Simone Ashley confirms she’s returning to Bridgerton for season three (spoilers)

Spoilers for Bridgerton season two in the text and photos
I might get stung for admitting this, but I haven’t yet finished the second season of Bridgerton. I’m savoring it and making my way through it slowly with a friend who doesn’t have as much time to binge as I do. Anyway, I’m about about halfway through and I’m already dying to know how it will pan out. The endgame is pretty evident, but the getting there is all part of the fun. At this point, I’m very much enjoying Kate and Anthony breathing each other’s breath, but like please make out soon (I know they will).

Simone Ashley plays Kate, and hopefully she will be the breakout star of this season. Her acting is impeccable and the push and pull between her and Anthony Bridgerton is completely believable. They are well-matched for their characters and in terms of acting ability, and their pairing makes perfect sense no matter how they get there. It’s fun just to be along for the ride! I’m not a Bridgerton book reader, but I do know that each season is supposed to follow a different sibling. We’ve seen that previous season hotties don’t necessarily stick around, but they do have lasting implications for future seasons. Case in point: Kate and Anthony.

Ashley shared the news exclusively with Deadline at a dinner celebrating South Asian culture hosted by Netflix in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

“We’re going to be back! Kate and Anthony are just getting started,” she revealed. “We have the amazing Jess Brownell who is taking the lead as showrunner in Season 3. In Season 2, there was a lot of push and pull between Kate and Anthony, there were complications with the family, and then they find each other towards the end. I think everything is just starting. I’d like to see Kate just let go a bit more and play more in Season 3 and kind of swim in that circle of love together. I think they both deserve it.”

Even though viewers are all about the intense love connection between Kate and Anthony, Ashley promises the Viscountess will thrive on her own.

“She’s in charge of the household now and she’s got big boots to put on. I think she can do it,” she said excitedly. “I want to keep that softness and vulnerability to Kate, for sure, and she can share that with Anthony. I’m just excited for her to have a home and to have a family. I’m excited to see her grow. I think I’d like to see Kate being much braver and less headstrong and more heart strong.”

Ashley is proud of how Season 2 wrapped its arms around this multilayered story focused on family, love, and strong women coming into their own, instead of it being a story about a man coming between two women. While on the surface it may seem that Kate and her sister Edwina (Charithra Chandran) are competing for Anthony, Ashley says, “It’s more like three love stories are going on at once.”

“It’s not that at all. It’s very evident that Kate is just trying to protect her sister and if anything, she’s actually being dishonest with herself, therefore being dishonest with her family. She’s not afraid to own the fact that she has feelings about disappointing her family, to have that confrontation to let her family down because she’s put them first her whole life. I think a lot of women can relate to that. And I think it’s so brave of her to actually let that go and eventually after the mistake she makes to come forward. It was also very brave of her sister Edwina to come back together and set each other free,” Ashley said.

She continued, “It’s about the love story between the sisters, one between Kate and Anthony, and the love story of family. The Viscount and the Diamond are doing it all for their families and their duty.”

Ashley is also particularly proud of how the Sharma family, who are immigrants to London from India, was portrayed as outsiders in this world of opulence who eventually carved out a space for themselves.

“It’s much different for them than it is for the Bridgertons and the other families that we meet in this world. It’s an act of survival, and it goes beyond finding a love match,” the English actress said. “How am I going to protect and take care of my family, for them to live for them to eat, to be taken care of, and have a roof over their head? That’s the heartbeat I kept throughout the whole series, how important Kate’s family is to her. This wasn’t about who could get the Viscount, it’s so much deeper than that. Kate’s dedication and love for her sister is especially profound. Kate suffered a lot of loss when she was younger which she didn’t deal with because she had to sacrifice her own life to uplift Edwina’s, to give her a chance because she adores her. She doesn’t want her to go through the same things that she did.”

As for the future, Ashley hopes Edwina continues to grow into her own and potentially find a love match of her own.

[From Deadline]

Spoiler alert (for me too). I do know from my friends that Kate and Antony spend less time happily together this season than they do in the books. Everyone I know wants more Kate and Anthony, so it’s welcome news that Simone Ashley will be returning for another season as Kate to round out the relationship. Jonathan Bailey will be returning as well. They’re both great actors and I completely buy their characters and their connections. This is a welcome change from the first season’s featured actors. That season almost solely focused on them, while the second season spent a lot more time on periphery characters much to the dismay of longtime fans.

I’ve heard from my book reader friends that the Rege-Jean Page character didn’t appear much past the first book so that series is accurate in that regard. As someone who only watches the show it seems weird and like a huge oversight. I think that having Kate and Anthony return in future seasons will enrich the storyline and make the world feel more realistic, no matter the level of their involvement. People usually don’t just drop off the face of the earth and stop attending family gatherings with their in-laws as soon as they get married. And most readers want to see Kate and Anthony have their version of a happy ending, no matter what that may look like, clever verbal sparring included. And like Simone says, I do think most people will want to see some kind of happy resolution for Edwina’s character. No matter how poorly matched she was for Anthony compared to her sister, Edwina was a character fans could root for as well.

Photos credit: Liam Daniel for Netflix via Netflix Press

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84 Responses to “Simone Ashley confirms she’s returning to Bridgerton for season three (spoilers)”

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  1. Aurora says:

    I’m having trouble getting through this season. I get the idea of a slow burn but the circumstances leading up to it is actually anxiety-inducing this season.

    • Becks1 says:

      I said the same thing yesterday on the Links post. I’m only two episodes in (hoping to get another 2 or 3 in today) and I’m not really feeling it so far. I loved the book so I’m hoping the season picks up.

      • Mia says:

        Totally agree not enjoying two snarky people arguing all the time. Also the Edwina character is so lame and docile.

    • Mich says:

      I had the same problem, so I cheated. After watching the first three episodes, I watched the final and then went pack to follow the whole story through.

    • MMC says:


      They changed things from the books so much and I don’t like it. In the books him and Edwina don’t get serious at all and it’s so much better.
      Being in love with your sister’s fiance is just so gross, I couldn’t get into the plot. It’s so much better in the book.

      Simone and Jonathan do have amazing chemistry so that is enjoyable, but the sister factor just makes it icky.

      • Becks1 says:

        That’s my issue, even with as few episodes as I’ve watched. It seems they’re trying to make Anthony and Edwina into a real thing, and in the books it never gets that far, there is some courting but nothing major (like giving her a horse, wtf, lol.)

        I also think that I’m bothered so far bc the second book is my favorite out of the series (with Colin and Penelope’s a close second) so i don’t think theyre doing justice to it yet. But, I’ll make a final determination soon lol.

      • MMC says:

        Those are my favourite books too, so I was really really looking forward to this and can’t say I’m satisfied.

        They also didn’t really explain properly why he chose Edwina, the whole duty and fear of love/aging etc. thing. The chemistry is basically the only thing that makes it enjoyable.

      • Sigmund says:

        Watching it now, and I HATE the changes they made to the Edwina/Anthony relationship. There was no love triangle in the books, and I much preferred it that way.

      • MMC says:

        Even a love triangle would be bearable, but a love triangle with FAMILY?? So gross.

      • Nic919 says:

        I don’t think they ever implied that Anthony wanted to pursue Edwina for anything other than that she was the diamond of the season and met his checklist of a good wife. And Kate was not seeking it out. Without getting too spoilery, there are not any actual lines crossed until a certain event happens and while some people have complained of the lack of sexy times, the story demands it in a way.

        I agree it is muddier than how it was set up in the book, but also we are never really given the impression that Edwina really fell for Anthony either, but it was more looking to get the best marriage to help the family.

        What probably doesn’t help is that Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley have such great chemistry that it seems like they are doing way more than they are in the early stages and there is definitely an emotional connection with their characters from the outset.

      • MMC says:

        Even if Edwina didn’t fall for Anthony, it’s still yuck because she is Kate’s sister.

        And they removed a lot of warmth and love between Kate, Mary and Edwina.

      • Slippers4 says:

        I agree. It’s too slow a burn. I’m not mad at screen adaptations that are good. I am happy about Marina, for example. But this went off the rails to unnecessary levels. I think Simone Ashley is the perfect, Kate and they didn’t have enough of her.

      • myjobistoprincess says:

        comment & SPOILERS
        At one point I thought the younger sister was making them spend time together because she realized Anthony wasnt for her. Yuck sibling triangle. But that’s the story! But hey, I loved the old series Sissi (with Romy Scheider) and the prince did choose her instead of the sister.

      • JennaR says:

        This was my issue as well. The book worked for a reason!

      • Thelma says:

        I’m a fan of the books and was looking forward to this season but it’s been a slog. Idiot like how much they changed Edwina/Anthony. And I actually didn’t think they was much chemistry between Anthony and Kate. I threw in the towel last weekend after watching 4 episodes. Will attempt to finish this weekend.

    • Lili says:

      I cheated, i fast forwarded through a lot of it, i felt quite icky with how the story was going, and wasnt sure how they would bring them together, and i still cant make myself go thorugh it a second time to catch up on bits

    • PaulaH says:

      The music arrangement is so beautifully done!

    • Philly says:

      It’s a total snooze, I’m only halfway through ep 2 and don’t think I can sit through any more.

      • LaraW” says:

        Lol, I just realized that my high tolerance for suuuuper long agonizing love dramas comes from watching so many K-dramas (the really old school ones, like Winter Sonata, or All In). A romance being resolved within 8 episodes is nothing compared to the absolute, slower-than-a-snail pace of some of those— and they don’t even have the benefit of sexual tension or arguments. Just lots of crying and stuff about societal obligations. If you ever want to build up your endurance, watch a Korean love drama from the aughts. 😉

  2. Maria says:

    I LOVED this season, so much more than S1. Jonathan and Simone have amazing chemistry and oh god the pining is deliciously excruciating.

    • Lolo86lf says:

      I binged watched Bridgerton last weekend and I absolutely adore it. The chemistry between Kate and the Viscount is just a mix of the Notebook and Fifty Shades of Gray. The sex scene on the last episode out in the garden was very realistic almost to the point of porn.

    • Khunjo says:

      I loved S2 better than S1
      Simone is my new girl crush, I’m glad they both coming Back in S3.

    • PaulaH says:

      I can’t say I loved one more than the other. They are so different. I can’t wait for the next season.

      • LaraW” says:

        They’re definitely really different and I kind of like that about the series. It’s like an exploration of classic romantic tropes lol, and I really like the way they included classic Bollywood tropes into this season. It made me think more about how romance and love stories have their own very distinct cultural differences rooted in history and literary tradition. I think the way people have reacted so strongly to one season versus another is great— just goes to highlight how different stories and dynamics resonate with people in very different ways.

    • Angela says:

      I loved season 2 way more than season 1. It relied less on everyone getting naked every other scene also. It helped build tension.

  3. Neners says:

    I’m so excited! I adored Kate and Anthony and definitely need to see more of them!

    • Lolo86lf says:

      Yes. But the writers will have to focus on another sibling. Don’t get me wrong, I want to see Kate (the most beautiful Indian woman I have ever seen) manage the Bridgerton household. The character is very assertive and smart.

  4. Normades says:

    GOOD. Give us the post martial steamy stuff.

  5. Ninks says:

    I loved the second season so much more then the first but my one complaint was there was too much focus on the side stories and not on Kate and Anthony. I’m thrilled we will get to see them in the happily married phase of their story in future seasons. Simone and Jonathan really nailed the chemistry and are such strong actors.

  6. Mich says:

    I haven’t read the books so don’t now if Edwina has her own story at some point but there is a BIG hint of her possible happy ever after in the last episode 🙂

    • Becks1 says:

      No, she doesnt. In the book she ends up either engaged or actually married (I think just engaged at that point) so her happily ever after is sort of tied to Kate’s in that both are able to be happy bc the other one is happy.

    • Mathom says:

      IIRC, in the book, Edwina already had her studious, bookish, and preferred suitor; but he wasn’t wealthy. Edwina was put on the marriage mart because she was the younger, more personable sister, and she had social connections to the aristocracy through her mother. Kate was too old, too opinionated, and a social nobody. Kate marrying Anthony allowed Edwina to marry her studious, bookish suitor.

      • JennaR says:

        Which was perfect, and I’m still annoyed about the drastic changes. The only movie I ever thought was better than the book it was based on was Under the Tuscan Sun.

      • Margaret says:

        Ooh! I much prefer that storyline to the one we saw on screen.

  7. Mmc says:

    I can’t wait for Colin and Penelope

    Benedict’s story isn’t that interesting in the books, so I hope they improve it in the show.

    • Normades says:

      I wish they made Benedict gay or bi.

      Colin and Penelope are going to be epic!

      • LaraW” says:

        The way they depicted the romance between the painter and his lover in Season 1 makes me think it’s not going to happen— even in Bridgerton’s racially diverse world, LGBTQ+ is depicted as something illegal that people go to jail for. I mean, Eloise reading pamphlets about women’s rights and going to a meeting was the height of scandal. Bridgerton’s whole thing is feeding its audience classic romantic tropes, with a giant side helping of sex. But those tropes are based largely on heteronormative gender dynamics and still take place within the rigid structure of the Regency era’s socio-economic stratification.

        So I would love to see a LGBTQ+ story, but I don’t think it’s in the cards for Bridgerton, unfortunately.

    • Lolo86lf says:

      I don’t see Colin and Penelope ever being an item, but I am hoping Benedict will have a male lover with hot steamy love scenes happening.

      • QrsGeorge says:

        Hate to tell you this: But there’s a whole book in the Bridgerton series about Colin & Penelope’s very happy, very sexy, very successful relationship. It’s arguably the best of the siblings’ stories.

    • Pi says:

      Do I love or hate this comment? I want Penelope to get what she wants (Colin) but I was afraid she might not so I avoided looking up anything at all about the books. Yay Penelope!

  8. Elizabeth Kerri Mahon says:

    It actually makes more sense for Anthony and Kate to be around for the next two seasons because he’s the head of the Bridgerton family.

    • Becks1 says:

      And he and Kate both make appearances in almost all the books, so they should be in the series the rest of the time. Simon Hastings is quickly reduced to a bit character in the books, I think we see him in one or two scenes and that’s kind of it, so it also makes sense that Reje-jean chose not to come back and to continue with his career.

      • Nic919 says:

        I was never too fussed about him not returning but I did find that Daphne was a better character this season.

        I do wonder if he might return for a cameo in the next season since Covid restrictions on filming are less of an issue and that was part of the issue with the other projects he had booked.

  9. Common sense says:

    I enjoyed season 1 so watch that I couldn’t wait for the second season. However, I was so disappointed with this season; it was incredibly boring. I honestly didn’t care for Anthony,Kate and Edwina. The Featheringtons were the only story line I enjoyed. It was also nice seeing Daphne and baby August.

  10. KeepCalmandBergeron says:

    I really loved this season, I thought they were able to get the spirit of the book and its characters while ironing out some of the issues I had with the book itself.

    I was not a fan of the love triangle being carried out as long as it was but this someone shared this awesome article about the Bollywood influences on the season and, honestly, it made me love the season even more:

    I am sooo excited to see Kate and Anthony in the next season, exploring their marriage and relationship with their families, who will be putting up with a LOT of PDA it looks like, haha.

  11. QrsGeorge says:

    I was so, so disappointed in season 2. The whole thing was, in a word… bleak. Stretching out the tension between Kate & Anthony thru 8 episodes was a slog. The writers just made way too many drastic changes to the storyline from the books. Kate was made so unlikeable, too rigid and stern, stubbornly clinging to her unhappiness. Edwina had a total personality change 3/4 thru the series: Over the span of an hour on the “big day” she went from happy innocent girl to Mature Woman of the World with Pithy Things to Say and her philosophical speeches over the remaining episodes got old pretty fast. What the writers did to Eloise & Penelope toward the end should be a CRIME; I hate how that relationship was altered and how Penelope was treated. And making Eloise out to seem like a privileged lecturing brat who likes to cosplay progressiveness but really doesn’t get it… just ugh. Most of the nuance of the characters was eliminated, and I know things need to be condensed for TV but it felt like the writers went after the storylines & dialogue with a hammer instead of a scalpel. So many major plot points were changed from the book, it’s hard to see how they can follow the remaining books’ stories in anything other than name. Finishing season 2 just made me completely depressed.

    • Tessa says:

      Thank you for saving me the trouble of typing something similar. I was sorely disappointed in this season as well, for most of the same reasons. And I haven’t even read the books, but I feel like all of your critiques are valid even for S1 vs S2 comparison. Edwina was grating in her perfection towards the end. Kate’s motivation was contrived, too – after they finally made out, she was like “he doesn’t love me, no, I won’t marry him”, what?

    • LaraW” says:

      I was really interested in this part of your comment: “Edwina had a total personality change 3/4 thru the series: Over the span of an hour on the “big day” she went from happy innocent girl to Mature Woman of the World with Pithy Things to Say and her philosophical speeches over the remaining episodes got old pretty fast.”

      I didn’t think the change was abrupt because if we had seen Edwina only in the context of her being the Diamond, interacting with suitors and such, we would’ve seen a woman well read, well spoken, graceful and gracious. It’s only because we see so much of the dynamic between the two sisters that she seems naive and innocent, and so her demonstrating her own strength to her sister is that much more shocking.

      And it’s intended to be that way, I think. This is Kate and Anthony’s story— we see the girl Kate raised, the one she protected for so long. But Edwina could not have been blind to the circumstances of her family— she worked twice as hard and was just as willing to sacrifice for the sake of her mother and sister (which is why Kate didn’t tell her about the whole Sheffield’s thing).

      Edwina seems to grow up overnight from Kate’s perspective. But she’s always been strong and wise in her own right. She comes to a country with completely different customs, is named the Diamond, and handles the expectations of it all beautifully— even Daphne says she’s an impeccable Diamond. Edwina herself said she has inner resources— that doesn’t develop in a vacuum.

      She rebels against Kate. Kate is essentially her mother figure and when Edwina asserts her independence, it’s against Kate and not her own mother. Imagine if Kate had actually been Edwina’s mother— we wouldn’t find her desire to know herself unusual. It would be understandable that Edwina wants to know who she is outside of her mother’s expectations and desires. It’s a classic theme— only here it’s directed at her older sister.

      I didn’t realize I felt so strongly about this series. Things that seem self evident to me are not obvious at all, which I guess only goes to show how much I could relate to both Anthony and Kate’s positions. Because I’ve lived a lot of it.

  12. Scrambled Eggs says:

    This season had be positively FERAL (just the Anthony x Kate moments). I honestly fast forwarded through all the Featherington drama, which just sucked so much energy out of the show. I really didn’t care much for Daphne and Simon last season, but I enjoyed Daphne as a wiser sister this season. As for the triangle, I usually hate those, and wasn’t the hugest fan here, but the chemistry between Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey was so electric I was like give me more, so I’m so excited that they will return next season, though hopefully with lighthearted storylines and family dealings and not romantic drama.

  13. MaineGrl says:

    I like this season even better than the first. I love how they are beginning to flesh out the other Bridgerton children’s personalities as well as other characters like Violet’s story. Antony and Kate are perfectly cast. I’ve ready all the books, and probably Colin and Penn’s story is my favorite!

  14. Duch says:

    So glad to see this review after yesterday’s links review. Like you, Peridot, I wanted to stop time as I watched it, it was so engaging. I spaced episodes over the weekend so I could extend the experience. In fact I did go back through a couple family scenes and watched it at .75 speed. You can see so much more of the opulence and watch the facial expressions, and speech is pretty much at normal human speed lol.

    The 3 leading actors are all so well cast, and just so expressive. They all do so much with their eyes. I also agree Simone Ashley (Kate) is one of the most beautiful women I’ve ever seen, but her acting range from firm (ie when she’s walking into the wedding) to soft (her range of expressions in the bee scene). And their chemistry together, wow. Jonny Bailey is awesome too (he’s won an Olivier award – like a Tony – for his role in Company playing a gay bride). And Chandran had the sweetest role and the most impressive arc that she pulls off.

    And the supporting actors (all 4 mature women – I include Lady Featherington) are so much fun to watch. They built out the world so well.

    I’ve not read any of the books and I enjoyed season 1 pretty well (8/10), but my only complaint is we didn’t see get to see enough of marital bliss – I’m glad there’s some in season 3 for that.

    I think this is the longest comment I’ve ever made on Celebitchy, but I just can’t recommend this highly enough!

    • LaraW” says:

      I have such a love/hate relationship with Lady Featherington. That speech she gives to the new Lord Featherington at the end was amazing. The stuff she told Miss Thompson (Lady Crane now) at the end of Season 1 gave me so many *feelings.* I admire the way she just pushes through society in a very in-your-face way no matter what others say behind her back about her and her daughters.

      But my god, some of the other things she says and does, especially to her own daughters.

      So yeah, love/hate.

  15. MellyMel says:

    Loved this season much more than Season 1, which I didn’t think would happen, but isn’t surprising since the second book was much better imo. Simone & Jonathan have much better chemistry than the main leads of the first season. I wish they hadn’t changed so much from the books though, but I still enjoyed it.

  16. WiththeAmerican says:

    I just love Kate so much as a character, I love seeing a woman who values freedom above all else portrayed on the screen.

    That makes the chemistry between them more interesting to me, and while it’s awful watching Edwina’a pain, she didn’t actually love A, she just sees him as a great match. She doesn’t even know him, really, as evidenced by her assertion that he has such a calm temperament.

    • Jennifer says:

      Edwina also wants an intellectual and Anthony doesn’t read. I feel like she likes him for the attention and prestige more than actual love.

      I did prefer in the books that Edwina and Anthony didn’t have feelings for each other or care much, but it’s TV so we gotta have the drama.

      • khaveman says:

        I thought Edwina thought of A as a life she deserved and worked hard for but didn’t really love him – there was appreciation, admiration. And he didn’t show any real love for her, just transactional. I didn’t see anything between those two in the way the show presented it?

  17. FCH says:

    The pining/yearning was *chef’s kiss* perfection. Simone Ashley was superb but I think Jonathon Bailey really took the cake. He was so unlikeable in season 1 but I thought they really did a good job showing why he was so obnoxious. And Bailey really did an excellent job showing a man wound so tight now losing his grip (hello cheek clenches). But I thought the pacing was completely off. Trying to pack in so many b-plots when there were only 8 episodes made it feel like nothing really got the attention it deserved and the a-plot felt pushed aside some times. I think they would have done better to have a single b-plot focusing on next season’s lead and then small updates for the other characters to move their stories along.

    • MF says:

      Totally agree about Jonathan Bailey! He really had the better character arc and he totally nailed it, playing every emotion to the hilt.

      And yes, too many B-plots. I enjoyed Eloise and Theo, but there was too much of the Featheringtons and the Lady Whistledown stuff.

  18. Kari says:

    I’m not gonna lie I hated the first season so much that I never finished it. I just didn’t care much for Daphne as a character, nothing against the actress that plays her I like her, I just felt like the character was too boring for me. I watched season 2 out of curiosity and actually enjoyed it, I really like the way they’ve revamped Kate’s character.

  19. LadySwampwitchGivsNeauFux says:

    This season is the “Taming of the Shrew” season. Its annoying to me. I feel like Simone really did a great job, I didn’t think the Viscount was that great. He seemed to do a lot of lip trembling and eye brow raising, I also think they brutalized Eloise’s character from a smart rebellious young woman to a selfish brat. I hate what they did with Nicola’s character-making her the always friend-lonely sad.

    • Vera says:

      I was thinking of the same, especially that her anglicised name is Kate!

    • LaraW” says:

      I didn’t interpret it as Taming of the Shrew because all of Kathani’s anger and vitriol is directed at Anthony on behalf of her sister. She’s very capable of being really agreeable and pleasant with the right company. I actually kind of liked her with Mr. Dorset— he managed to make her laugh like she didn’t have a care in the world. It lit up her face and made her so beautiful.

      I went back and watched some of Season 1 and Anthony acted EXACTLY the same way with Daphne as Kate does with Edwina. Only Anthony did it in a much more high handed, overbearing, repulsive way. He thought he was doing his best for his sister when in fact he was disrespecting her personhood and ability to choose for herself. He has NO ROOM to accuse Kate of being a gatekeeper, not when he did much worse.

  20. Original+penguin says:

    I hated what they did to Anthony in the first season. He was so unlikeable I thought it would be hard the redeem him. He is so much better here where he is closed to the book, but it also incongruous to have had his antics with Sienna when he is all about duty and family.

    Kate is fabulous. I would have liked to see more of her story here though. It’s a shame it’s been cut to feature a non book featherington story.

  21. LaraW" says:

    So interesting to see all the different opinions about this season. I’ve never read the books so came into this as a completely blank slate. Spoilery things below:

    One of the themes that came out very strongly was (obviously) duty, but also parentification. After the death of their respective fathers, both Anthony and Kathani are forced to not only raise and take care of their younger siblings, but their mothers as well. They’ve been forced to stay in that role for so long (eight years), foregoing their own happiness– even their own identities– for the sake of keeping the family afloat, that it’s come to a breaking point. They’re so strong that they’ve become brittle. Anthony cannot keep the word “duty” out of his mouth, constantly reminding everyone that he’s carrying out his duty, and his siblings begin to resent him for it. Kate goes behind her mother and sister’s backs, trying to secure her mother and sister’s financial future, only to have the whole thing blow up in her face.

    When you think about it, what do Anthony and Kate actually like to do, as individuals, not as people filling their roles? Did Kate even like learning to play the pianoforte, speaking French, dancing the quadrille? I think it’s heavily implied that if she had in the past, the joy has long since been sucked out of it in the process of having to perfect it herself to teach her sister. I know that Edwina loves reading. Kate? The only thing she seems to have is racing her horse (she doesn’t even have her own horse) as fast as possible every morning, which is very symbolic. Anthony does everything to keep his social standing impeccable, being the perfect landlord, making sure the family is never in debt. You can attribute some of that to his competitive nature, but the emphasis he places on his future wife being perfect, having all the right qualities to fill the role of Viscountess, means that he demands perfection of himself. The only place he finds a sort of respite is sex. However, it’s shown in the montage that even that doesn’t make him very happy.

    One of the themes that is omnipresent in any romance drama taking place in this time period is money. Kate has limited ways of earning money, but it’s clear she’s been working and saving diligently because she, her mother, and her sister are dressed impeccably (in contrast to the Featheringtons). The journey from India was costly and as she says, she’s used the last of their money on making the trip. Anthony has lots of money and as a man, many way to earn it. However, he has to provide for his seven siblings. I really enjoyed the fact that Daphne in Season 1 didn’t have to worry about marrying for money because she was completely financially secure and obviously had a large dowry. In this series, we know that she didn’t have to worry because Anthony made it possible. By contrast, you have the old Lord Featherington gambling away his daughter’s dowries, now the new Lord Featherington running a scheme to con rich people out of their money.

    The difficulty of Kate bearing financial responsibility for her family isn’t hard to imagine. Anthony’s is more subtle. It doesn’t come from being head of a noble house– it comes from being head of a noble house with seven siblings. Anthony pays a large donation for Benedict’s art academy, he foots the bill so Colin can meander through Greece, Eloise never has to worry about pocket money to buy books and she’s always decked out in the latest fashion; the family hosts a huge party at their country estate that undoubtedly costs large amounts of money. Anthony meets with their solicitor, he balances their books, he reads up on agricultural practices to consider things about renting the land. In Season 1, Simon goes through that whole phase where he finds out he’s been neglecting all the duties to his estate as a Duke and now everything is a huge mess. Anthony had no choice but to take on the duties as head of household because he had to provide for the family and maintain their social status. His mother was in deep depression for months and it seems he essentially had to sink or swim that first year after his father died. As for Kate, the sacrifices she made so Edwina could grow up protected, softer, happier, less marked by bitterness or deep grief, are self evident.

    The chemistry is great, the lead actors are really beautiful and sexy, everything is visual eye candy. But I liked this series much more than the last because I could relate to the responsibilities Anthony and Kate had to take on– the weight of those duties, the way it crushes you the longer you’re forced to give up more parts of yourself, how the mistakes you make are never small mistakes but catastrophic ones. It’s a romance for the audience but for the characters, it’s when they reach their breaking points. That’s why I think they understand each other, and I like to think that going forward, they’ll continue to be dutiful (because it’s a fundamental fact of their existence) but they will be able to share the burden.

    • Powermoonchrystal says:

      I love and appreciate this comment so much. I also loved the season, but I love a strong romance heroine and a Mr. Darcy type. You eloquently put what set the TV version apart in this case, which is the parentification of both Kate and Anthony. I also identify a bit as an older sister, so this season was my jam

    • Becks1 says:

      Their parentification is definitely a HUGE part of the books, for each. There’s actually a line in Eloise’s book that made me teary-eyed, where Anthony says to her something like “so many times I had to be your father when I wanted to be your brother.” So it’s a big theme for him.

    • Suzy Lee says:

      I rarely comment, but I wanted to tell you how much I appreciated your thoughtful take on this season. Beautifully articulated the main running theme for these two characters. I especially liked this: “It’s a romance for the audience but for the characters, it’s when they reach their breaking points.”

    • Meg says:

      Love this comment so much. You articulate exactly what makes this season so good.

    • K says:

      Thank you for this! You said it all much better than I ever could. There were so many layers to this season and the evolution of both of the main characters and their siblings (Edwina, Colin, Eloise) was beautifully done. Miles and miles above season one.

  22. Dee Kay says:

    I feel like the only person who watched Bridgerton s2 and hated Kate/Anthony, individually and together, until the very last episode. Kate lied to her sister about her own feelings for the sister’s fiancé. Anthony lied to his fiancée about his feelings for her sister. They both were too stubborn and clueless and emotionally inept and cowardly to own up to what was happening and to speak the truth. And they were both incredibly dour and kind of mean — to everybody — throughout. If I were Edwina I would have taken literally years if not a decade if not a lifetime to forgive them.

    That said, in the last episode, when Kate and Anthony were finally married, they *were* a cute pseudo-bickering couple. I wish the writers had made the transition between “stupid gormless mean girl/boy being needlessly cruel to the younger sister” and “funny good-time couple madly in love” a LOT earlier in the season.

  23. Murphy says:

    Simone Ashley is breathtakingly beautiful.
    But Anthony Bridgerton’s adult scenes with Siena were hotter, sorry.

  24. Flowerlake says:

    She has huge charisma

  25. LA says:

    I totally get people’s reservations and issues with this season. But I must admit…I just loved watching Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey playing off each other so damn much. That CHEMISTRY.

  26. Little Red says:

    I haven’t let myself watch it instead I’ve been binging on YouTube fanvids for the past week. I will watch it but I want to make sure that I don’t overdo it.

  27. Veronica S. says:

    I find the series a vast improvement over the books, in all honesty. Julia Quinn is a mediocre writer on a good day, but I’m halfway through the second novel and just started at how overwhelmingly bland and tepid the plot and characters are. She seems to understand the formula for regency romance but not understand the reasons why it works or how to properly build dramatic and romantic tension.

    Even with the flaws the series has, you can see a more deft hand at work at developing character and story, and the actors are doing the Lord’s work filling out their characters and making them more expressive. This is a case where the adaptation decidedly beats the original material for me.

  28. Veronica S. says:

    I find the series to be a vast improvement over the books, imperfect as it may be. Quinn’s style is mediocre and fairly tepid, and her characters tend to be fairly bland and trapped in meandering plots. Winding all the stories together from the start was, frankly, a good idea because otherwise the story would feel very empty. The writers and actors here are doing the lion’s share of making the characters engaging, and they certainly have a better eye for building romantic and dramatic tension.

    I’m halfway through the second book and fairly unimpressed. I would mostly recommend people skip them, in all honesty. You’re not missing much, and there are far better regency romances out there.

  29. Becks1 says:

    okay i finished the season, so here are my thoughts. *spoilers below*

    I did not like how they had Edwina and Anthony on the verge of getting married. I thought that was just stupid. She changed her mind bc she saw how he looked at Kate? And then she got so mad at Kate but it didn’t make sense to me; it wasnt like Kate was actively trying to steal Anthony from her or anything. And then I didn’t understand how the wedding was called off bc of Kate and Anthony’s feelings for each other and then they still act like worst enemies?

    Edwina’s anger at Kate felt unjustified to me. Yes Kate should have told her about the dowry but she was trying to let her make her choice without that pressure.

    One aspect of Anthony’s character that I wish the series had gone into more was his obsession with his father; he basically thought that his father was the greatest man ever, and that he could never be better than him, so he had twisted it in his mind that he would die at the same age his father did, because he couldn’t do anything better than him so he couldn’t outlive him. So that was why he was so obsessed with marrying someone he did not love, bc he was convinced he was going to die young and he didn’t want to do to someone what Edmund’s death had done to Violet. And that’s why he pulls himself back from Kate so much, even after they’re married.

    They clearly have his relationship with his father as a key point and do touch on the idea that he doesn’t want to hurt anyone, but i think they could have done more with that.

    I also didn’t like what they did with eloise and penelope’s relationship and Eloise finding out about P being Lady Whistledown.

    All that said, I did end up liking the season more than I thought I would when I started, especially once the wedding was called off. I love Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury was perfection again. I cried during the scene with Mary and Kate where Mary tells her that she never had to earn her place in the family.

    So overall I thought they made some changes from the book that weren’t for the better (how serious Anthony and Edwina got), and some changes that were. So now I am looking forward to see what they do with the next few seasons.

    • LaraW" says:

      Omg Becks1 I apparently have so many Thoughts about this season because it hits on so many of my personal experiences and apparently I need to share all of them. I went back and watched some of Season 1 and that part where Violet asks Anthony whether he’s just a brother or the head of the household made my heart break. And then when Lady Danbury, Violet, and Mary are trying to figure out how to salvage their reputations in the ton, and Anthony leaves, then Violet says that afterwards, it still leaves him no one to marry, despite the fact that she just saw how Anthony and Kathani are drawn to each other– it felt so cruel. Anthony is overbearing, yes, but I can’t think of a time when Violet has a kind word for him.

      And I really didn’t understand Lady Danbury’s actions this season. She actively pushes Kate away from Anthony and disapproves of them even before Anthony asks Edwina to marry him. I’m thinking of what she says to Kate at Aubrey Hall– maybe I’m missing something? Each time it seems like Anthony or Kate might let their desires come to the surface, it seemed like it was always pushed back down by someone reminding them very sharply of their duties.

      When Daphne says it should be a right for everyone to fight for the family they want and Anthony says he fights for the family he has– and then when Edwina blames Kate for everything, saying that she was living Kate’s desires, Kate’s life, Kate’s feelings, that Kate forced her down this path as if Edwina was pushed along helplessly.

      The thing about being the eldest and hearing people say they never asked for your protection or money or help is that even after they say that, they keep asking for more. They rarely step up to take your place. And if you hadn’t protected them, if you hadn’t provided and looked out for them, you fall into the category of the bad older brother/sister, seen as having abdicated your responsibility. Then they would have blamed you for not protecting them. Anthony suggests that the line doesn’t end with him and Violet asks if he would place the burden on his brothers– as though it’s the height of selfishness for Anthony to stop.

      What does the family do when Anthony is clearly in distress after Edwina runs away from the altar? Make quips. Say clever things. Only Benedict tells them all to shut up and leave Anthony in peace. Edwina blames EVERYTHING on Kate. As though Lady Danbury and Mary weren’t also right there, pushing her towards Anthony. Suddenly, when ONE THING goes wrong for Edwina, Kate is her HALF sister. The words she has for Kate in that church made me start crying. And I know, I KNOW what it feels like to just want to wait, just a moment, allow yourself to not think about the consequences, about the future, about how you’re going to fix things or save things or make sure the people you love get through another day.

      I think Anthony had Siena in Season 1 because she gave him her undivided attention. She gave him emotional intimacy. They didn’t just have sex– you see in some of the first scenes how Anthony actually talks to her, actually laughs, tells her stories. She wasn’t a duty, she wanted to smash his clock. And then he gave that up, because his mother demanded it of him, because it was damaging to the family reputation.

      Kate’s dream of having her own household is a dream of living without having the worries of the welfare of her sister and mother weighing her down. A dream of living for herself, with no one else she’s accountable for. It’s not independence in the purest sense– not the same independence Eloise seeks. It’s just being able to have breathing room.

      I don’t know. I have Feelings that are taking me by surprise. For me, the romance isn’t the heart of it. I see two desperate people who are choking on their duties and recognize the other is also drowning.

  30. Becks1 says:

    @LaraW I agree with a lot of what you said. The part where Anthony says to Kate something like “shouldn’t we finally do something for ourselves” hit me. He really was trying his best to be there for his family without them even asking (making the donation so Benedict got into the academy for example). And it was just assumed by the family that he would run things. We never saw Benedict or Colin step up to help with the estate, for example.

    Re: Lady D, the reason she was pushing Kate away from Anthony was bc the dowry was tied to Edwina. She knew that Kate was trying to set Edwina up for life with money and that a good marriage for Kate did not accomplish that. (This is another big difference in the book, where Edwina doesn’t have a dowry at all but is 100% aware that the burden of marrying well for the family is on her. After Kate marries Anthony, Edwina says that she can now marry for love, and Anthony sets up a dowry for her).

    Edwina’s comment about Kate being her half-sister made me gasp, I thought it was so cruel. I just couldn’t figure out what she wanted from Kate. She wanted to live her own life but she also wanted Kate to be there for her like she always was like you said. But even if she was mad, she was dragging it out and refusing to forgive Kate etc.

    • LaraW” says:

      Becks! It’s even worse than I remember! Edwina kept insisting on the match despite Kate saying otherwise— how can she accuse Kate of having forced her down the path to marrying Anthony?!?

      I clearly need a forum or some kind of book club to work through my feelings about this, it’s like pulled at something in my subconscious and won’t let go.