The first-ever Bridgerton spin-off series Queen Charlotte finally decided to feature two queer characters in the ensemble. However, in my opinion, the featured queer representation felt lacking.
I had some choice words for Bridgerton Season 1 when it debuted back in December 2020. And while the first season had a minor queer character, the second season (released in 2022) decided to omit queerness completely. So, that’s why I was surprised to see that Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story had two queer characters playing an integral role in the six-episode long season.
Taking place during 1814 as well as 1761, we get to learn about how Charlotte met and then fell in love with King George. Trying to do their best to support the relationship between the two royals are Brimsely (Charlotte’s servant) and Reynolds (George’s servant).
Episode 2 had Brimsely and Reynolds hooking up, and from there, the two queer men faced certain troubles due to their respective loyalties and wanting to have a romantic relationship as gay men.
Even though I appreciated the Bridgerton franchise finally deciding to focus a bit on queer representation, I was disappointed at how “tame” the intimate scenes between Brimsely and Reynolds were. I mean, in a series famous for basically being softcore porn, seeing the creative team not really doing much with Brimsely and Reynolds, except giving them a lot of tender hand-holding and stolen glances, made me roll my eyes. It just felt odd because the six episodes had tons of highly sexy scenes featuring heterosexual characters.
Other than that, the fate of the romance between Brimsely (Sam Clemmett) and Reynolds (Freddie Dennis) was left ambiguous at the end. An older Brimsely (Hugh Sachs) was seen remembering a dance he shared with Reynolds during their younger days. But as of right now, we don’t know if Reynolds is even alive in the present timeline.
The last conversation the younger versions of the queer men had was about how they could last forever while serving the Queen and King and how true love had the power to perform miracles. So, seeing an older Brimsely all alone didn’t feel right.
And yes, I continue to side-eye the creatives behind Bridgerton. The fictional world they have created was somehow free of racism, and yet queer people were still forced to remain sad and share moments with their loved ones in secret.
Anyway, having said that, I guess I will give a couple of points to Bridgerton for finally shining the spotlight on queer characters, even if said representation occurred in a spin-off and the love story was left on a sad note.
Let’s see if Bridgerton Season 3 will see sense and allow one or two of the Bridgerton siblings to come out as queer. And as for whether or not Reynolds is alive in the present? Well, here’s hoping the upcoming third season provides some kind of answer.
Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story was released on Netflix on May 4, 2023.
If you ask me, I wouldn’t recommend watching it just for the sake of Brimsely and Reynolds. They don’t have a lot of screen time together, and the primary romance is still a heterosexual one. You can catch highlights between the two on YouTube or Twitter.
What did you think of the queer representation being offered by the latest Bridgerton spin-off?
Let us know.
Farid has a Double Masters in Psychology and Biotechnology as well as an M.Phil in Molecular Genetics. He is the author of numerous books including Missing in Somerville, and The Game Master of Somerville. He gives us insight into comics, books, TV shows, anime/manga, video games, and movies.
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