudia Jessie Breaks Down The Bridgerton Season 2 Finale: ‘It is Brutal’

Spoilers forward.

Maybe the connection between Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) would not get the marquee billing of its steamier counterparts, but when the Bridgerton season 2 finale proved something, it is that the duo know methods to execute a satisfyingly stinging break-up. Even when it simply so occurs to be a platonic one.

The most recent chapter within the lavish Shondaland interval drama sees Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) discovering his coronary heart’s need within the sudden: Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley), the older sister of his fiancée, Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran). This proves awkward, actually, although maybe not fairly as awkward because the revelation to come back: As we all know from season 1, Penelope is secretly moonlighting because the infamous gossip columnist Woman Whistledown, whose identification Eloise spends a lot of season 2 searching down. Her quest solely escalates after Whistledown writes about Eloise’s scandalous friendship with Theo Sharpe, a printer’s assistant on the store the place Whistledown publishes her supplies. Backed right into a nook and scorned by the ton, Eloise breaks off their budding romance; when she finally discovers Whistledown is, in truth, her closest good friend, the fallout is swift and, in Jessie’s phrases, “brutal.”

As a sobbing Penelope makes an attempt to regain Eloise’s belief, she guarantees the gossip pamphlet isn’t any extra. “Whistledown has been all I’ve had, and I’ve given it up,” she says. “I’m achieved with it. I wrote what I wrote, and I gave it up for you.” To which Eloise coldly responds, “I don’t even know you.” Mere minutes later, the finale credit roll.

To handle such a startling finish to the season—and soothe any considerations about reconciliation—the 32-year-old Jessie shared how the large break-up scene got here collectively, Eloise’s rising sense of autonomy, her relationship with Theo, and what’s to come back in season 3 and beyond.

bridgerton l to r nicola coughlan as penelope featherington, claudia jessie as eloise bridgerton, luke newton as colin bridgerton, luke thompson as benedict bridgerton in episode 206 of bridgerton cr liam danielnetflix © 2022

Nicola Coughlan and Claudia Jessie as Penelope Featherington and Eloise Bridgerton in season 2 of Bridgerton.

LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

How did filming this season really feel completely different than the final? Was there added stress, understanding how huge of a phenomenon the present has change into?

I believe all of us had been conscious [last season, that the show could blow up]. It is Shondaland; it is Netflix. These are two giants within the recreation. [The cast] all bought alongside—nonetheless get alongside—so effectively, so we simply blasted via it. After which it completed on twenty eighth of February 2020, after which the world broke.

Even when it got here out at Christmas, within the U.Ok., we had been in our third and probably longest, bleakest lockdown. After which once we bought again for season 2, I need to admit it was such a horrendous time for individuals. Personally, any success that we had garnered was eclipsed by how fortunate we had been to have a job at a time the place so many individuals did not have work, and had misplaced companies, and misplaced cash, and I simply felt so fortunate. I could not consider I set to work and do one thing I really like a lot.

However, I believe, making an attempt to take away the pandemic and COVID—I am undecided what it is like for the [cast] which have entered in season 2, however for these of us who had been there from the start, it actually was simply getting again into our costumes, and playing around with one another once more, and attending to be across the folks that we love. It actually wasn’t till really filming season 2 that it hit me, like, “Oh, God. Yeah, individuals actually did prefer it.”

Eloise is a way more central character in season 2. That is her coming-out season, and we all know earlier than we even watch it occur that she’ll hate each second. What was it wish to movie these comedic scenes, as she’s dragged via these despised rituals?

I used to be actually wanting ahead to it as a result of, such as you stated, if anybody had any predictions of what Eloise was going to be like when she enters society, they’re most likely spot on. She’s going to actually hate it, and to try to discover methods of unsubscribing from it. Whether or not that is bribing a footman or one thing.

I believe Eloise is so younger. Once I first performed her, she was 17 years outdated. That is insane. I used to be nothing after I was 17 years outdated. I did not know what the hell was happening, and I am conscious that that youthfulness must be portrayed by me. I am a 32-year-old lady with a really deep voice, and I’ve to placed on that form of spritely factor Eloise has. I consciously try to make [myself] stroll and transfer in a different way within the costumes, or sit in a different way, so it’s clear that she’s younger and he or she would not wish to be part of etiquette.

Why do you assume Eloise feels as trapped as she does on this society? It would not appear to trouble Daphne or her mom and even Penelope in fairly the identical method. What makes Eloise as resistant as she is?

This present, I believe the explanation individuals prefer it a lot, is that it is a interval piece that does an excellent job of representing individuals; I do not assume that is been achieved as skillfully earlier than. And there needs to be a voice that is near the viewers. I believe Eloise is admittedly near the viewers. She’s actually near all these wonderful younger girls throughout the globe making an attempt to do issues that aren’t anticipated of them.

I believe what’s sensible about Eloise is, somewhat than simply rallying towards [society], she questions issues. So if somebody’s like, “You could go to those balls,” she’ll be like, “Why? I do not get it. Why do I’ve to?” or, “Why cannot I earn my very own cash?”

I believe feminism and the feminist narrative is artfully peppered all through the entire characters. I simply assume Eloise is the one with the megaphone. As a result of the neatest factor to do is to offer it to the comedy character, since you join with somebody who’s humorous instantly.

bridgerton season 2

Liam Daniel/Netflix

There are cases the place taking the fiercely impartial feminine character and giving her a romance plot can really feel trite, even patronizing. However on this explicit storyline, when Eloise meets Theo, their rapport feels pleasantly pure. Why do you assume that’s?

What she’s been used to in her very quick period of time out in society is the expertise of unequal relationships. Whereas, with Theo, they actually jab at one another instantly, and that is an indication of an equal relationship. He is not patronizing her. They’re making enjoyable of one another. It is consensual backwards and forwards.

So she likes that. I believe she likes that it is somebody exterior of the society she is aware of, exterior of the ton, as a result of she finds that her setting is so stale. Story-wise, I agree with you: I believe it is really extra thrilling to see somebody like Eloise have intimate emotions for somebody. As a result of I believe there’s this concept that Eloise denounces love! I do not assume she does. I believe she denounces the efficiency of all of it. I believe she denounces the construction that it exists inside. So I believe she tries to rally towards that somewhat than the precise notion of affection, as a result of she would not know—she would not understand how infants are made. She would not know what love is. I believe when this [romance] begins to occur, it is thrilling for her.

However arguably probably the most intense relationship of all the season is that between Eloise and Penelope. And it is fascinating—their friendship begins to fray from the primary episode, lengthy earlier than Eloise learns Woman Whistledown’s identification. How did you and Nicola speak via that pressure, understanding the place it might finally lead you?

I used to be so happy after I bought the [script for] the episode the place Eloise was going to seek out out. I believe it is such an excellent factor to do—as a result of the top of season 1, we discover out [Lady Whistledown] is Penelope. The one different satisfying factor on the finish of season 2 is for the individual all people needs to seek out out probably the most to discover out, proper? As a result of the stakes are the best with Eloise. It is probably the most impactful.

Nicola is so candy, so she’d all the time be like, “Oh God, I can not consider Penelope’s doing this…” However I completely get it. I completely get why [Penelope] hasn’t advised [Eloise]. She will’t, as a result of in any other case she will be able to’t fulfill her job. She would not have the ability to write as frankly as she does in regards to the Bridgertons. She additionally would not come from the identical heat home setting that Eloise does. There’s a lot to unpack. It is grim. It is so unhealthy, however I get it.

And I believe we additionally wanted to take heed to their age. Once you fall out with a mate for the primary time, it is probably the most horrific factor. The stakes are simply always so excessive as a result of they’re younger. Penelope has bought a lot to carry onto, and Eloise needs to interrupt out of society. And I believe Eloise thinks her reply to that’s discovering out who Woman Whistledown is.

Why do you assume Eloise studying Woman Whistledown’s identification would assist her escape society?

I believe it is escapist. I believe it is escapism. I believe she genuinely does admire that there is somebody getting cash, a lady getting cash independently, via writing. I believe Eloise most likely needs to be Woman Whistledown a bit, in order that’s why it is so fascinating.

Going into season 3, the place does that go away Eloise? When she does discover out this individual she’s admired for 2 seasons, because it had been, seems to be a finest mate? What’s Eloise left with then? She’s going to have to determine what she needs on her personal somewhat than dwelling via this quest.

We, in fact, knew this second would come finally, when Eloise would be taught Penelope’s actual identification. However did you assume it might play out like this?

That is higher than something I might’ve imagined. When me and Nicola first learn it, I used to be like, “Ah. I do not even have to do something as a result of it is all there within the script.” I actually wished to ensure it did not simply change into a screaming match as a result of firstly, that is a bit boring. However the script would not actually enable for that, anyway.

Particularly for Eloise, she’s extremely contained. She’s livid. So I believe it is higher than I might have imagined, and I simply adore it. I adore it as a result of I do know, for the people who find themselves correct die-hard followers, it should be wonderful to look at. That makes me so pleased, although it is brutal.

bridgerton claudia jessie as eloise bridgerton in episode 207 of bridgerton cr liam danielnetflix © 2022

LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

What was it like, really filming that battle?

Each time they referred to as lower, we would have slightly cuddle. As a result of we had been nervous for it. We had been nervous. We had been speaking about it for weeks forward of taking pictures. We solely get two scripts at a time every block, so we did not actually know too far upfront. So once we bought episodes 7 and eight, we noticed the argument after which we began speaking about it. We had been simply so excited and we wished to nail it.

Is there a world during which Eloise forgives Penelope, and what do you assume it can take for that to occur?

Sure. Eloise goes to must hear, I believe. Eloise goes to must hear as a result of I believe that is what Eloise would not do loads, is hear.

I believe she’s probably the most fabulous creature. I really like enjoying her with my complete coronary heart. She’s the most effective factor that is ever occurred to me, that character, however she must hear. As a result of she talks. There isn’t any filter.

And I do not assume Penelope’s blind to how a lot she’s harm her. I believe she’s identified the entire time. So I do not assume Penelope really must work that tough. I believe Eloise wants to have the ability to hear, after which forgive.

However I additionally assume that Eloise—I believe Eloise will not inform anybody. I believe Eloise will proceed to be an excellent mate and never inform anybody, as a result of what does Eloise achieve, actually? Yeah, I do assume they’re going to make up, however I do not assume it should occur shortly.

We all know the present’s been renewed for seasons 3 and 4. What do you most need for Eloise within the subsequent chapter?

One secret dream is she will get to inform Theo why she did issues the best way she did them. I might love—not even for them to finish up being a pair or something. I’d simply love for him to know. I would like Eloise to have the ability to clarify herself.

[The cast] genuinely is aware of nothing [about what happens next]. We all know nothing in regards to the subsequent few seasons, however for Eloise, an extra story? I might like to see her change into political. I do know that romance is such an vital a part of this present, and it’s in all places. It is stunning. However I do assume it might be—to not ignore romance with Eloise, in fact—however I do assume there’d be one thing actually cool about her discovering her path. I really need her to seek out hers after which change into political about it. I believe that might be actually cool.

Within the books, Eloise’s story, because it’s referred to as, would not play out till ebook 5. And if the present continues to observe chronological order, that might imply the fifth season could be hers—until, in fact, issues are condensed and truncated. Do you hope to stay round so long as this present continues?

Pay attention, I am going to play Eloise for so long as they’re going to let me. I am going to fortunately be doing this fashion into my 40s.

However there is not any need—and I wish to be honest about this—there is not any need to do it so I can lead this present. That is not what it’s, as a result of really, the place Eloise has sat in season 1 and the place she sits in season 2 is so stunning to me. It is not like she did not have her moments. Individuals actually related along with her, and I simply wish to proceed to try this.

But when something like [a leading role] does occur, effectively then, I am the luckiest lady on this planet as a result of I’ve had fairly a run-up. I have been capable of see individuals actually do it and be taught from them. I might be very grateful for no matter was put in my lap by Shondaland and Netflix.

This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.

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