Simon and Daphne have a number of precious dances throughout Bridgerton’s first season, but their first dance in “Shock and Delight” stands as our favorite. (And we’ve spoken many times about why their actual first, the one to “We Could Form an Attachment” is absolute magic.) However, this particular one is merely butterflies evoking galore, and to a melody that, oddly, for reasons I can’t explain makes me weepy when it’s relatively upbeat. Undeniably however, it’s the sheer, unbridled joy in that moment—it’s this precise dance that changes so much between the two of them.
It changes so much of what they both know and believe because while the idea stands that they must act like they are enjoying each other’s company, the reality is that they actually are. Promenades are one thing, but a dance where the other’s laughter could forge a fire of unparalleled bliss into the other is unlike anything either of them had ever faced. Daphne cannot help but smile—boldly and beautifully at Simon’s unabashed joy, and the same goes for him. They’re playing into the charade of courting lovers when in reality, in this moment and during this dance, they are entirely entranced by one another. Spinning and smiling and finding joy in a moment that’s so infectious, there’s not a person in the room that can’t feel it.
We’ve written about dances before and in regency especially, the ones where hands linger a little longer than they should and eye contact is so piercing, it tells thousands of stories in a few moments of shared intimacy. But this isn’t like one of those dances—their second one, when he insists that she call him by his name, is. And while we adore that one to bits (and probably, likely will write about it too someday), there is something about this dance that’s so intoxicatingly transcendent.
It’s just impossible, whether they are a favorite couple of yours or not, to watch this moment and not catch yourself grinning like a buffoon. It’s impossible not see that the joy that is shared is so deeply penetrating, it transports them both (and all of us), into a place of delightful harmony. It’s so fast-paced, so extraordinarily dazzling that you can’t even take a proper screenshot. (You need gifs or videos.) And yet, the thrill of it all makes it that much more vulnerable because for a moment, both their defenses are down—both their masks are off, and this isn’t a game of pretend, but a dance between two friends who’d never known such closeness as this. And that’s part of what makes their love story so beautiful—the fact that in their friendship, they find joy unlike anything they imagined, and it’s that very joy that leads to the love they find later on.
It’s knowing that there is no one else in the room with whom they can be as unarmored as they are right in this moment. It’s knowing that there is no one else in the room who could make them smile as much. And it’s the unexpected feeling of realizing that this game is effortless for them, not because they’re good at playing it, but because they aren’t—because in each other, there’s a spirit that the other’s been longing for without even knowing or understanding why. It’s Simon the notorious rake, grinning as though the world is his when he’s a man who could barely even smirk around others. For a moment, the man with demons and darkness that engulf him every hour of the day, is able to find unceasing joy with the one woman he never thought possible. And that is part of these types of dances that we adore so much, they are what awaken the emotions people have been longing for. They awaken something the others in the room could never, and for that reason, there is no looking back.
How do you go from this much joy to the arms of another and expect it to feel as gratifying? You don’t. It doesn’t happen. And that’s why, in the end, it’s two of them through everything.
Do you love this dance as much as we do? Or is another your favorite? Tell us in the comments below and maybe (likely) we’ll do a scene breakdown for that one, too.