Bridgerton “The Choice” Spoilers Ahead
None of the episodes in Bridgerton Season 2 feel as disconnected as “The Choice” does, which is a shame on multiple counts. When we said the characters take a backseat to the plot, we should’ve said they’re stuck in the trunk instead. In short, it’s messy—no part of it feels like it’s threading seamlessly into the rest of the arc. It tragically debases the heart of The Viscount Who Loved Me, and with only two episodes remaining, no matter how the rest goes, much is tarnished by the events that take place, and the only way to move forward is to channel Nick Fury: “I recognize that the council has made a decision. But I’ve elected to ignore it.”
The theme is rather prominent, but the pacing tips the scales towards a drama more than a romance. While there are plenty of romances where the leads don’t get together until the very end, that’s not where the heart of this book lies. (And there are no love triangles between sisters either.) This detail mars both romantic and platonic love, forcing the characters to act in ways they wouldn’t do otherwise if the plot, in this case perhaps, the queen, weren’t pushing them towards. Bridgerton’s “The Choice” is essentially the episode where even Lady Danbury has no words, and that alone says plenty.
It should’ve never come down to this between Kate and Edwina, and it’s so saddening to think of all the lovely, heartwarming scenes we could have gotten had the writing allowed Kate and Anthony front and center. Because that way, all these scenes as they’re getting ready would’ve been an utter joy to see—the late-night talks over milk, the excitement, and the Haldi ceremony, none of it would be darkened by lies. None of it would put Edwina in such a position where she’d call Kate her “half-sister” in rage or say things such as “you’ve lost your power.”
For as much as Bridgerton is a romance, it also centers arounds platonic love stories. And the best blood relationship in the entire series was always Kate and Edwina’s. As close as the Bridgerton family is, the Sheffields/Sharmas are different. They grew up outside of this busy society in both the books and the show, allowing them to bask in the glory of each other. Kate and Edwina aren’t just sisters, but they are best friends by choice, and there should’ve never been a rift between them by pitting them against each other in a love triangle like this. If the show intended to cause some sort of a reasonable arc here, moving up the accident could’ve allowed that or perhaps even Edwina feeling equal pressure to marry for her family’s sake.
Because what it comes down to in Bridgerton’s “The Choice” is the fact that the screenplay focuses too much on self-discovery and pushes far past the wickets towards amplifying drama as opposed to heart. Edwina is resorted to a plot device, and instead of seeing the brilliant friendship between sisters, we see tarnish and heartbreak. It comes down to the fact that the Edwina we learn to love in the books is now one who’s easily swayed, which is most unfortunate for Charithra Chandran, who’s so incredibly capable of extraordinary performances. We could’ve gotten the chance to watch her put two and two together, not right at the alter before vows are exchanged, but much earlier in the season.
It doesn’t matter that Kate has done everything to shield her from grief and burdens because much of that is true to the characters in the books. That said, if the decision here was to showcase a growth in Edwina that occurs upon self-discovery and realizing what she wants as opposed to what Kate wants for her, there were more ways that could’ve happened. There was no need to put her through such heartbreak to bring her out on the other side.
Because no matter how hard I try to look at this from an unbiased point of view, I cannot justify how deeply out of character everyone feels. This isn’t to say that I loathe every part of this episode because there’s good in some areas, but the ways in which Edwina essentially becomes a pawn to the queen and within the story feels awful. It drags on and on and single-handedly feels so long on, I kept checking the clock.
The bangles act as a symbolic representation of what happens in this episode, with Edwina essentially giving back to Kate what was always meant for her, but what was its purpose? Why take it this far in the first place when we could’ve instead witnessed a happy wedding with angst that’d follow afterward. If Anthony Bridgerton is so set on love having no place in his marriage, that was enough to lead to a profound realization already vastly different from the first season.
In all the convoluted mess where the focus is solely on essentially unmasking Whistledown and the competition between the queen, it’s difficult to even mesh together the comedic moments with the darker ones. It’s jarring to laugh so hard at Gregory’s innocent “perhaps she wanted to change her dress” and then get so upset you cry because all else is in shambles.
Edwina isn’t the only one who makes a choice here, but Colin does too by deciding to tell Penelope aloud what Marina had said about her. It’s always fascinating to see just how the two of them are on such opposite ends of a friendship. The two of them finding their purpose individually then later today is going to be so gratifying to see. They’re the slow burn ship—we didn’t need another through Kate and Anthony.
Perhaps if I were as drunk as Colin, I’d enjoy all of this more. Perhaps if I were more enamored by moving statues like Prudence, I would appreciate it more. Or perhaps if I were as naïve as Gregory. It’s an episode that demands people call each other out, but it happens almost so viscously it’s hard to imagine how to go back. And yes, siblings can be cruel to one another (mine could vouch for this), but sometimes, it’s too far. Sometimes, it’s just—what exactly do you tell your grandchildren about such days?
Daphne Bridgerton, however, once again continues to be the MVP right alongside Benedict as she calls out Anthony for the duties he’s brought upon himself, forcing his family to pity him. And the fact remains, they’re both right here. Anthony does take his responsibilities too far, but no one’s told him it’s okay not to. No one’s been by his side to guide him through the losses, and we know the grief he harbors, the tears he sheds alone when no one is looking are tears he never wants to burden another person with. Yet another thing he and Kate have in common as they carry their family crosses alone. We could have watched the two of them share these burdens together, but instead, we’re stopping a wedding.
Bridgerton’s “The Choice,” simply put, takes things too far. It pushes buttons, it pushes boundaries, and it subverts expectations in a way that isn’t noteworthy but unfortunate. However, what touches on the theme of the episode and the entirety of the show beautifully is the king’s interruption—the belief that he’s late for his own wedding, the calm and rush of that scene, and the heart-shattering intimacy that the performances show us.
Charithra Chandran is utterly mesmerizing in this moment, bringing forth her chops as an actress beautifully. It’s a breathtaking, raw, vulnerable moment that’s truly lovely in every way, and how I wish we got here in different circumstances.
Afternoon Tea and Further Thoughts
- I wrote “I hate it here” too many times in my notes for this episode.
- For as extravagant as this wedding is and for how much I loathe it, the color scheme is fantastic.
- The dialogue is so disjointed from previous episodes I can’t even begin to cross reference. I’m too tired.
- Truly, the only way I can love this season is if I pretend this episode doesn’t exist.
- Thinking about the never-ending tears I would’ve cried had the Haldi ceremony been for Kate’s wedding. The wedding we never get to see. Sigh.
- “Tell me dear brother when you marry will your duty finally be fulfilled so you can stop reminding everyone of it?” …Benedict has a point. What then, Anthony. What then. “I believe the reminders are also my duty. So no.” Ah, okay got it.
- A tiny Anthony declaring his tiny duties no doubt. BABY EDMUND. Do you hear me crying!?
- New Lord Featherington having the hots for Portia was truly never something I wanted to see.
- I don’t hate the concept of Theo and Eloise but Eloise leaving on her brother’s wedding is just…why? Of all the days? I also wanted to leave this wedding, but I had to stick it out and she shouldn’t have left. It’s a messed up move for as much as I adore her, I can’t condone this one.
- This is one of my favorite dresses that Kate wears and the occasion pains me.
- “Do not chase each other. Or rather do not catch each other.” Violet needs a flask.
- “Whatever you’ve done to your brother, undo it.” “Benedict, see that he is well, I’m sure the emotions of the day have somewhat confused him.” I mean—YUP. He is the best man, after all.
- WHERE IS FRANCESCA!!!?!!?!?!??!??!?!?!?!? Kinda envious she got to skip out on this, not gonna lie.
- Violet’s face in this episode crushed me way too many times.
- “The best man listens to the groom. Go on.” Good stuff.
- I also…at one point wrote “I can’t handle this” in my notes followed by: THIS SHOULD’VE BEEN KATE. THIS SHOULD’VE BEEN KATE. THIS SHOULD’VE BEEN KATE.
- There’s nothing more I hate than a wedding where the groom imagines someone else at the alter. This is not how I wanted to see Kate in a wedding dress.
- And then that shot of the bangles? RIP MY HEART OUT AND STOMP ON IT. It’d hurt less.
- The shot of Edwina and Mary running out are stunning, however.
- Benedict asking what Anthony needs after Edwina runs off..I just—someone ask me what I need.
- STOP MAKING KATE CRY
- Danbury and Violet = us laughing so we don’t cry.
- Queen Charlotte: “I simply do not have the time” I mean…neither did we, and yet, here we are. Here we are, somehow not hallucinating and taking part in a collective fever dream of sorts.
- Kate crying in a closet hunched over, holding her knees is not how I pictured Kate crying, holding her knees. WHY WOULD YOU MAKE ME WEEP SO HARD?!?!
- “What About Us” is both a perfect song to end with and also a cruel one. I don’t know how I feel. I’m too sober for all of this.
Bonus Content: Listen to the Lady Geeks’ Society Podcast Episode of “The Choice” for more Bridgerton
Now streaming on Netflix: What are your thoughts on Bridgerton’s “The Choice?” Let us know in the comments below.