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Why Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma Are The Couple We Need Right Now

Kate and Anthony in Bridgerton Season 2
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2021

Part of the reason the first season of Bridgerton was so successful at the end of 2020 was due not only to the fact that romance has always been popular and has remained an inexplicably unexplored resource for adaptations, but also because it came at the end of a difficult year. Everyone was ready to be swept off their feet to a world where an acerbic word from Lady Whistledown counts as high stakes. Well, here we are now, over a year later, still in the midst of a pandemic that has no real end in sight, some things have changed forever before our eyes and any remaining semblance of control we may have ever felt over certain aspects of our lives slipping through our fingers with increasing alacrity.  

Looking at the third year of uncertainty sprawled out before us, we’re all struggling in some way, and it’s only natural to yearn for something to fill the cracks that are starting to form, a balm to soothe our frayed ends. So it’s perfect timing that Bridgerton will grace our televisions again when Season 2 is released on March 25th because we’re in dire need of the bright and airy delights of this world and the escapist joy that it brings. And while Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma’s romance would have always been hotly anticipated — as The Viscount Who Loved Me is a fan-favorite book in the series — it’s particularly fortuitous that they’ll be the main focus this time around because these two, more so than many of the other Bridgerton couples, have to navigate their way through their own anxieties in a chaotic and unfair world in a way that fans will identify with keenly at this particular moment in time.

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By the end of Season 1, despite his best intentions to always do right by the family, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) made his fair share of missteps when it came to Daphne‘s time on the marriage mart; his own love life was more than a bit of a disaster, his tumultuous relationship with opera singer Siena Rosso having finally crashed and burned its way to its inevitable conclusion. We leave him in a relatively defeated place, having sworn off any thought of love in the future and resigning himself to marrying an acceptable woman and producing an heir as expected.

Anthony has tried to bear all the pressures (both societal and self-imposed) placed upon him to be a venerable viscount and family leader. Still, anxiety is a hell of a force to be reckoned with, especially after making mistakes and facing disappointments despite trying as hard as you can when it becomes too tempting to listen to the nagging internal refrain doing its best to convince you that anything you do will only lead to more pain. Part of the journey of Season 2 will be delving into more of the reasons why that’s such a potent fear for Anthony. 

Writer’s Note: Book details ahead for those who want to remain completely spoiler-free until Bridgerton’s Season 2

Kate and Anthony in Bridgerton Season 2
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2021

Not truly processing grief is a Sisyphean task; you can only run from it and push it down for so long before it keeps rolling its way back onto you somehow. All of the Bridgertons were plunged into grief when Edmund died unexpectedly, but Anthony is the only one who had to step into his father’s shoes immediately, not even able to catch the breath that was knocked out of him so suddenly before he’s crushed under the weight of responsibility for his family. It’s unsurprising that when the audience first meets him, he’s finding some sort of comfort and escape from that terror in the form of Siena.

It can feel inconceivable that the world continues to go on when your life has been so violently altered. And without a healthy way to process those feelings, continuing to go through the motions for one more day, then the next, chips away at who you were, one small piece at a time. Anthony is nothing if not wholeheartedly intense (it’s part of why we love him), and a lingering sense of doom is a common symptom of anxiety. So his stresses — exhibiting themselves as a certainty that he’s going to die younger than his father did — are appropriately extreme, as his decision to try and save himself from further heartbreak by closing himself off to the idea of love.

While that’s very specific to his experience, collectively living the trauma of the past several years should make many of us able to sympathize with what it feels like to struggle with the idea of what a previously planned out future looks like after life is thrown into such disarray. It’s incredibly easy to remain stuck in that bleak place, but luckily for Anthony and the audience, that’s not how the romance genre works, and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) is about to knock down his walls like a wrecking ball whether he’s ready or not. Those walls are not insignificant, but neither are hers. 

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This season’s heroine will swoop into London with her family (and Newton the corgi!) in tow, and not a moment too soon. Her younger sister Edwina is declared the diamond of the season, but Kate Sharma shines just as brightly in her own right, even if much of the ton can’t see it. We’ll see what alterations may be made for the show, but in The Viscount Who Loved Me, Kate is usually overlooked, so she’s convinced that she won’t find a husband and that this trip is most likely merely a stop on her road to spinsterhood. But she’s no shrinking violet, and she’s dedicated herself entirely to making sure Edwina finds a good match by protectively monitoring for any unacceptable suitors. Namely, the rakish Lord Anthony Bridgerton, whom Kate despises immediately upon meeting but also can’t keep out of her head.

This isn’t our first romance rodeo, so we know where this is going — they start out as enemies, become lovers, and we’ll all bask in their smoking chemistry as the trope gods are satisfied once more. They’ll engage in a war of wills and wit, “grind each other’s gears” (as Simone Ashley phrased it to Entertainment Weekly), crack each other open like eggs, and at a time when Kate feels the most alone, Anthony will be there to assure her that she’s not.

Kate has a paralyzing fear of thunderstorms, which is such a visceral manifestation of all the tumultuous energy swirling around inside of her. She’s dealt with the loss of parents, she feels insecure about always being ignored but also doesn’t necessarily want to be the center of attention so as not to be found lacking, and she has an internal fire that acts as a source of glowing warmth to the people she loves and frighteningly scorching to anyone who would do them harm. It’s very much part of her personality to keep anything negative she feels to herself, as so many people do.

It’s a horrible reality of anxiety that it feels like something shameful, to be hidden away and dealt with alone, the thought of someone seeing you as the mess you believe yourself to be only compounding all your fears. It’s incredibly isolating, so seeing one of the main characters of this season deal with panic attacks will be so powerful for everyone watching who has endured them.

There’s no doubt that her family wouldn’t hesitate to help Kate if they knew, but that task instead falls to Anthony, who finds her panicking and offers comfort during a storm at Aubrey Hall and recognizes how she’s suffering from many of the same things that plague him too. It doesn’t fix everything, but in the moments when it feels like things will never be different, will never get better, someone simply being there to tell you that they get it, they see you and don’t think less of you, is a heaven-sent relief. Very sadly, everyone watching doesn’t have their own Viscount, but the audience can still hear his words to Kate and take them to heart for themselves as well.

Daphne and Simon brought intricacy and nuance to our screens in Bridgerton’s first season — all of the couples in this series have their complexities, and no matter whose story came next, it would have been a welcome delight to fans. But there’s something that feels particularly serendipitous about focusing on two characters who so badly need to sort through the mess in their heads. And something hopeful about knowing that by the end of the season, they’ll be able to fully do so with the support of a companion they trust implicitly, secure in the knowledge that their relationship will always be a soft landing place.

We may not feel overly optimistic about our own world right now, but Bridgerton acts as a respite because for every rumination about untimely death or secret fear that you’ll never be as desirable as your sister, there’s the scintillating banter of Kate and Anthony’s first meeting, the gleeful pandemonium of Pall Mall, or a well placed Newton antic.

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This pair is sexy and fun, and they’ll make us laugh and swoon. It’s already been a blast to be a part of fans’ not-at-all-contained excitement over the most recently released photos from the season and the teaser trailer. Seeing what new moments the show’s writers have created for these two on their journey of helping one another heal and flourish is one of the most highly anticipated aspects of Season 2. Despite some of the darker aspects they carry around inside themselves, we know that the episodes will be lush with comedy and ebullient softness to balance out the drama because their anxieties are not the entirety of who these people are. Kate is feisty, funny, and soft; Anthony is gentle and loves his family fiercely, and as they come together, they’re truly something to behold. The beauty of watching them fall in love will be the reassuring catharsis of seeing that a person can witness the raw and ragged parts of yourself that you try to keep hidden and still see someone worthy of love.

It’s like being wrapped in something warm to stave off the colder and harsher realities of life. That’s the magic of a show like Bridgerton and the love that it champions. We’ll all be rooting for Benedict and Sophie in Season 3 as they tear down class prejudices to be together, and the year after that, we’ll sigh in relief as Colin realizes that his perfect match has always been Penelope, but right now, the timing couldn’t be more perfect for Kate and Anthony.

Bring on the 1814 social season.

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