In what might be the most cheerful scene in Netflix’s Bridgerton Season 2, the family’s country dance brings to our screens a moment of untarnished joy, temporarily liberating each person in the room from whatever cross they’re carrying. It’s an utterly precious and beautifully heartwarming dance that reminds us why the Bridgerton family is a comfort to us all, and more than anything, it allows us to feel every ounce of the love they have for one another. If it were a full house, including Daphne and Francesca, it’d reach a level of perfection for which we’d then have no words.
It’s an incredibly moving moment for Gregory and Hyacinth Bridgerton, allowing them to finally partake in a ball as opposed to looking in from the outside. And for Hyacinth of all the children—it’s a moment to be her most authentic, ineffable self in a room full of people who adore every fiber of her being.
Anthony Bridgerton is far from perfect. Sometimes, he shows up too late (and while that’s another scene we’ll break down later), it’s worth noting that this ultimately exhibits much of who he is and how deeply he adores his family. Thrust into a position where he’s forced to be a father instead of their big brother puts colossal pressure on him, but there’s no denying that Hyacinth shines as their joy in the darkness. And it’s precisely why this moment stands out because it shows us a critical detail from the books that couldn’t be translated onto the screen with words the way that it could through actions, in this case, a dance.
“Hyacinth, who was now just eleven, had never even been held in her father’s arms. Anthony had tried to fill the gap as best as he could, but he knew he was a very pale comparison.”
From the second he realizes everyone’s still upset to the moment where it clicks that a new perspective is a way to go, Jonathan Bailey is outstanding in showing us what’s scheming within. This moment doesn’t call for a challenging solution; the answer, for once, is clear as day—what would his father do? What would he, Anthony, do? When Edmund goes to pick flowers for Violet, Anthony suggests picking some for Daphne as well. Jaded and broken in a multitude of ways, but the love that lives in Anthony Bridgerton is paramount. His compassion is boundless, and his love for his family is unmistakable. He might’ve lost sight of his gentle spirit amidst scrambling to fulfill his duties, but he never once lost an ounce of the love he carries for his family.
And much of his adoration is not only pronounced in his physicality, but we hear the affectionate pride in his voice as he calls out Hyacinth! Come down here and do me the honor—moving with utmost translucence to the staircase to wait for her, twirling her with the ease only someone with colossal tenderness can do. And as brilliant as Jonathan Bailey is in this moment, we need to sing ample praises for Florence Hunt. She shows us much of Hyacinth’s disbelief through every move she makes and the enchanting shimmer in her eyes as she looks up at the ceiling, allowing the moment’s magic to completely envelope her. This might be her home, but she’s never had this chance before, a moment to bask in the glory of dancing with her family by her side.
Per Anthony’s suggestion, a country dance equates to a gorgeous representation of what family is—a mess in more ways than one who could all come together for laughter when the time is right. A moment to ease the pain and understand each other better. There is something so profoundly emotional about how the music thrusts them towards losing themselves in the unparalleled joy of sharing this moment as a family, including the littles.
It’s significant to note Kate’s expression right before the number begins. She looks towards Anthony, understanding down to her very bones what he’s doing, why he’s doing it and falling more in love with him because of the compassion he displays. It’s not something she’ll utter aloud yet, it’s not even something she’ll allow herself to sit with, but Simone Ashley shows such a brilliantly subtle change in Kate as she divulges her heart’s contentment.
These are the notable moments that show Kate (and everyone else in the room) that there is nothing Anthony wouldn’t do for his family. This dance authenticates the detail that he’s constantly thinking of them and wanting them to be happy, even though the belief that they all hate him continues to haunt him daily. The movements, though choreographed, symbolically represent how effortless Anthony’s adoration pours through despite how incapable he is of seeing the same in others. They all love him as much as he loves them, and perhaps he could feel it briefly, but it doesn’t stick quite yet.
He knows that the solution at this moment is to involve Hyacinth but what he doesn’t understand is the weight of what it means to her.
When he promises that she could join in on the fun at Aubrey Hall—her joy is indescribable then, as it is right now, and long after the dance, when she wants to go again, perhaps this time, a quadrille. In these intimate and boisterous moments where all she wants is to be by her family’s side, sharing a dance with her eldest brothers, Hyacinth shows that she’s a product of them all. This dance is Anthony’s way of bringing light back into their lives, and it allows Hyacinth to understand much of what makes her a Bridgerton—the good, bad, and the ugly.
There’s light in every move they each make. It’s Gregory bowing to Lady Danbury, Benedict and Eloise reminding us of their closeness, Violet dancing with the future Lady Bridgerton, and finally, ending the moment with Kate and Anthony in each other’s arms. We see the profound intimacy in the two of them holding on for a little longer than they should, basking in the joy they’re experiencing beyond anything else.
It’s the high dwindling towards fruition, the quiet conversation their souls retain, showing us they’re the same, willing to do everything to ensure their siblings are happy.
In every way that it matters, the Bridgerton family dance is a moment that’s going to live with each of them despite the aftermath of Whistedown’s column. Because it’s a moment where even Eloise cannot complain. She’ll hate the formal dance floor, but sharing a moment of joy with her siblings? She’s all in.
It’s Violet Bridgerton’s ball, titled harmony in a moment where it doesn’t exist but for a brief instant, she gets to share it with the people who matter most to her—her babies, each grown and becoming their own, showing her that the purpose to everything has been their happiness all along. And Anthony openly acknowledging her theme, making sure that she understands he’s listening; it’s such beautiful writing, it genuinely floors me.
It’s moments like this where I hoped the show would deliver more than the books do, and it absolutely does—in every way. These are the moments where you could feel the weight of their adoration, and you could dwell in the beauty that such a scene would confirm Edmund Bridgerton is smiling down upon them.
Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on the Bridgerton family dance? Let us know in the comments below.