Everything you need to know about Season 2 of The Gilded Age

The hit period drama is returning to screens!

There are shocks and scandals in store for New York’s high society as the period drama returns.

Created by Downton Abbey mastermind Julian Fellowes, The Gilded Age explores the rich social history of another period of great change: the 1880s. In New York, the well-established social elite found their inner circle infiltrated by new money – and they were none too pleased.

Railway magnate George Russell (Morgan Spector) and his socially ambitious wife, Bertha (Carrie Coon), have more cash than they know what to do with, but that’s not enough for their neighbour Agnes van Rhijn (Christine Baranski) and others like her, who look down their well-bred noses at the interlopers.

While Bertha made some ground in her efforts to break into high society in Season 1, she is far from embraced by the old guard – and will continue her quest for further acceptance this season.

Elsewhere, the winds of change will sweep other characters forward as what was previously inconceivable becomes possible.

Watch Below: The Gilded Age Season 2 | Official Trailer | HBO

Bertha sets her sights even higher 

The grand ball she threw last season was a success, but Bertha is certainly not one to rest on her laurels.“At the top of Season 2, we find out that Bertha is now being invited to all the best parties,” Coon reveals.

“She has acquired a new home in Newport, but the one thing that’s still lacking for her is a seat at the Academy, which is the opera. She knows that if she doesn’t have a box at the Academy, she’s not really part of the elite.”

With a limited number of boxes available, even to New York’s most established families, Bertha gets creative.

“Because new money wasn’t allowed to get a box at the Academy, they built their own opera because they had the money to do it,” Baranski explains.

Co-showrunner Sonja Warfield told The Wrap, “Bertha’s a bit of a bottomless pit in that.

She reached this level of society, and she must keep ascending. So that’s what the opera wars represent.”

Coon agrees, saying, “The question remains for Bertha, will she ever be satisfied?”

Peggy (Denée Benton) is on a mission to find the son she thought had died. (Credit: Paramount +)

The truth about Peggy’s son will be revealed

Not everyone advanced their station with money. Bright young writer Peggy Scott (Denée Benton) was gaining ground using her skills as a journalist and secretary to Agnes until a shocking secret from her past reared its head.

It came to light that the son Peggy thought had been stillborn was actually adopted out without her knowing.

“With the help of Dorothy [Audra McDonald], her mother, she does locate her son in Philadelphia,” executive producer David Crockett told Entertainment Weekly.

“That doesn’t go the way she had hoped. “She spends much of the rest of the season throwing herself into her work.”

Benton adds, “She’s more voracious than ever to go on different adventures and to create a path for herself.”

There is love in the air for Ada (Cynthia Nixon). (Credit: Paramount +)

Marian and Ada have new suitors 

Affairs of the heart are just as significant in The Gilded Age as social machinations – and two members of the Brooks family meet prospective suitors this season.

After her shattering heartbreak in Season 1, Marian (Louisa Jacobson) is not going to be taken for a fool again.

“We see Marian in Season 2 a little more headstrong, a little bit more confident,” Jacobson says of the character.

Crockett revealed to Entertainment Weekly that “a distant cousin is in town and is a possible match for Marian”.

However, having just lost Raikes (Thomas Cocquerel), she is understandably “a little wary”.

Marian’s presence has the flow-on effect of influencing her spinster aunt, Ada (Cynthia Nixon), who relies on the charity of Agnes for her place in the world.

“Agnes and Ada are like an old married couple and when Marian comes … Ada finally has a co-conspirator and someone who has more of a progressive bent,” Nixon explains.

“Ada views her as a younger version of herself. For Ada, nobody ever saw to it that she got married and that she was financially secure, so she wants to make sure that those things happen for Marian and that someone is guiding her,” Nixon adds.

But could it be Ada herself who finds love at last this season? You’ll have to watch to find out!

Where to Watch The Gilded Age 

The Gilded Age Season 2 premieres Sun., Jan. 14 only on Paramount+.

In the meantime stream Season One on Paramount+ FREE for 7 days. Sign up today

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