Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate” somehow muddles the waters of the messy Bridgerton love triangle even more, to disastrous results. Sure, the chemistry between Kate and Anthony is still scorching. We still really want to see them together. But it’s getting increasingly hard to imagine a good resolution to this mess, and that just makes us sad.
There was no need to let it get this far. Not for Edwina, or for Kate and Anthony. The book was right there, as a blueprint. Adaptations often require changes, but this feels less like a change and more like a reinvention. Is Bridgerton Season 2 The Viscount Who Loved Me? At this point, it feels more like instead of calling it that, we should be saying it’s “loosely adapted from The Viscount Who Loved Me.” Nothing more, nothing less.
Not all is lost, however. There are indeed bright spots, even in an episode that at times feels like it’s dragging us closer and closer to disaster. So let us talk about the delicious angst, the way family can sometimes see right through you, and Kate Sharma as a real match for Anthony Bridgerton, in good and bad, as we discuss Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate”:
SO CLOSE, YET SO FAR
Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate” is the pinnacle of UST, and it would be so much easier to enjoy it if we weren’t in the middle of a love triangle involving two sisters. Because this episode is about wanting, about yearning, and yet about doing it while you’re still unable to break free from the trap of duty.
Anthony makes the first wrong decision. He acts out of fear, and he makes matters worse — a very Anthony thing to do because even when fear is not involved, we gotta admit he often acts first, thinks second. In this Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate,” however, he tries to take a step back. Tries to take the easy out and just remove himself – and Kate – from a situation that will ensure they remain miserable for the rest of their lives. And in this episode, it’s Kate who asks, no, who begs him to stick with Edwina, to see the marriage through.
Duty has failed them both, and the decisions they’ve made because of their own preconceived idea of duty have failed them both. But whereas before it was easy to lay the blame for this mess on Anthony’s shoulders, it’s now shared blame, and storytelling-wise, that’s so much easier to stomach. Kate is no victim now, she’s just a woman making the wrong choice. Just as Anthony is.
But their wrong choices come from good intentions and love. That has always been their saving grace. Anthony has felt responsible for his family since his father died, and that’s shaped his life. The same is true of Kate. And yet, a closer look at both of their situations reveals that even though, yes, perhaps their actions were necessary at first, no one, and especially not their loving families, has ever wanted the sacrifices they continue to make in their names.
How do you break out of that, though? How do you put yourself first? Can you even do it by yourself, or do you need someone else to push you in the right direction?
THE SYMBOLISM OF THE RING
Even the ring doesn’t want to leave Kate’s finger, because absolutely everything and everyone on this show is conspiring to bring Kate and Anthony together, to push them into making the right choice. And yet, neither of them can make it. It is both a tragedy and a delicious kind of angst, one that in Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate” takes distinctly Pride & Prejudice undertones.
From the use of the hands to visually convey the yearning, to Anthony’s tumble at the lake, Kate’s and Anthony’s brand of angst is very different from Bridgerton Season 1, and yet wholly enjoyable too. Except, of course, for the part where the ring that refuses to budge from Kate’s finger is actually meant for Edwina, who Anthony is actually going to marry.
Though the season has largely done away with Anthony’s fear of dying young as his father did and has cut down some of the dialogue that centered on both of these characters’ grief, the emotions have been perfectly conveyed by two gifted actors. Moreover, the chemistry is, at times, so strong, it’s a wonder Edwina herself, and everyone else around her don’t combust every time Kate and Anthony are in each other’s presence.
But it’s Edwina that remains a problem, or at least her position in this tale. It’s easy to understand how she got to where she got, and how Kate and even Anthony, are now in this mess. The character beats work very well, and the dynamics are indeed believable. What remains harder to understand is why, writing-wise, the mess needed to include an actual engagement to Edwina. That is, yes, this was an easy way to create angst, but weren’t there better ways to do so without unwittingly pitting two brown women – sisters – against each other?
JEALOUSY IS NOT A GOOD LOOK
The jealousy trope is used effectively in Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate.” Anthony made his bed, but he doesn’t particularly seem to want to lie in it. This is understandable in a way, negative feelings are so much easier than positive feelings, particularly for a man like Anthony. There’s no danger in anger, there’s a lot of danger in softness.
Or so he thinks, because this anger – the jealousy, is rooted in good feelings, or in the fact that he’s avoiding those. If anything, Anthony is angry at himself. And since he thinks he can’t make it all better, that he’s got to stick to the decisions he made, well, that just makes him even angrier.
Kate is angry too, and rightfully so. For most of Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate” Anthony is the one responsible for the situation they’re in. However, as we’ve discussed before, by the end, Kate is right there with him, in every respect. Making bad decisions and lashing out. Except, of course, Anthony, by virtue of being a man, has the privilege of lashing out at more people, while Kate only gets to lash out at him.
This isn’t necessarily a good thing, but the fact that Kate does, that she feels like she can, well, that is. Kate Sharma has never been truly free to be herself, except with Anthony Bridgerton. But does Kate really know herself? Has she ever sat and thought about what she wanted, separate from Edwina and Mary?
I don’t think so, and that’s why she can’t articulate it. It’s a big sacrifice, to put others first. But it’s also, in many ways, so much easier than putting yourself out there than allowing yourself to want something only to then be denied. It’s better to tell yourself you can’t have what you want and be angry about that than try to reach for it only to realize it doesn’t belong to you. Except, you know. It does. That’s the tragedy of not trying, that we get to continue on towards pain before neither Anthony nor Kate are able to articulate that the one thing they want is …each other.
IT WOULD BREAK MY HEART TO SEE YOU SPEND THE REST OF YOUR LIFE IN REGRET
Violet gets it, just as Daphne does, and yet she gets it in a way that Daphne never could, too. She’s loved and she’s lost. So when she sees Anthony making the wrong decisions, it’s hard. You want your kids to be happy, and she knows Anthony isn’t. But you can’t live for others, and you cannot force people to make the right decisions.
This ties a little bit into Eloise’s storyline, as well. Her “friendship” with Theo is ill-advised, at best, but can we really blame her for wanting it? In many ways, Eloise is braver than the rest of her family, because she’s out there, trying new things. But in other ways, she’s just as lost and as scared as Anthony. After all, Eloise is willing to do anything except risk falling in love with someone she might have to marry.
But Eloise will learn her lesson, and it is now time for Anthony to learn his. For that, though he will have to do the one thing he has been unable to do all this time: be honest with himself, be honest with the person he loves, and start focusing on what he needs – no, what he wants. There can be no true happiness in living for others, much less if you end up resenting them for something they have never asked you to do.
All Anthony’s family wants is for him is to be happy. And because they love him the way he loves them, they would indeed pick his happiness over their comfort in many more situations than he gives them credit for. He might not see this during Bridgerton 2×05 “An Unthinkable Fate,” but if he ever puts himself first, he might realize that is, precisely, what his family has been wanting from him all along.
SECRET AFTER SECRET
There are too many secrets being kept for relationships not to be altered as this story concludes. Kate has been keeping secret after secret from Edwina, and though part of that is just Kate deluding herself and then deluding Edwina, that doesn’t make it better. Anthony is also keeping a secret from Edwina, but as much as that is a sin, it doesn’t feel as big as what Kate is doing. The bond of sisterhood is sacred, and that feels like something both Kate and Edwina understood.
But let’s be clear, Kate isn’t actively trying to hurt Edwina. If anything, she keeps trying to fall on the sword for her sister, denying her own feelings and putting Edwina ahead of her again and again. And Edwina is going to be angry, rightfully so, when she figures out what Kate kept from her, but I would hope that, at some point, she can realize that there was nothing malicious about Kate’s decisions. If anything, the issue is that Kate has a higher opinion of Edwina than she has of herself.
This is, perhaps, my biggest issue with the season so far. Yes, we have gotten way too little of actual Kate/Anthony together, as we’re going into episode six without even a kiss. But the sexual tension and the longing have been present, and that part I can appreciate. The sisterhood, however, has been greatly altered. It didn’t need to be for the rest to work.
It would have been so much better for Edwina to be marrying Anthony because, despite Kate’s attempts to keep it a secret, she was actually aware of what the Sheffields required of them. Even if they’d gotten engaged, if Edwina’s heart hadn’t seemingly been into it, I think we – and they – could have probably salvaged the situation. But, as it stands, we got the love triangle no one wanted, and though Kate and Anthony still work despite it, Kate and Edwina don’t always, and that’s a damn shame.
Things I think I think:
- We’re fanning ourselves at those memories too, Kate.
- And THE HANDS. I’m weak. The way they reach for each other but just cannot get closer enough because the circumstances are separating them. MY HEART.
- The conversation with the Queen is literally Anthony’s worst nightmare. I hope he gets the wedding he wants when he finally marries Kate. The wedding they want.
- Benedict asking if the family should also be polished and braided for the big day HAHAHA
- And the “you’re overcounting” joke to Eloise.
- Are my things I think I think only about Benedict? And so what?
- But Anthony and Hyacinth when Eloise announces she’s attending a lecture on flower arranging!
- Not even Anthony believes the “nothing passed between us” lie.
- One of you needs to stop being stubborn, ASAP.
- The soft moments when they just feel, instead of thinking, are the highlight of this hour.
- Grumpy Anthony is actually kind of hilarious.
- Ironic how Mary talks about a choice between family and heart and tells Kate what the right choice is and Kate is still …just …unable to let go of this notion that she has to put family first, second, and third.
- “What I want is beside the point.”
- Or is it?
- “My feelings are of no concern”
- If I didn’t understand you so much, I’d strangle you, Anthony.
- Truly, I get where Lady Danbury is coming from. But it feels like she’s coming at Kate from a completely different perspective than she had in Season 1. It’s more than a little jarring.
- Giles, why are you so evil these days?
- The Sheffields are probably more or less the standard for families in that time period, aka they’re awful.
- The conversation forehead against forehead is the hottest thing this show has done, bar none.
- And then the way he cradles her face.
- I need an ice bath.
- This would have been THE perfect moment to call it off. Be honest with Edwina. It would have hurt, but it would have been better.
- But with Edwina being all like “I want nothing more than to be his wife,” that becomes even harder.
- Storytelling-wise, though, this was the moment.
- Anthony took the bad decisions crown in episode 4, but Kate always has to beat him, even in that.
- Simone Ashley broke me in the final few seconds of this episode. Broke me.