Warning: There are spoilers for the end of Bridgerton season 1 ahead.
Did you know that shows without caped crusaders, smoke monsters, Daleks, or dragons could have Easter Eggs?
Well, there's a hidden character in Bridgerton season 1 that's got everyone buzzing, if you'll excuse the unavoidable pun. We're talking about the bee at the end of Bridgerton that also appears throughout the first season of Shondaland's dishy new Netflix series. Turns out the bee is actually a clue from Julia Quinn's books about what's going to happen if and when Bridgerton returns for season 2.
Even if the bees weren't teasing what's to come, they're the perfect imagery for Bridgerton. Bees evoke a matriarchal hive, like the Bridgerton family in its current state, as well as the idea of Queen Bees a la Gossip Girl, pop icon Beyoncé and, err, pollinating. It's also, possibly, a blunt reference to the fact that "Bridgerton" begins with the letter "B." Lord Edmund and Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) named their eight children in alphabetical order (Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, Hyacinth) so you know they care about initials.
It's a reference to the Bridgerton pater familias
It's well-established in Bridgerton season 1 that Lord and Lady Bridgerton had a famous "love match" that none of the kids feel like they can live up to in their own romantic pairings. But with that comes an added sadness, because Edmund Bridgerton died before the series starts. While not much is said about when and how he passed on the Netflix series, book readers know that he suffered a fatal allergic reaction to a bee sting.
"Edmund Bridgerton was young," Quinn writes in the series' second book The Viscount Who Loved Me, from the perspective of Edmund's eldest son Anthony, "he was strong, he was tall, his shoulders were broad, his muscles were powerful, and by God no honeybee could have felled him." Yet one did. Maybe the bee is supposed to represent Edmund, morbidly, watching over them in death.
It's foreshadowing Bridgerton season 2
You might notice that two of the Bridgerton siblings, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) and Benedict (Luke Thompson), incorporate bees into their wardrobe. It's very meta of them. They're owning their tragedy, and who is surprised? Those two are the most chill out of the titular family.
Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), on the other hand, is terrified of bees. The second book in the series is told partly from his perspective and opens with the aforementioned flashback to his father's death by bee sting. Besides Anthony's relationship with Kate and Edwina Sheffield, two new sisters on the Marriage Market who have yet to be cast in the Netflix series, The Viscount Who Loved Me digs into Anthony's daddy issues which are largely tied to... you guessed it... bees. So, many fans see the bee at the end of season 1 as a cheeky confirmation that season 2 will adapt The Viscount Who Loved Me.
Finally, there is a particularly sexy (and odd) scene involving a bee in The Viscount Who Loved Me that some fans have teased on Twitter — but we won't spoil it for you. But if you loved how chaotic Anthony Bridgerton was in season 1 and can't wait to see how his promise to "remove love" from the process of finding a wife plays out... you're in luck. The Viscount's story is just getting started.