Bridgerton “Off to the Races” Spoilers Ahead
Written by Daniel Robinson, Bridgerton‘s “Off to the Races” finds its footing while cranking the angst through an oven. It’s not an easy episode to watch if you are prone to secondhand embarrassment, but I suppose, if we are to get to the meat of this love story, we have to get through the ugly bits. And this episode allows us to see every bit of Anthony Bridgerton thinking too little and Kate Sharma thinking too much, leading to what’ll be a perfect balance when they clash together.
But by the end of it all, it’s apparent that while the viscount continues to stumble, Edwina is the one beginning to fall. She wants and deserves a love match but believes that an honest man is worth something too, which isn’t a wrong assessment, but rather, it’s one that’s making me a bit uncomfortable. Because we see very little with Anthony courting Edwina in The Viscount Who Loved Me, the mind tricks itself to look beyond all the reasons it shouldn’t work, but it’s hard to ignore those bits with the series when they’re more prominent.
Thematically, “Off to the Races” makes nothing more apparent than the importance of speaking from the heart, but before our hero and heroine get there, we need to put up with all the ways in which they’ll deny their desires.
Off to the Races
As more reaches the surface, Kate Sharma isn’t keeping all her reasonings a secret. She tells her family, Edwina included, that she overheard Anthony declaring he doesn’t believe in love at all. She also holds nothing back from the viscount as she calls out his libertine reputation when he tardily pays a call to Edwina. And in a rather exciting display, both families play united as one as roaring waves stir within them before it all breaks loose.
Anthony’s ploy with Thomas Dorset was far from honorable, and his craven apology is even worse. For that, Kate was entirely correct to call him out, and she was right to dismiss him at the poetry reading, mainly because his lack of transparency is far from the honor her father spoke of. Edwina doesn’t see this, but despite their known similarities at this point, Kate doesn’t see his better sides either. (Yet.) Perhaps if he actually sat by his family at the race or if he paid more attention, it’d be different. Still, the only glimmer of hope she currently has in his character is how easily she can find similarities with Eloise at the soiree.
Anthony coming to his senses quickly about reading Benedict’s words aloud is the only saving grace in this episode because everything about that scene is uncomfortable. And there’s also a lot to be said about Kris Bowers’ “Come With Me” playing during this scene to showcase that Anthony is clearly courting the wrong woman (though this might not be something the general audience picks up if they don’t listen to score as often as we do).
The way he and Kate then look at each other in those final few moments is where we finally get to the spark as Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley shine a glare on their insecurities in a way only close examination shows. This is where the audience gets a faint glimpse of the fact that the other also wears a facade.
We also catch a masterful display of said insecurities through Ashley’s performances as she tells Danbury: “I do not care what a single person here thinks of me. Once Edwina is married, I shall return home alone, only too glad to never step foot in this city again.” The way Ashley collects herself is incredible as nothing is more painfully apparent than how much she cares and how her deep-seated insecurities have now worsened. She absolutely cares, and partly, way more than anyone else gives her credit for.
Duties Duties Duties
Anthony Bridgerton loves the word duty as much as Benedict Bridgerton loves to point out the obvious. The decision to have him be the one to point out how alike Anthony and Kate are will be fascinating when lovee challenges his own awareness next season. Bridgerton’s “Off to the Races” clarifies that though Anthony does, in fact, think a lot, the very same insecurities that plague Kate are hindrances he bears too.
If Anthony could just stop for a moment, he’ll see it clear as day. But he isn’t there yet because his duties cloud his perspective, and poking fun at him continues to take priority over easing the load.
More to Say
Colin is back, and Penelope is the first notice, followed by the two of them locking gazes in a gorgeously rewarding scene that feels far too good to be true. But it’s worth noting once again that the two of them actually being friends is going to make Colin’s “I Found” (Amber Run) moment that much more amazing.
Colin finding himself in Greece is exactly what most fans wanted him to do, but swearing off women is the polar opposite. Because as much as Colin friend-zones Penelope later in this episode, there’s so much more to the “You’re Pen” statement than he understands. But still, Colin will get there, eyes wide open to what’s always been in front of him, and when he does, we’ll be ready. For the time being, Nicola Coughlan continues to destroy us with her swift changes in her expression, trying desperately and failing to mask her sadness.
What Her Majesty Wants, Her Majesty Gets?
Golda Rosheuvel remains a tough act to follow in her performances (and that blue wig at one point!), but it’s hard to pretend like Queen Charlotte’s actions won’t be the season’s downfall. The show’s pushing for more entertainment because of her game with Whistledown, and where that could lead to with Edwina might be the most agonizing decision in dragging storylines when they shouldn’t take precedence over quieter moments.
Bridgerton’s “Off to the Races” is not an episode to re-watch often, but it’s still one with great moments that pushes us towards the true starting line we’re all waiting for. This is a romance after all, and in the same way that the queen wishes for entertainment, most viewers are here for Kate and Anthony and everything that their story has in store.
Afternoon Tea and Further Thoughts
- Whistledown calls Kate a “prickly spinster of a beast” which is valid, I suppose… if she couldn’t call her a singed daffodil.
- Kate’s dresses in this episode are perfection.
- Benedict’s “the sister” is comedic gold, as are the men getting pampered.
- The “every rose does have its thorn, after all” quote? A bit much.
- Claudia Jessie is something else this season. “I cannot think of any cleverer way of saying this, but no” in that tone, with that facial express? SO GOOD. Although how Eloise still hasn’t figured out Penelope is Whistledown is beyond me.
- Violet’s every facial expression this season is gif-worthy.
- “Should we separate them?” “It’s all in good spirt.” Is it though? Is it?
- Eloise and her footman and the banter? Here for it.
- The queen’s blue wig is fab.
- Colin’s smirk at Violet scolding Anthony. Yes!
- Edwina’s comment to Penelope at the soiree (and the yellow dress) is the sweetest.
- Portia’s turquoise dress is also stunning in this episode.
- Benedict’s POEM. SOPHIE BECKETT WHERE ARE YOU!??
- Oooh Genevieve seeing Pen.
- Eloise and Theo Sharpe is going to be interested.
- I still hate that Anthony straight up tried to pass Benedict’s words as his own. The Knightley vibes, just say “I cannot give speeches,” my dude. It’s all good.
Bonus Content: Listen to the Lady Geeks’ Society Podcast Episode of “Off to the Races” for more Bridgerton
Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on Bridgerton’s “Off to the Races?” Let us know in the comments below.
Gissane (pronounced Geese-enny) or, as people often call her, "Goose," is a Christ fan above all and a romance enthusiast who's taken her Master's degree in English and love for essays into writing lengthy analyses about pop culture.
She is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of Marvelous Geeks Media and the co-host of Lady Geeks' Society Podcast. She drinks too much coffee, wants to live in a forest, and cries a lot because of her favorite characters. She's a member of The Cherry Picks and can also be found writing features for MovieWeb and Looper.