Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice” takes us to the verge of a precipice we didn’t even need to be close to, and then pulls us back at the last minute, but does so in such a violent manner we’re not sure we can ever feel safe again. The ground is still shifting underneath us, and trust will take some time to be regained.
It didn’t need to be this way. The story didn’t need a love triangle, but it especially didn’t need one that literally saw Edwina dressed as a bride and about to marry Anthony before it all came crashing down. There’s making a wrong storytelling decision, and then there’s taking that decision to the worst possible conclusion, and that’s what Bridgerton Season 2 has done.
That the episode ends with Kate and Anthony’s first kiss doesn’t make any off it better. We wanted their love story, and all we’ve gotten is six episodes of unnecessary angst (and fine, some superior longing), and now we have two more hours to somehow fix the issues the show didn’t need to create. They will, of course. We will get a happily ever after. But will it feel earned? We’re not sure anymore.
So, let us talk about families, choices, and the Queen as we discuss Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice”:
I FIGHT FOR THE FAMILY THAT I HAVE
In a season with so many great individual moments – most of them featuring Kate and Anthony – when the dust is settled the scene with Anthony and Daphne from Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice” will surely be considered one of the best non-romantic moments of the season. It’s a supremely well-acted scene, but also a perfectly written one, which is just another reminder that the writers really do know what they’re doing – even if, in my opinion, they still made a mistake taking this triangle where they did.
Anthony can’t turn back now. He’s come too far. And he did try, twice, last episode, to get himself out of this mess, and he couldn’t do it because Kate asked him not to. She put duty over herself and in a moment where Anthony could have pushed, he instead put her request over what he, himself, wanted. Because that’s Anthony Bridgerton for you. Let it never be said he doesn’t understand the way duty shapes decisions, be it his or someone else’s.
Let it never be said that he isn’t capable of making the same sacrifices for Kate that he’s been making for his family all along. Anthony Bridgerton is a man who loves deeply, and who has seen love as sacrifice for so long that, when asked to make one more sacrifice for someone he loves, he doesn’t hesitate.
Which is why he lashes out to Daphne about duty in their conversation before the wedding in Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice.” “I fight for the family that I h.ave,” he says, and that’s what he’s always done. Every second of every day since his father died. It’s just that, at some point, he forgot that family included him. He forgot he was on the list of people he should have been fighting for.
But Daphne isn’t taking him at his word, like Benedict has for most of the season. Instead, perhaps because she’s the only one of his siblings who has been through the torment and the happiness of finding the love of your life and almost losing them, she’s there to point out not just what he’s giving up, but how he has always, always done that, sacrifice himself. How he’s shut himself out, completely. The fact that he didn’t weep when their father died and hasn’t since. How we also stopped laughing. It goes unsaid, of course, that Kate has changed that.
Anthony pushes back, hard. He had no choice, in his mind. Just like Kate had no choice. That’s the only way he can sleep at night, to believe this thing that he’s doing is the only thing he can do, for both of them. But Daphne disagrees, and in a way that seems almost prophetic, as it applies to Kate as well, she points out that he keeps making decisions for his family, and then resenting them for it.
He does. He loves them, would lay down his life for them …and yet he also resents that they all get to make their choices, while he doesn’t. Except the person who decided Anthony couldn’t make his choices was …Anthony. His family loves him, but they don’t respect him for his sacrifices, instead, they just pity him. And they would absolutely support him, where he going to finally choose to follow his heart. Even if they don’t always understand him.
Anthony Bridgerton has spent all his life loving his family so much that he’s done everything for them instead the one thing that would make them the happiest, to see him make a decision for himself. Kate Sharma has done the exact same. This is the episode it all comes to a head, and boy, is that painful. But it had to happen.
WE DO NOT HAVE THE LUXURY OF CHOICE
My biggest issue with Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice” is that everything else aside, we did not have to get to the altar. Edwina didn’t need to realize the thing that should have been obvious in that last moment. This is a romance, not a drama or a telenovela. But perhaps my second biggest issue with the episode – and the season – is the characterization of Edwina Sharma.
Everything before this can rightfully be attributed to the naivete of someone who has lived a very, very sheltered life. But the Edwina of this episode wakes up in the last moment, and she turns cruel – which, again, is understandable up to a point, except the show has far exceeded that point.
Somewhere around episode two or three I turned to the friend I was watching the show with, and I said, if this culminates in the sort of fight where Edwina calls Kate “half-sister,” I’m not sure I can forgive her. And lo and behold, here we are. It is drama for the sake of drama, and something that seems so foreign to Edwina’s character, both from the books and what they’d shown us of her in the first five episodes.
Because you don’t throw that at someone unless you’ve thought about it before. Even if you’re angry, even if you want to hurt someone, you don’t reach for that unless it’s been in your mind. And Edwina had it there, ready to hurt Kate. The one who, yes, made the mistake of keeping secrets, but has literally fallen on the sword for Edwina, over and over.
There’s a fine line here, because Edwina does have a right to be angry, and angry at Kate specifically. Anthony utters the “we do not have the luxury of choice,” line, but the truth is, Edwina thought she did. She thought she was choosing, and that her choice was determined by his. Because she honestly believed Anthony had pursued her so relentlessly because he cared for her — despite Kate’s warnings to the contrary. She had no idea she was the one he was settling for.
And Kate did. Let’s put aside the fact that Kate thought she was doing Edwina a kindness, making sure she got what she wanted, because in the end, what Edwina was getting was a shit deal – a man who was never going to love her, and who was always going to look at her and think of someone else. And that moment, when she realizes, that’s a gut punch. That feels like the ultimate betrayal.
But the show didn’t need to take it this far, didn’t need to put her in this position. It didn’t need to put Kate in this position either. There’s the duty aspect, and then there’s basically throwing a bomb at the relationship between Kate and Edwina as the show attempts to tell a story not just of love, but family. The Sharma sisters, nay, the Sharma family deserved better. And so did we.
THE ROLE OF A QUEEN
The Queen has been spectacular this season, in much the same way she was in Season 1, except now we know her better, and that means that we are, in some ways, rooting for her. Not to unmask Whistledown, of course, but the more we see of her, of her relationships, the more we just want happiness for her. That’s truly what we want for all the women in this show, and that’s never just been about the main character in each season, or the Bridgerton women, but everyone.
We get to see a little more of what drives the Queen in Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice,” and it’s a great storytelling choice to have her be the one to give Edwina the advice that leads her to her final decision. The Queen has indeed been used more to drive the plot than anything in the first two seasons of Bridgerton, but the little glimpses of what else she could be have been enough to get us pretty hyped for the spinoff.
And, if we can also get a little more of Violet and Lady Danbury laughing instead of crying, well, we’ll take that too. We have never related to anything more.
YOU SIMPLY GAVE ME EVERYTHING YOU WANTED FOR YOURSELF
Edwina makes a fair point when she tells Kate this, because in truth, Kate has not allowed her to make any decisions. Her self-sacrifice has hurt everyone, not just Kate himself, and it’s the same with Anthony. Putting their families above their own desires has resulted in a situation where no one is happy, not themselves, and especially not their families.
But Edwina, throughout all of this, has been treated by the show much the same way she’s accusing Kate of treating her. Who is Edwina Sharma in season 2 of Bridgerton if not a plot device? She gets much more screen time than she did in the book, but the difference is that a fair bit of what we saw of Edwina in the book was, well, about Edwina. Her likes and dislikes, her relationships and her feelings. Here, everything Edwina does or doesn’t do is tied to Kate and Anthony’s relationship. She’s there to drive the plot, their plot, nothing more, nothing else.
Love triangles are my least favorite trope ever, and a love triangle between sisters was always one of my worst nightmares, but even I didn’t expect how badly the show would bungle Edwina’s characterization. This episode almost feels like she’s a different person than the one from previous episodes, and certainly a different one than the one from the books. That’s probably on the plot, too. Edwina needs to get mad (understandable), Edwina needs to drop some truths (also understandable), and apparently, Edwina needs to do so in such a hurtful way that Anthony and Kate can’t just say well, since that’s not happening, we can just get married next episode? (Ugh, why?).
I wanted to like Edwina Sharma, and for most of this season, I did, despite the situation the show was putting her in. Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice,” the episode where I should have been on her side, the one where she had a right to her emotions more than ever, however, was the episode where I finally realized what the issue with Edwina is. We don’t know her. And not just because she doesn’t know herself, no, but because everything they’ve given us from her is about someone other than Edwina.
You never care for the plot as much as you do for the character, right? Well, it’s even harder to care for the plot device, especially once you recognize it for what it is.
TO SUSPEND TIME
It is downright criminal that we got to the end of Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice,” before our first Kanthony kiss, but I will take the kiss and feel happy that the church itself didn’t burn down from their chemistry.
The kiss itself isn’t love or lust, not this time. Instead, it’s pure relief that they can actually do that without it being the biggest betrayal ever. That’s what been holding them back and driving the UST, after all (so many other ways to drive the UST, I could write a list, but whatever). But make no mistake, the kiss doesn’t mean these two are anywhere ready to admit what they feel for each other. And despite the fact that it was indeed Edwina who made the decision not to marry Anthony, they are still not in a position where they could choose each other right now, freely.
Just two more episodes to see how we can go from Edwina walking down the aisle to Kate actually marrying Anthony. Still not quite sure there’s any way it can be fulfilling, even if we know a happy ending is coming, but I’m willing to give it a chance. That moment at the end reminded me of why I’m here. And if I skip this episode in all of my rewatches of the season from here to eternity, well, so be it.
Things I think I think:
- Oh, joy, the Queen trying to trap Whistledown.
- I mean, I care more about it than I do the Featheringtons, but not much.
- Not the right person to judge how well the cultural aspects were handled. But really glad there seems to be a real attempt at doing so respectfully. Looking forward to hearing from you all if they did.
- Colin was clearly not gonna be the one, but before the wedding would have been a capital time to mention the things we know you’ve noticed, Benedict.
- “Once you marry, will your duty finally be fulfilled so you can stop reminding everyone of it?”
- True love is, indeed, when everything goes quiet.
- A TINY ANTHONY RUNNING AROUND DECLARING HIS TINY DUTIES.
- Kate giving Edwina everything, even the last thing she’s got of her mother’s.
- “If you continue to drink, there can be no after-effects.”
- And Eloise being all like if only you would use your powers for good to Benedict.
- IF ONLY.
- On Anthony, please.
- Also, Benedict, you can put down the drink while you brush Anthony’s jacket, I promise.
- Benedict being all like but I wanna know! And the way he looks at Daphne before he leaves the room hahahahahahahahaha.
- Dear gentle reader, I love him.
- I also love Daphne calling Anthony out on his bullshit, because she has been there. She’s his sister and she knows him and loves him.
- Hahahahah when Edwina says she doesn’t want to feel like she’s taking what’s rightfully Kate’s hahahaahhaa.
- BENEDICT WINKED AT ANTHONY WHEN HE GOT TO THE ALTAR.
- Violet’s face as she looks at Anthony look at Kate walking down the aisle says it all.
- I don’t’ even get how Edwina saw it right then, at the altar, when she hadn’t seen it before. What changed?
- Kate in the closet is just …a lot.
- Typically, I’m on Eloise’s side, but Colin is right …as they all walk into a room together to presumably comfort Anthony, well, that’s not the time to be so …Eloise.
- Benedict thinking of Anthony first GAH.
- Violet and Daphne are perfection. “You might be a Duchess, but you’re still my daughter” indeed.
- Ugh, Eloise, would you listen to Penelope?
- Or anyone?
- At any point?
- Edwina talks about lies and half-truths, but Anthony has never promised more than duty. She just convinced herself he wanted more.
- And she was also pretty happy with being told her future till this moment.
- I adore the way everything in Anthony changes as soon as Kate beings to speak ill of herself. It’s like he cannot possibly bear it.
- Plus, the quiet moments stolen together always mean so much.
- We are all Violet and Lady Danbury, laughing so we don’t cry.
- “I gave what I had without regret, and I would do it again.” Someone hug Kate Sharma.
- Half-sister is crossing a line, okay?
- Edwina didn’t need to be cruel in the midst of being rightfully mad.
- The scene between the Queen and the King was rather heartbreaking.
- Penelope talking about purpose makes me think we still have a way to go before Polin. And that’s how it should be. I want her to figure out her full purpose first.
- Isn’t it ironic that, with Eloise as her best friend, the one person that truly knows Penelope is Colin?
- “Your feelings, that I had merely borrowed”? Again, Kate did zero to make Edwina have feelings for Anthony, or think she had feelings for Anthony.
- And “today, you have lost your power?” Like what? What power? Someone please explain to me these words that make no sense.
- These two idiots cannot even properly say goodbye.
Agree? Disagree? What did you think of Bridgerton 2×06 “The Choice”? Share with us in the comments below!