Kate and Anthony’s bee scene is one that generally follows much debate. Parts of it in the book are comical, and others are overlooked. And while Bridgerton Season 2 forgoes much of the vulnerability that threads the couple together before their wedding, it aces the portrayal of the bee scene—a moment drawn to perfection because of Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey’s performances.
While the argument now concerns Edwina’s happiness above their own, the brief scene of the two of them breathing together speaks volumes about everything they’ve been through and how far they can go together. (Frankly, while the library scene in Chapter 12 does this exceptionally well in The Viscount Who Loved Me, the bee scene in “A Bee in Your Bonnet” cements it in the show.) Without a scene like this, their romance would fall under the cracks entirely because much of the season relies entirely on Ashley and Bailey to carry the scarce dialogues forward. The season succeeds because of their performances, for as we’ve said time and time again, in the hands of lesser-skilled actors, Bridgerton Season 2 would be a tremendous flop for romance as it primarily focuses on fabricated drama.
Bringing back some of what I’d initially said during Kate and Anthony’s scene in our review for Season 2, Episode 3: “But this version of the scene is much easier to appreciate as Kate can look straight into Anthony’s panic-stricken eyes and see that there are fears within him more prominent than what he allows the world to see. (There’s also something so achingly striking about how he is wearing two-toned boots the same way Edmund was when he’s stung.)
Their understanding becomes more profound as she tries to ease him by placing his hand on her collarbone and her other hand above his. Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey play off one another so beautifully in this scene that their partnership is transcendent. As Kate guides Anthony towards tranquility, she loses herself in the possibilities of what’s stirring within. Thereby, to see them both breathless and enveloped underneath the overwhelming culmination of their hearts partaking in a conversation they don’t yet understand, viewers see what makes their relationship so brilliant. In the aftermath of their foreheads resting against each other’s, the symmetry in their every move, the cyclonic magnetism unraveling within as the panic subsides is becoming more difficult to part from.
They can find spearing joy together in the mud, and simultaneously, if one experiences pain of any caliber, the puncturing concern strikes bone deep to the other. Because as much as this moment focuses on Anthony losing himself in memory, he wouldn’t be reacting this way if a footman or someone he doesn’t adore were in Kate’s position. The panic is worsened by every part of him fearing for Kate’s life. What brings this to life is Edmund telling Anthony that “You cannot show someone your best without showing them your worst.” The worst doesn’t equate to traits here; it also equates to the moments of vulnerability that no other soul has known about—fears, darkness, grief, all the painful parts humans tuck deep underneath.”
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A scene like this defines Kate and Anthony’s journey because while it’s showing the audience how fit they are to be together, it’s also leading the two of them to see that in what they’re experiencing, the other person isn’t judging. For two people who are tirelessly at each other’s throats, reshaping their dynamic at this moment doesn’t require many words because what’s happening is so keenly internal. Kate doesn’t know that his father died because of a bee—she doesn’t know why he’s so distraught at this moment, but she can decipher enough to see that the type of darkness that’s chaining him tight is something she needs to reach for and pull him out of. What she does understand here is that there are demons inside of him beyond the façade he puts up, perhaps a little familiar with hers.
The bee scene in Bridgerton versus the one in the books brings consent to the forefront beautifully by allowing the push and pull between them to look toward the battles they can’t fight alone. At this exact moment, his vulnerability is hers, and the emotions they lose themselves in directly showcase why their internal worlds thread so intimately together. The recognition of these vulnerabilities and riding the waves together add more striking emotions to their dance in “Victory,” as well as everything that comes after that when there’s no way to stop themselves from gravitating toward one another.
Simone Ashley is indescribable in the Bridgerton Season 2 bee scene as she lowers her voice and looks intensely into Anthony’s eyes to continue figuring out her next steps. She draws the repetition of “It was just a bee” down to a whisper, trying to steady him with everything in her by carefully examining his movements and breathing. She’s paying closer attention to every part of him in a way no one else has, doing everything in her might to ensure that she calms him. Her moves are all deliberate, careful, and thoughtful in a way that’s so beautiful that it bears repeating no other actress would excel as Ashley does.
Everything that we get afterward with the two of them fighting alone to understand what they experienced together is a masterclass in performances from Ashley and Bailey. It’s not merely a physical whirlwind of emotions. It’s an intimate, internal scope regarding heartaches buried deep inside them to understand that while they put up an act of valor in front of others, internally, they’re fighting through waves they’ve yet to share with another soul. The conversations they’re partaking in fill the silence and space between them, showing each other details from within that they’ve previously confined to the sleepless nights spent tossing and turning.
Bridgerton Season 2 is now streaming exclusively on Netflix.