A World Of Glamour, Power And Wealth—Review Of The Gilded Age Season Two



“This is America — you can be anything you want!”
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We are back to the Upper East Side of the 1880s in the second season of Julian Fellowes’ captivating American historical series, The Gilded Age. I've always admired Fellowes’ works and after watching the first season last year, I came to the conclusion that he possesses the superpower of captivating his audience into a historical world where the upper and lower classes intertwine, illuminating the intricacies of society.

The first season was engaging, focused on the real estate war where old money aristocrats clashed with new money, all vying for control over New York city. Many characters were introduced and a clear distinction was made between those ‘upstairs’ and those ‘downstairs’. The leads were the Russell family, van Rhijn-Brook family and Scott family. It ended with the successful hosting of the ball of the season by the Russell family.

This second season is better but doesn't happen immediately after the end of the first. I think a few years had passed by. This season shifts its focus to the opera war—a riveting fight between the Metropolitan and the Academy of Music—amidst other compelling dramas. All the characters from the first season returned with the addition of a few new characters. I love that we get a little taste of British in this American drama with the addition of the Duke of Buckingham portrayed by Ben Lamb to the storyline.

Themes of love, romance, a labour dispute, Black's emancipation and scam are addressed in this season. The grandiose event in this season is the construction and opening of the famous Brooklyn bridge in this season which is celebrated with funfair and fireworks, making it a racial symbol connecting the white and coloured people. In the first season, it was about the introduction of electricity and electrical lighting of a building.






The cast's performance is impressive as always. Carrie Coon and Morgan Spector are the ruthlessly ambitious, power couple whose presence in the politics and control of New York makes them admirable. Their morality and decisions should be called into question but I couldn't help rooting for them. Obstacles to their social climbing surfaces in almost every episode but I breathed easier knowing Fellowes’ will make them come out on top.

Christine Baranski as the dowager Agnes van Rhijn is even more prickly in this season than the last and her witty remarks are as sharp as darts. You'll be smart to stay out of her way. Thankfully, Cynthia Nixon's role gets more interesting in this season. She's becoming bold and no longer the amenable sister.

I enjoyed the growth of Louisa Jacobson's character from a shy lady to a matured one who dared to stand up to dowager Agnes van Rhijn. Of course, she wasn't exempted from matchmaking gimmicks and romantic overtures. Peggy Scott who plays Denée Benton, the coloured reporter and secretary of Agnes van Rhijn, had more adventures in this season than the last. This involves issues of racial violence and her goal to encourage the young ones to look towards a bright future.

The cinematography and costume are outstanding as always, delighting the audience with much glamour, fashion and awe.

Overall, the second season of The Gilded Age is spellbinding, relaxing and captivating. I enjoyed watching it and very much looking forward to the third season. Let's hope Julian Fellowes’ works continue to resonate and enchant his audience. I'll rate this season 4 stars out of 5. If you enjoy historical dramas, you'll love this one.

Thank you for visiting my blog.

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Check out my previous series reviews:
An Outstanding Historical Drama—Review Of The Gilded Age (2022)
Another Riveting Historical Series — Review Of Julian Fellowes' Belgravia (2020)
Power Play and Legacy || Review Of Thriller Series - Criminal Record (2024)

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Other images are screenshots from the series

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