Bridgerton’s Season 2 finale, “The Viscount Who Loved Me,“ explores quiet moments between characters, and one of the most gut-wrenching, beautifully vulnerable moments is between Anthony and Gregory Bridgerton in their father’s old study.
To break this moment down, we need to go back to Anthony’s boisterous claims that his family needs to run everything by him—a moment that becomes as laughable as it is tragic, except ultimately, Gregory takes him up on this. The youngest of the Bridgerton boys sees something in the primary father figure he’s known and takes his statement to heart. Will Tilston plays this moment so well because Gregory doesn’t know what to do here—he doesn’t know what he’s going to gain or what will happen when he walks in calling to his eldest brother.
Anthony Bridgerton is far from a monster, and Gregory thinks the world of him, but here in this study, he’s still Viscount Bridgerton—armored, stoic, and frightening from the outside. And the brief moment where he thinks he’s disturbing him is critical to examining Anthony’s character and, ultimately, a younger sibling trait. Younger kids will always feel intimidated by their eldest siblings when it comes to serious conversations, and that’s the case with Gregory here.
We often forget that Anthony is a deeply observant man, and when he realizes Gregory is pulling away, he insists that he stays. He chooses to confirm then that Gregory isn’t stupid, but too much is expected of him and his Latin tutor. In our deep dive for Anthony, we mention Foucault’s panopticon and how societal duties of the time act as a constant watchful eye in his life. We can thus apply this same concept to what Anthony unknowingly projects to his younger siblings due to what society (and often his family) expects from him.
The depth of heart in this scene is essentially why this is probably the best moment where the Bridgerton children are concerned because Anthony and Gregory Bridgerton sharing a moment of vulnerability at this caliber does more than ensuring the passing down of memories. It’s all in the details. Gregory Bridgerton grows into a hopeless romantic, and his characteristics result from the love that he sees in his siblings, but simultaneously how this moment plays a more prominent role in shaping him.
Anthony admitting that he’s shown up far too late for far too many things is the admittance of mistakes and the kind of accountability that showcases proper growth in a man. Gregory could carry this moment with him, understanding how significant it is for a man to admit to his mistakes—to show up where he’s needed and to stand tall even when everything around him is crumbling. And while the sweet little gumdrop is young enough not to understand the weight of what Anthony is carrying, it’s still the type of moment that’ll leave its mark on him.
And to have Anthony and Gregory Bridgerton then discuss their late father in a moment that’s purely wholesome genuinely means the world to so many viewers. Jonathan Bailey is a performer we sing praises for often here at Marvelous Geeks, but this moment demands special attention. The way Bailey looks at Tilston when Gregory says, “I wish I could’ve played a prank on him,” is so profoundly harrowing it’s challenging for viewers to even look at the solemness in his expression. It isn’t easy to think about the detail that he genuinely believes he’ll always pale in comparison to Edmund and simultaneously that he wholeheartedly wishes for everyone to know what an astounding father Edmund was.
When he says, “I wish so too,” Bailey packs his entire heart and soul into that delivery, holding everything together with all he has even though it’s clear as day that his heart is breaking in a way words cannot describe. When he pulls Gregory close, it’s Anthony’s way of doing everything he can to show him that he’ll not only be there to comfort him with words but actions. A pat on the back or an embrace—where men of the time were armored because of societal demands, this is an older brother finally letting go, doing everything in his power to show that he’ll be the best version of himself possible.
There’s also much to be said about Violet eavesdropping at this moment and the directorial shot of her watching them. (Though I wish we could’ve seen Anthony’s face as he admits to his faults; it’s a beautiful moment, no less.) But having Violet watch her eldest and youngest boy discuss their father, knowing with everything in her that her kids are in good hands with Anthony, is, in short, everything. It’s a moment for her to realize that they should all be talking about Edmund more—passing down the memories and holding on a little bit tighter throughout their ordinary days.
It’s a moment that changes everything because jagged pieces mix with innocence in a beat of transparency that allows a father’s adoration for his children to come to the surface openly. It doesn’t just give Gregory a piece of mind and a memory to hang onto, but it allows Anthony to feel as though he’s doing something right, permitting himself to believe that he hasn’t failed his siblings. We are the best versions of ourselves when we put aside our pain to hold someone through a point of sadness, and that’s exactly what happens with Anthony and Gregory. As Anthony once again takes in the detail that Gregory will never know Edmund the way he did, it instills gratitude and strength in his own heart. It allows the best of himself to come to the surface to guide this little boy through the various life points he understands better than others.
In the flashbacks during Season 2, Episode 3, “A Bee In Your Bonnet,” Edmund tells his eldest son that he cannot show someone his best without showing them his worst. And at this point, they’ve all seen the worst of Anthony Bridgerton. In the same way that Violet had once seen the worst of Edmund, we’ve seen the worst of Anthony too. We know about his mistakes and his absence—it’s part of his story and a large part of what grief forces people to do in their desolation.
What is grief if not love persevering? It’s a shared moment of vulnerability between two brothers, Anthony and Gregory Bridgerton, with entirely different experiences. This conversation is proof of their grief persevering, spreading far and wide, extending towards the places where they need the most healing. It’s an unspoken promise to share more stories about Edmund—to keep memories of him alive as they share stories and perhaps even play more pranks as they allow the seriousness and laughter to intermingle into something more lasting.
They all dealt with grief differently, but Anthony’s decision to pull his brother close, to voice how he wishes Gregory could’ve also played a prank on Edmund, solidifies the detail that from this moment on, they’ll each try to be better about keeping their grief where love meets. Anthony Bridgerton will especially try—now that his walls are down and he isn’t drowning in the sorrow by himself, it’ll be easier to take his grief and allow his father’s love to pour out of him. It’ll be easier for him to notice when his younger siblings need him before they even say something. Now that love and healing eclipse the watchful eye brought forth by societal duties, he (and Kate right alongside him) will be beacons of hope for the others, the best parts of them shining through. There will not be a fear of vulnerability anymore as this conversation beautifully showcases the healing catharsis of sharing the once bottled-up grief.
As Edmund Bridgerton said, you will learn in time. And the statement acts as an emblem for Anthony believing something is too big before he takes it on. It took a while for him to come to this place of openness, and while much of it has to do with learning to love despite the fears of loss, it also has to do with understanding that he is worthy of walking in his father’s shoes. He is worthy of being the one his younger siblings turn to. And today, in this scene, Anthony finally understands this—in time, they all will. They’re each on the right path right now, getting there, one day at a time.
Bridgerton Season 2 is now streaming on Netflix. What are your thoughts on Anthony and Gregory Bridgerton’s moment of vulnerability? Let us know in the comments below.
Great analysis. I also think this is the scene where Anthony realizes that if he loves Kate and wants to marry her, he can’t give up. He realizes not only has he opened himself to love far too late, he never actually told Kate that he loves her. When he’s telling Gregory about their father, he says that their father was courageous and unafraid to fight to fight for his family, and for everything else that was important. It’s like in this scene Anthony is finally full realizing that his love for Kate is not at odds with his devotion to his family (which I’d been yelling at him for half the season, your family thinks Kate rocks, dude, stop using them as an excuse), and if he wants Kate to be a part of his life, he has to try one more time, and make sure she understands what she means to him.