Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story Finale Recap: In the Sky

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

Crown Jewels
Season 1 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating 3 stars

Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story

Crown Jewels
Season 1 Episode 6
Editor’s Rating 3 stars
Photo: Nick Wall/Netflix © 2023/NICK WALL/NETFLIX

Dearest gentle readers, our journey has come to an end. It has been a delight diving into this world with you, and I hope you will indulge me in a slightly longer than usual recap as this episode clocks in at a full hour and a half! Let us not tarry another moment.

The dowager princess is pissed that Dr. Monroe has been fired and is incensed that Charlotte is throwing her queenly weight around so much. There’s a sense that she is truly worried about her son, but you can never tell what her motivations are. For her part, Charlotte seems relatively content with the daring jailbreak, but George is not. He tries to White Fang her, worried about the life she is committing to with him. I understand what he means, but if your whole plan was to live separate lives, you could have given her a little more of a life without you, my guy. Like, if her choices come down to get laid or be alone forever, are we really that shocked that she chooses the former?

Naturally, a very yell-y Bridgerton-esque confession of love must follow. You know, the whole “It hurts too much to love you. I cannot have you near me” thing we love to do in this universe. It is a little less effective here because, well, they’re already married. Of course, Charlotte doesn’t care. She’s 17! She’s got one nice man who likes fucking her and one nice gay man to follow her around and one friend. She’s not giving up on this!

Lady Danbury skips out for more solitude, clearly planning to get plowed in a field. [Crowd boos louder.] Except Lord Ledger has brought young Violet with him, effectively ending their tryst. I would like to know more about why. No one likes a half-committed cheater! This disappointment is followed by Racial Tension Teatime with Princess Augusta, where Lady Danbury presses the matter of the inherited titles. It’s far from settled, you see, and if only the dowager princess had some information about how the king and queen are doing — perhaps even the name of a new doctor? Alas, Lady Danbury has promised to be a friend to her queen, and the only tea being served is encased in gorgeous china.

Fresh out of leads, Princess Augusta drops by to see her son, and we’ve got a queen-off on our hands! (Princess Augusta was never queen, but you get my point.) Charlotte informs her mother-in-law that the king is not receiving visitors now, and yes, that includes his mother. Not for nothing, Augusta makes some points: The king cannot hide away forever. He has to, like, rule now and again. Parliament is suspicious and he must address it in person.

Charlotte and Lady Danbury have tea, and it’s a test of Lady Danbury’s promise to be a friend and not a subject. She hints that she has been busy trying to deal with her husband’s estate, and when Charlotte asks if there is anything she can do, she pauses for a moment, weighing her options. But no, just spending time with a friend helps. Charlotte seems relieved to hear this, though less relieved to hear that having a baby is the worst pain imaginable. She is pretty close to giving birth, close enough that her brother has decided to stay awhile. Adolphus asks if he may call on Lady Danbury because he has noticed she is out of mourning and he has two eyes in his head. This does solve a problem for Lady Danbury — he has his own land and title, so she will marry him!

Charlotte checks on George, who is busy writing his speech for Parliament, as requested. He is, of course, a bit on edge about it. He is muttering about how it must be the greatest speech the world has ever heard … when Charlotte goes into labor. Time for an heir, y’all! George decides to be a modern man and, horror of horrors, goes into the birthing chamber. Lady Danbury and Brimsley are concerned about the birth — the baby is breech, and Charlotte seems to be losing more blood than anyone would like. But the elderly doctor is dedicated to letting nature run its course. There is a moment when it seems all won’t be well, but after a quick story from George about his favorite horse, George IV is born. It’s startling to recall that Charlotte did this 12 more times. 

Adolphus is thrilled to report to Lady Danbury that George IV is a wonder. The two are light and comfortable with each other, but I regret to inform you there is no cause to ring the chemistry alarm. They happen upon Lord Ledger and Violet in the park, and Lady Danbury begs off their walk, claiming the sun is too much for her. Mm-hmm.

At yet another Racial Tension Teatime, Princess Augusta has forgotten about the inherited titles, likely because she doesn’t care. She reiterates that it’s for the king to decide, sniffing that it is a shame Lady Danbury has not leveraged her position as advantageously as she could. To her great surprise, and mine as well, Lady Danbury starts to cry. “Hush. Stop it. Stop it! Do not do that!” Augusta barks. She is not interested in Lady Danbury’s problems, but she does know something about enduring the death of a husband. It seems King George II was not the greatest father-in-law, as she implies he beat little George as well as raped her. Augusta did not fall apart; instead, she made her son king, and as we have seen, she has been de facto ruling in his place for years. “I do not like you. However, you have been an … admirable adversary thus far. Our battles bring me satisfaction,” she says. The dowager princess has found a woman who can keep up with her, and it simply will not do to have that woman sobbing over tea. She pours a bit more brandy and asks again how things have been at Buckingham House. “I believe that news depends on what is to become of my son’s title, your highness,” Lady Danbury replies. Our frenemies live to fight another day, and perhaps pear brandy will become Lady Danbury’s favored drink.

George is due to give his speech. He seems nervous but mostly handles it. Yet while he rides over to Parliament, his hand starts shaking as he goes over his notes. By the time he arrives, he is on the floor of the carriage, and as Reynolds reports to Charlotte, he never delivers the speech; currently, he is reflecting on his failure from underneath his bed. Charlotte, undaunted, climbs in right next to him, and they have one of their most honest conversations. George accepts to some degree that he will be here sometimes, and sometimes he will … not. He doesn’t want Charlotte to have half a life, and she insists that she won’t. They can have a life together, even if it doesn’t look like what they thought it would. I wish we had gotten to this point in their relationship a little faster because this is the part I’m interested in! I want to know about their lives from this point forward. I want to flesh out the central story this show feels like it wants to tell about women contending with loneliness as they age. It feels cruel to get so near to it and yet so far!

Charlotte’s brother is still courting Lady Danbury, but she is less enthused than she should be about his proposal. I admit that I must eat some crow because when my dude tells her he knows she isn’t a hearts-and-flowers kind of woman, his voice drops an octave? Ring goes the damn chemistry alarm! Lady Danbury also seems to have heard it and agrees to give his proposal more thought.

Lo, what is that sound in the distance? Why, the sound of royal invites being delivered! The king is throwing a ball! Lord Bute and his entourage of bummer lords have warned Princess Augusta that this ball must be flawless and George must show up. I find it slightly amusing that the king’s choices are to give a political speech or to show up at a ball and have a spin around the dance floor. These are the only ways to prove he is fit for the throne! Charlotte takes his hand and reminds him to breathe before they start to dance. I still don’t love the idea that only Charlotte can ease his “madness,” but in fairness, she is the only person who hasn’t forced him into an ice bath or tried to drill holes in his head. Have to give it up for a simple breathing exercise!

Lady Danbury is taken indoors for a spell, catching her breath after spotting Lord Ledger and his family out in the garden. Adolphus swings by to follow up on his proposal, and instead of making it sound at all enticing, he makes it sound so damn exhausting (THREE MORE KIDS?) that Lady Danbury can’t find a way to politely cushion the blow. He is certain she’s making a mistake, and maybe she is, but she cannot let someone else’s life take over her own again. Sisters are indeed doing it for themselves! It seems for a moment that Charlotte will be pissed at her, but instead, she’s disappointed that Lady Danbury didn’t come to her about the issues of titles or inheritance, and she takes it mostly in stride and lets her friend go home.

George is quite pleased with his success and is trying to get Reynolds to have a drink (very Nan Pierce of him) when Charlotte interrupts him. She can’t drink either because she is pregnant again. She assures him that his line will continue, and he looks at her all starry-eyed and says it’s their line now. I think this is supposed to make us understand why she is so fixated on it in the present story line; this promise she made to the man she loves means that much to her. And it … almost works? I just wish it has been seeded a little sooner. I think that would give it the emotional weight it’s going for.

It does mean that Queen Charlotte’s side of the present-day story line has a neat little bow, even if it doesn’t exactly feel earned. After getting their family portrait painted, George IV and Elizabeth drop by and ask their mother to stop being a bitch for, like, half a second. Charlotte tries to argue that she’s doing this because she wants to do what is best for them and does seem genuinely shocked and saddened to learn that pretty much all of them have miscarried at one point or another. George IV tells her that she has never cared for them, she has only ever been their queen and never their mother. This … doesn’t really ring true to me? Didn’t Brimsley say a few episodes ago that her daughters never married because they didn’t want to leave her alone? A wee bit confusing and a bit of a missed opportunity!

Later, Charlotte dresses for bed and rambles about how great she is as a mother. No one says anything, so she does what any queen with sense would do: repeats herself. Brimsley remains silent. She rolls her eyes and clears the room, waiting for him to emotionally devastate her again. He tells her she has been a great queen, but like everyone in the palace, she serves the king, not her children. She asks, for what seems like the first time ever, if he has a family. “Who would spend a lifetime with me?” he says. WHERE THE HELL IS REYNOLDS???

Still, some of this must have gotten through to her. Edward comes to his mother with his new bride to deliver some good news — at last, an heir! For a second time, Charlotte lets her guard down with her son, earnestly happy that her husband’s line will continue and all her hard work wasn’t for naught. They think it will be a girl and hope it will be all right. Charlotte happens to think a strong queen is just what the country needs. She gives her son what seems like the first real hug he has ever gotten from her, and he hesitates only briefly before hugging her back.

Meanwhile, Lady Danbury and Violet are going for a walk on this early-spring day! Also, Violet has decided that she might like to remarry, or at least court again. Lady Danbury is delighted by this but must dash for a second to give Violet time to find a suspiciously familiar, very beat-up birthday hat. Naturally, as they take their turn about the gardens, Violet asks Lady Danbury who, exactly, was tending to her garden after her husband’s death. She is clearly fishing, though I cannot imagine she thinks Lady Danbury will respond, “Now that you mention it, your dad could really lay some pipe.” But since Lady Danbury has been encouraging Violet to open up, is it really so shocking that she would expect the same? She hints at a dalliance with the queen’s brother, and Violet accepts it … for now.

Later in the week, Lady Danbury stops by Violet’s for Did You Fuck My Dad Teatime, which is almost as awkward as the Racial Tension Teas of yore. Violet just happens to be cleaning out these old birthday hats her father used to make for her. Didn’t she mention that little tradition? Has Lady Danbury ever seen a sight so charming? Has perhaps anyone ever made her something similar? J’ACCUSE! Lady Danbury looks at her friend and says her name softly, as close to an admission as possible. She thinks Violet should keep them up, as charming and cheerful as they are. Violet agrees, and they sit for what I can only imagine is the most awkward tea of all time. The lack of resolution here makes me wonder if they will fit this into the upcoming third season of Bridgerton, and I sincerely hope they do! So many interesting ideas were brought up here, and I’d love to see how it all concludes. I would again like to submit that Lady Danbury and Violet get together. Lady Danbury clearly likes the family!

In the end, Charlotte delivers the good heir news to George, whom we have yet to see in the present day. He is still at Kew, and when she enters his chambers, he is “in the sky” and writing feverishly on the wall. She watches him for a moment, clearly not bothered by his behavior after so many years, sliding under the bed in a way that leads me to believe this space has become a routine one for them to return to. It takes a minute, but he returns from the sky after hearing their line will live on. For a moment, Charlotte looks at a young George, and present-day George sees a young Charlotte. “You did not go over the wall,” he says. Again, I have to give it up to Golda Rosheuvel because she is making emotional beats land, even when they don’t feel earned. “No, George,” she says. “I did not go over the wall.”

Sorrows, Sorrows. Prayers. 

• As I am a professional, I will not write this entire bullet point in all-caps, but please know that is how I feel about it. WHAT HAPPENED TO REYNOLDS?? We see him bathing with Brimsley in the past, talking about how if the king and queen stay together, they can too. They bicker about the setup of the ball and even find time to sneak away for a dance, only to cut to the present, where Brimsley is dancing ALONE? No, I shan’t stand for this! Make this right, Shonda!!!

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Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story Finale Recap: In the Sky