Bridgerton 2×07 “Harmony” is about the fallout. It picks up on the after of the disastrous almost-wedding of Anthony and Edwina, and the drama for the sake of drama of the sixth episode of this season. But even without the comparison, this episode succeeds in many of the ways the previous one failed. The pacing works so much better, the characters are back to being mostly likeable and things are finally starting to take the shape we want them to – even if we would have preferred they do so much quicker.
The fallout from Edwina’s decision is, of course, the focus on the hour. Lady Whistledown basically blames the Queen, which is both unfair and better than the alternative. Edwina holds onto her anger while Kate just wants to disappear. Then, there’s Anthony, who finds a new purpose, and a new perspective, by leaning into what has always been his greatest strength – family.
Let us break down the romance, the family, and the ways this show attempts to right all its previous wrongs as we review Bridgerton 2×07 “Harmony”:
The only way out, as they say, is through. And for the Bridgertons, whatever the scandal might be, that means they’re going to face it together, as a family. This is the same for the Sharmas. This is why, despite the mess the show created in the last episode, in this one absolutely every member of both families falls in line when it’s needed to protect their own.
Family isn’t just the good moments, though most families are made up of more good moments than bad ones. That’s why it’s not surprising to see them all come together, just as it’s not surprising to see Violet and Mary more or less steering their families to where they need to be. In many ways, this season has paralleled Anthony and Kate’s duty or, at least, the way they perceived that duty, while another big parallel has fallen by the wayside, that of the mothers.
Violet and Mary both struggled mightily after losing their husbands, and it is refreshing to see Bridgerton allow women a chance to grieve and to have that grief be devastating, as grief can sometimes be. They both had kids that stepped up while they grieved, and though they are not responsible for their kids putting duty above themselves, would have never asked them to, the circumstances that led Kate and Anthony towards the situation they’re in today can still be directly tied to not just the loss of their respective fathers, but the grief they saw in their mothers afterward. It’s not about assigning blame, but understanding responsibilities.
Neither Mary nor Violet can change the past. What they can do now is try to help Kate and Anthony realize that life is more than duty, or at least, it should be. And though they both take steps forward to that realization in Bridgerton 2×07 “Harmony,” that’s not the kind of thing you can just flip a switch and understand. It’s going to take some time, for both of them.
THE PROBLEM WITH BEING ELOISE
The problem with being Eloise Bridgerton is that you’re too smart for anyone to dismiss you, and you know it. Well, that and that you’ve grown up in the kind of family that has always celebrated you for it. Which means you’ve never felt the need to hide it. That translates to people around you knowing not just that you’re smart, but that you know you’re smart, and in turn, that means they give you the credit you deserve, and sometimes even credit you don’t deserve.
Enter the Queen, who, of course, thinks Eloise is Lady Whistledown. And enter Eloise, who would never just tell her family about what the Queen thinks, never put off what she views as her problems on her brothers, much less her mother. Eloise is a Bridgerton, and if she has to make sacrifices to protect her family, that means she will. No matter the cost.
It’s both a fun and a heartbreaking dichotomy, because the solution, or at least, the perfect partner for Eloise has always been, well, the partner that she has, Penelope. But though Eloise loves Penelope, she has never truly seen her — and therefore, never truly respected her for who she is. This isn’t wholly on Eloise, of course, Penelope is very good at hiding herself, and her secrets. But if Eloise could just see behind the façade Penelope puts up, this whole situation would be less of a tragedy.
Which I guess is the point. Bridgerton Season 2 is about unconventional love stories, and though the season whiffs badly when it comes to Kate and Edwina’s sisterhood, it succeeds in putting both Penelope and Eloise in an impossible situation. It seems unlikely they can come out of this with their friendship unscathed, at least on the short term, but finally seeing each other for who they are might truly benefit both Penelope and Eloise, and strengthen their bond even more.
It is, after all, one thing to love the person you think your friend is and another quite different to love your friend, for all their good qualities and all their bad ones. One would say that is true love.
SECOND SONS – AND DAUGHTERS
Another parallel the show would benefit from drawing is that between Benedict and Edwina. Particularly because it’s interesting to examine the life Benedict can lead as a second son, with the life Edwina is forced to as a second daughter. For him, there’s infinite freedom. For her, there are no choices.
Ironically, the best storyline for Edwina would have been to give her a choice. To make her aware of Kate’s deal with the Sheffields, and have it be that she was only marrying Anthony out of duty, nothing more, nothing less. If we eliminate Edwina’s “feelings” from the equation, the situation is more like a palatable comedy of errors and it’s possible to end the engagement mess at the end of five, and have three full episodes to, you know, focus on the actual couple of the season.
Edwina, however, is reduced to a plot device, to a vessel for righteous anger that is often badly expressed and lacking nuance. Benedict, on the other hand, gets a chance to shine in Season 2. And “Harmony,” takes it one step further than it has before, by having him break with expectations by finally confronting Anthony with his feelings – feelings he, and everyone around Anthony, had noticed long ago.
He doesn’t pull a Daphne while serving Anthony some tea, however, because he isn’t Daphne. He isn’t speaking from the same place she is. Instead, he’s talking to his closest friend, his brother. The one he grew up with and the one that, unlike his siblings, he mostly got to continue seeing as a brother, even when Anthony took on the responsibilities of the Viscount.
And perhaps this is why Benedict’s advice gets to Anthony in a way Daphne’s didn’t – couldn’t (someone should have just confirmed some of Benedict’s suspicions before, imagine all the grief we could have saved ourselves?). Well, that and Benedict’s whole laissez-faire attitude about Anthony’s issues makes it so much easier for Anthony to take the advice without feeling like Benedict will turn that around on him.
The advice he gives is brilliant, though, and I hope it is one Anthony gets to parrot back to him next season when it’s his turn to act dumb (they share one brain, and clearly Anthony has now regained it so Benedict, you’re on your own going into Season 3). Life is often a matter of perspective. Things aren’t black and white, as Anthony is so used to seeing them. There’s truly nothing quite as freeing as realizing that.
A MIRROR OF EACH OTHER
We’ve understood Kate and Anthony as mirrors of each other from the beginning. But Bridgerton 2×07 “Harmony” is, perhaps, the first time Anthony fully understands that about Kate, as well. What he’s done, he’s done for his family. What she’s done, she’s done for hers. And where has that left them but miserably staring at each other from across the room, trying to pretend they wouldn’t trade it all to be together?
What Anthony does with that realization speaks to the kind of man he is more than anything else has this season. He chooses to act on it, not for himself, but for her. Because Mary and Edwina, Lady Danbury, and the Sheffields, everyone who looks at Kate sees just the shield she puts up, but Anthony Bridgerton, who has always seen more than that, is finally looking at her and seeing all of Kate. And he wants to comfort her.
Kate has made Edwina’s happiness her entire purpose in life, just as Anthony has made taking care of his family his only purpose. I don’t think Kate has ever considered that, perhaps, her sister would have wanted her to be happy too. That her sister, as mad as she is right now, wouldn’t have chosen Kate’s sacrifice. That instead, Edwina would have loved to be Kate’s equal.
But Anthony sees it now, about himself. And there’s something startling about realizing the new perspective you’ve just gained doesn’t just apply to you. But, of course, the problem is …the problem has always been that you cannot make someone else see the truth, they have to get there by themselves.
A GLIMPSE AT THE FUTURE
For non-book readers, this might not be as big a deal. For me, however, the moment when Anthony calls his sister, Hyacinth, down for a dance, was a highlight of Bridgerton 2×07 “Harmony” — no, this season. And it’s truly a sign of how Anthony is finally shedding the weight of responsibility and allowing himself the new perspective Benedict counseled him on.
It’s not surprising, and yet is. He’s always been softer with his younger siblings. He has, after all, played a different role in Gregory and Hyacinth’s life than he’s played in Colin, Eloise, and Francesca’s life, and a much different one than he’s played in Benedict’s. To all of them he’s the older brother who at times had to act like a father, but still very much remained the older brother, particularly when they were upset at him. To Gregory and Hyacinth, and especially Hyacinth, who never met her father, Anthony is more than a brother — he’s her parental figure.
He’s never shied away from that, but in a way, he’s always seen it as a duty instead of a joy. He loves her, and he loves being there for her. But he didn’t choose to have kids and he still had to be a father. A different perspective, though, means that this Anthony can perhaps look at his little sister and see not the girl he was forced to raise, but the young woman who helped him not just survive but who reaffirmed that, even in his darkest moments, he was always more than someone who couldn’t love. She’s proof of that, after all.
IT IS BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER MET ANYONE LIKE YOU
Self-awareness looks very good on Anthony Bridgerton, I must say. It has taken way too long for my liking, but I will take it. As we examine his self-awareness, though, it is important to point out that Kate isn’t there yet, not fully. And the reason she isn’t is that it’s just not as easy for her.
Anthony is a man, and he’s not just a man in a time period where being a man is infinitely easier, he’s a Bridgerton. That means he’s got familial support that transcends what Kate has or has had. Because yes, Mary and Edwina love Kate, but right now they are both upset at her and they have also always loved her in a way that was a little convenient.
We do that, sometimes. We let people take on burdens they shouldn’t at times when we cannot. And then we forget, afterward, when we’re better, when we could perhaps resume carrying our own burdens, that those burdens even exist. Particularly when the person who should be asking for a reprieve, Kate, would never ask anything for herself. And though part of this is a decision made by Kate, we must examine why the decision came about. We must examine the role her family has played in who she is today, particularly as we discuss the fact that she cannot possibly accept what she wants as easily as Anthony does.
Let us not forget also that Anthony has had at least two siblings pushing him towards the truth. Kate only has one sister she’s never truly allowed to see her.
The person Kate Sharma can be with love and support, the person she will become after some time with Anthony and the Bridgertons, is something I truly hope we get to experience. No matter how this ends in episode 8, the truth is that we have been robbed of the amount of Kathony as a couple content we deserve. The only way to make that right is for Bridgerton to give us plenty of quiet moments between the two of them in Season 3. They can judge Benedict together, we won’t complain.
But Kate does, in Bridgerton 2×07 “Harmony,” after Anthony basically pours his heart out, accept a little bit of what she’s feeling. His words are stronger, clearer, but she is just as shaken, and she admits that as much as she can. And though everything about that scene in the gazebo screams of should have happened much sooner, including that mention of her scent that needed to be an episode two, four, and six thing, not an episode seven one, it’s still glorious to finally get to that moment after basically seven hours of UST.
BEFORE WE BOTH FINALLY DO SOMETHING FOR OURSELVES
But at last, that’s what they do. And though this scene is about so much more, it must be mentioned that Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley’s chemistry doesn’t depend on them bickering or staying apart. They’re fire when they’re apart, and they’re even better when they finally come together. This is the mark of both tremendous actors and on-point casting. In fact, it is their chemistry that has made it feel like we’re wasting precious time every second they’re not on screen together.
There isn’t much more to say about this scene other than that and finally. The rest of Bridgerton 2×07 “Harmony” is just a setup for the kind of tragedy that will force Anthony to come to terms with his grief, at last, and to choose to open himself up, completely. Because he’s come very far, but he hasn’t come as far as Kate needs him to. More importantly, he hasn’t come as far as he needs to, for himself. Love still feels like a big word to him. But there’s nothing quite like the ghost of loss to remind you of what matters.
But credit when credit is due. He does get up, gets dressed, gets the ring that could only ever be Kate’s, and goes to see her right away. He still doesn’t have the words, but let it never be said Anthony Bridgerton puts things off. In fact, Anthony Bridgerton really, really likes to act first, think three days later. And, unfortunately, considering the way this episode ends, he’s going to have some time to sit on all the things he should have said before this story can get the happy ending they, and we, deserve.
Things I think I think:
- The beginning of this hour – well, except for the memories of the kiss – is probably the saddest point this season.
- I do appreciate Mary trying. Despite the fact that I believe the show did Edwina dirty, I have very few complaints about Mary.
- “There will be no mockery today.” But is that truly the Bridgerton way?
- I truly believe the only reason everyone’s mocking Anthony is because they absolutely know he doesn’t truly care about Edwina.
- The whole thing with Benedict being like is there something I – not them, just I – need to know is perfection. I’ve said this about Benedict 7343 times this season, but he just is.
- Penelope being the only one that’s nice to the Bridgertons is fitting. Particularly considering where I feel the story is taking Penelope in Season 3. But we shall discuss that after I see how the season ends.
- Look, Eloise is, indeed, a good candidate for Lady Whistledown.
- Mutual decisions? AT THE ALTAR?
- Right, that’s what we’re going with.
- Edwina has a right to be mad. And if she were only mad as she is at the beginning of this hour, it wouldn’t even signify. Everyone did lie to her. But after the “half-sister” thing, I’m not feeling her anger. Maybe it’s just big sister syndrome.
- Newton has changed his mind about Anthony, I see.
- Yes, Edwina, they were indeed always this obvious.
- Lady Danbury hitting them with the cane to keep the distance would be hilarious if this whole thing weren’t so annoying. Mostly because yes, it was obvious. Everyone knew! And now everyone is acting like this is such a big secret Kate and Anthony kept. Except they’ve been acting this way for A WHILE.
- The relationship between Anthony and Violet was one of the things this season had to get right, and they truly did. I feel so many things every time they share a scene.
- Genevieve gives sound advice, but that doesn’t mean it’s easy to hear – or do.
- But perhaps where the season really shines in the Bridgerton family dynamics is with Anthony and Benedict.
- “How long do you plan on punishing yourself for and wallowing in such misery?” indeed.
- THE WAY LADY DANBURY CATCHES ANTHONY AFTER JUST STANDING THERE AND BREATHING KATE IN.
- I’M FINE.
- The apology to Mary is a nice touch. And her self-awareness is one, too.
- If you could pretend you can stay away from Kate, that would be good, Anthony.
- Kate does indeed need to apologize. But every day for the rest of her life?
- One thing I’m certain is that Anthony is not ashamed of having kissed Kate, even if perhaps he should be.
- You think you don’t take her for granted, Colin, but you do. Perhaps you’re starting not to, but the relationship is still on such unequal ground.
- Is that …Portia, for a second …considering Penelope and Colin?
- I know I said I had nothing to say about Jack and Portia, but just …yuck.
- Do I agree with what Penelope did? No. Do I understand it? Yes. Is it black/white? Very much no.
- “A new perspective, yes?”
- Anthony calling Hyacinth down is such a little thing, but it means so much. To her, to him, and to us. She’s never had a father, not really. Her only father figure has been Anthony. So to see her get this moment, to see him appreciate it the way he clearly does …well, it made my heart grow three sizes.
- The entire dance does, to be quite honest.
- “As one makes one bed, so one must lie in it” applies to everyone, does it not?
- Calling Kate cruel is …well …another step too far, for me. Willful misunderstanding in a moment of pain, but misunderstanding, all the same.
- “It is maddening, how much you consume my very being.”
- While he was talking about her scent, I was melting.
- The way their noses brush as they breathe each other in is sexy AF.
- “Making me reconsider everything I ever told myself.” So annoying, isn’t it Kate? To find that person?
- They both move at the same time, but I always feel Kate moves a millisecond before.
- Look, the hand placement during the sex scene might just be the hottest thing.
- The way he screams Miss Sharma, and then, when she falls, it’s just …Kate. My heart.