Almost a year has passed since then “Bridgerton” breakout Regé-Jean Page shocked fans with the news that he would not be returning for the second season of the Netflix series.
“It has been an absolute pleasure and privilege to be your Duke,” he said wrote in an Instagram post Referring to his dedicated character, Simon Basset, Duke of Hastings. “Joining this family – not just on screen but off screen as well. Our incredibly creative and generous cast, our crew, our amazing fans – it all surpassed anything I could have imagined. Love is real and will just keep growing.”
The British actor was an integral part of the successful reception of the steamy period romance, created by Chris Van Dusen and executive produced by Shonda Rhimes. Following its late 2020 premiere, Page received Emmy and Screen Actors Guild nominations and won an NAACP Image Award for his performance. His upcoming projects include Netflix thriller The Gray Man and Paramount film Dungeons & Dragons.
How did the new episode of Bridgerton, which airs March 25, manage to write its main character out? Actually quite simple. Each of the eight Julia Quinn books on which the series is based centers on a different Bridgerton sibling as they navigate the “season” to find a partner for marriage. The Netflix show follows suit: Page told the press that Simon’s story would always follow a self-contained arc for one season and was reportedly signed to a one-season contract.
Page’s exit will be addressed in the second season, based on Quinn’s book The Viscount Who Loved Me. A little over a minute into the first episode, his wife Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) is shown arriving at the Bridgerton house alone, just in time for her sister’s presentation. As everyone runs after her, she scolds her siblings: “Do you realize that I left my husband and child at home for this?”
Minutes later, he’s being raised again by his best friend, Anthony Bridgerton, who is determined to finally find a wife. “Hastings finally did it,” says the viscount. “How hard can it be?”
As promised via Netflix’s Twitter account last year, Daphne continues to perform throughout the season and “helps her brother navigate through the upcoming social season and what she has to offer.” She attends family gatherings and social events, sometimes bringing her son (who was introduced as Augie in the third episode and reappears in the eighth) with her.
At some point it is revealed that the Duchess will not be at a big Bridgerton ball because little Augie is coughing. But the duke’s whereabouts are neither mentioned nor questioned.
Daphne occasionally refers to Simon when discussing the past, and recalls to Anthony when she and the Duke first fell in love. Only once does she speak about their offscreen life together: In the fourth episode she tells her mother: “Every time I think that my marriage has become easy, Simon and I find a new stone to turn, a new one Any weakness that one of us has needs the other to tease out and inspect,” she says. “It’s downright unnerving and incredibly satisfying at the same time.”
Until then, viewers are likely to be swept up in more timely commercials, the latest orchestral covers of pop songs, the stir caused by newcomers Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran) and her older sister Kate (Simone Ashley), and the season one cliffhanger The identity of Lady Whistledown.
Those who still crave more from Page should heed Rhime’s reminder: “The Duke is never gone.” she tweeted. “He’s just waiting to be watched again.”
Where from: Netflix
When: Available anytime, season 2 starting Friday, March 25th
Rating: TV-MA (may be unsuitable for children under 17)
https://www.latimes.com/entertainment-arts/tv/story/2022-03-20/bridgerton-season-2netflix-duke-of-hastings-rege-jean-page How ‘Bridgerton’ Season 2 wrote the Duke Regé-Jean Page