Bridgerton 2×04 “Victory” feels like anything but one. In fact, the end of the episode feels distinctly like a loss, for everyone. For Edwina, who doesn’t know that she just agreed to marry a man who does not love her. For Anthony, who just ran as far away from real feelings as he possibly could, and stumbled into the biggest mess he could have probable created. And for Kate, who now has to nod and pretend she’s happy for her sister, instead of heartbroken.
Above all, though, the episode feels like a loss for us, the viewers. There might still be a good story to be told here, and there’s certainly enough chemistry between the two leads to sustain the angst and have us still rooting for a happy ending. But the decisions made at the end of this episode — following the ones made at the end of “A Bee in Your Bonnet” — were not just one step too far, storytelling wise, but about seven steps too far, and there’s no coming back from that.
Despite that, though, there are some lovely moments in this hour, from the Bridgerton family, and yes, from Kate and Anthony. The bond they have is something sublime, something life-changing. And yes, something terrifying, particularly for two people who long ago decided to put family about everything — including themselves.
So let us go into the Bridgerton brothers who are not Anthony, Edwina and Kate’s feelings, and the reason Anthony makes the decision he makes as we review Bridgerton 2×04 “Victory”:
Simon’s loss is Benedict’s gain in Season 2 of Bridgerton because so many of the moments where Simon could have been not so subtly raising an eyebrow at Anthony are now given to Benedict. The dynamic, however, is different than it would have been with Simon, and that perhaps benefits the story the show is trying to tell in Season 2.
Because Simon would have seen right through Anthony and would have been confrontational about it. While Benedict is just …not that type of person. Instead, Benedict is the kind to see things, process them, and then bide his time till he can express them. It’s clear he sees Anthony better than anyone in the family, but he also doesn’t truly see the full Anthony — and when he does, he doesn’t quite know how to express what he’s seeing. Benedict and Anthony might not be that far apart in age, but Benedict has still spent almost half his life with the other Anthony, the one after Edmund died. The one who’s shut down his feelings, locked down any softness, and is hyper-focused on duty. Plus, the one who only knows how to show love by holding people to almost impossible standards.
And yes, the one who’s in pain, constantly. But Benedict can’t see that, not truly. And even when it seems like he might be getting close to getting it, there’s a part of him that perhaps cannot fully comprehend that Anthony could ever be the person to feel the things Benedict sometimes suspects him of feeling. Benedict is very good with details, except with Anthony, he sometimes doesn’t trust his own instincts.
A few times in the season it feels like Benedict sees the connection Anthony shares with Kate, then he dismisses it. Not for his sake, but for Anthony’s. Benedict is very, very good at seeing not just what people need, but what they want. And the thing that Anthony needs the most from him this season is unconditional support, no matter what. And Benedict might not know why that is, but he’s got his brother’s back. One hundred percent.
COLIN KEEPS TRYING TO FIND IN OTHERS WHAT HE CAN NOT FIND IN HIMSELF
In Bridgerton 2×04 “Victory” we see Colin go out of his way to pay Marina Thompson a visit. A part of us is happy at this ill-advised decision, if only because that means we get another glimpse of Sir Phillipe Crane, and perhaps the confirmation that, whatever happens between Marina and Phillip, it won’t be the same tragedy the books gave us. The bigger part, however, is just rolling its eyes at Colin.
Considering we’re probably still a few seasons away from Polin, it’s easy to see why this was added, it provides Colin with some closure – Marina could not be clearer, not just about her feelings – and it sets up Colin’s search for something he cannot name, but that he feels will distinguish him from his siblings.
The thing about Colin, though, is that he’s never felt all that special. The things Penelope sees in him, he has never seen in himself. In his mind, he’s just one of many, no one of note, just another Bridgerton. And he’s spent a season and a half trying to find validation in others when he should really be looking for it within himself.
Colin Bridgerton has nothing to prove to Marina Thompson, to his family, or even to Penelope Featherington. If anything, Colin Bridgerton has something to prove to Colin Bridgerton. And until he figures out a way to do that, he will always be wandering …and sometimes, even unintentionally hurting the people that truly care about him.
EDWINA LOVES THE PERSON ANTHONY PRETENDS TO BE
In a way, one can’t help but feel bad for Edwina Sharma. She’s in love, or so she thinks she is. Except she doesn’t really love Anthony. She couldn’t, because she doesn’t know him. Of course, part of this is on Anthony too, he’s got no interest in showing her the real Anthony because he doesn’t truly want her to fall in love with him. He doesn’t want a wife because he wants love. He wants to fulfill his duty. And in a way, he thinks she wants the same.
Edwina’s temperament and her desires seem to match perfectly with this fake Anthony, the one he had convinced himself he must be for the good of his family. But the people closest to him still see right through him. Daphne, particularly, understands that the person Edwina is seeing, the one she seems to care for, is nothing but a mirage.
But Edwina can’t, and that doesn’t make her a villain. Nothing she does in Bridgerton 2×04 “Victory” makes her one, it just makes her naïve and terribly sheltered. In fact, despite the way she acts, Edwina doesn’t really love Anthony either. Like him, and like Kate, she’s stuck playing the role she has been told she must play. And part of that role is smiling, saying the right things, and pretending she cares for the man who can give her a family and security, not just for herself, and her mother and sister.
That reality, however, doesn’t make this storyline any less unfair for Edwina, and it won’t make the inevitable end of her relationship with Anthony any easier to stomach. The farther this goes, the angrier she has a right to be. And though it is fair to say that, for as much as Kate and Anthony have kept from her, Edwina has tricked herself into believing her relationship with Anthony is what she wants it to be. She is still a woman, one whose entire value lies in finding a good husband, and for her, there is no other option at the end of this hour other than yes.
KATE LOVES THE REAL ANTHONY
Unlike Edwina, Kate has actually met the real Anthony. The pain in the ass. The arrogant ass. The kind man. The soft brother. The one that, sometimes, needs someone to hold his hand so he can remember how to breathe. She’s seen him at his worst, and she’s seen him at his best, and they share the kind of connection neither of them thought was possible and neither of them wanted.
Is there anything scarier than being vulnerable around someone? For Anthony Bridgerton, who has spent more than a decade pretending he’s made of stone, there isn’t. He’s shown Kate more of his real heart than anyone has seen since his father died, and that’s terrifying. That’s why he’s running. That’s why he proposes to Edwina. Someone sees him for who he is, and if he let that someone in – they could take over his entire life. His entire heart. He’d be powerless to resist.
Fear is often the driving force to some of the worst decisions we make in life, and Anthony certainly lets fear drive him to a really bad one in Bridgerton 2×04 “Victory,” but it’s worth mentioning that Kate isn’t really giving in, either. He outdoes her in the bad decisions department because that’s what they do. But Kate has also, at every point in this season, put Edwina, Mary, Newton, Lady Danbury, and even the carriage horses above herself.
Immovable object, meet unstoppable force. Until they learn to compromise, their meeting can only end in disaster.
THE LIBRARY SCENE (X2)
We get two library scenes in Bridgerton 2×04 “Victory,” and neither are “the” library scene from the book. Though the first one, of course, comes closer. The scenes in this hour, however, are meant to showcase two different things. The first is about the emotional intimacy Kate and Anthony share. The second one is about the chemistry that is strong enough that it could power the entirety of Aubrey Hall.
This isn’t a bad thing, of course. A real, long-lasting partnership needs both. More importantly, Anthony shares neither of those things with Edwina. It’s Kate he can’t stop thinking about. Kate shares the pieces of his heart he hasn’t wanted or dared to show anyone else. And Kate that makes him want to say to hell with duty, to hell with expectations, and to hell with being only the head of the Bridgerton family. And in the end, it’s the same for Kate. She doesn’t waver in her desire to put Edwina first until she’s in front of Anthony Bridgerton. Then Kate is just herself, instead of being only Edwina’s sister.
Because Anthony Bridgerton is the first person who has stopped to ask what Kate wants. What she needs. Even if he runs the other way, before doing so, he asked. He allowed her a voice. The issue is, of course, he isn’t alone in this and like Anthony, Kate is very far from being able to put herself first.
What Daphne almost walks in on is the physical part, yes, but it’s not just that because when you feel as strongly as these two do, nothing is just physical. The reason they can’t stay away from each other, the reason there’s a fire that cannot be denied, it’s because of that emotional intimacy. Both sides of the coin are there for a real, true, long-lasting partnership. Now they just have to not just be able to see it but dare to own it.
UNDER VERY SIMILAR CIRCUMSTANCES
Daphne Bridgerton is a star in Bridgerton Season 2, and she doesn’t need the Duke of Hastings to shine. She does so by calling her brother out on his bullshit, over and over again. Softly, in the last episode, and much more forcefully here. In fact, Daphne sees right through Anthony in a way Benedict cannot, and it’s not because she was closer to him growing up. No, it’s because having been there already, she can understand not just what it feels like to fall in love, but to fear saying it out loud.
However, there’s no part of Anthony that’s ready for Daphne’s truth. In fact, it could be argued that it’s her confronting him with the reality that pushes him to make the decision he makes at the end of Bridgerton 2×04 “Victory.” That is, of course, not on Daphne. She lets him off the hook easily, way too easily, in fact, by just calling him out on her relationship with Kate, and not doing more about it.
Because Daphne is absolutely right, Anthony caught her under very similar circumstances, and there was a duel, and then a marriage. For Anthony, however, he gets to walk away and ask a different woman to marry him. That, more than anything else, proves how different it is for women than men. Anthony has the privilege of making a wrong decision. Daphne was not afforded that.
However, it’s pretty ironic that the thing that sent Anthony running for the hills and straight to Edwina is just …Daphne asking him to be honest with himself. That’s it. She could have been much harsher; she could have said many more truths. Instead, she asked him to look inside himself, and Anthony, not just because he didn’t want to do that, but because he knew what he’d find if he dared, immediately bolted in the opposite direction. It would be kinda funny if it weren’t a total tragedy.
Things I think I think:
- Let’s not discount how big it is that Anthony is only ever able to ask Benedict a question like, “Do you think this was a mistake?”
- How could Kate ever confide her own feelings when Edwina is saying things like, “He is the one that I want,” in regard to Anthony.
- The way Kate says, “I can see how he might engage …a person.” Indeed, you can.
- Who is more stubborn, Anthony or Kate?
- How does no one see through Anthony when there’s so much warmth and feeling in just an “Ah” as Kate says she is well?
- Benedict is a cinnamon roll; I love him so much.
- And, like, the way he enjoys when Anthony is antagonizing Kate without meaning to, is just such a sibling thing.
- The perfect moment exists and it’s when Anthony turns to look at Benedict after Edwina tries to convince him to take Kate hunting and he pretends he wasn’t making faces behind his back.
- And then, theeeeeeeeeen …he agrees with Edwina.
- Daphne being like, “Anthony? Even tempered?” is a whole mood.
- Look, Benedict is even making faces at Kate at one point.
- Anthony had a conniption at seeing Kate’s leg. It took him like ten seconds to recover.
- These two shouldn’t be left alone together. They could burn down the woods.
- Anthony saying the books were some of his father’s most precious possessions and then handing the book to Kate, well …symbolism.
- It’s good to see Daphne talking about her marriage. We’re invested in that, too.
- “Is there not something in all of us that requires a challenge?”
- Miss your friend because you miss your friend, Anthony. Nothing more.
- The thing about Eloise is if she gave people a chance …any chance, really, she could actually like some of them.
- How does Lady Danbury not see it? From both of them?
- How does Edwina not see it, for that matter?
- “It does not matter what I want”/”I do not think that is true.”
- But, has anyone considered, truly considered, what Kate wants? What she deserves? Anyone other than Anthony, that is.
- The TENSION in that second library scene.
- And she never did get to say she felt nothing.
- I say, “Damn it, Daphne!” every time I watch the scene. Just one more second.
- But I will say, she asks why, and that practically breaks Anthony.
- I take it back; it was the word love that broke him.
- The first time I watched this final scene I swear I screamed as if I were watching a soccer match and the team I hated had scored a goal against the team I loved.