Bridgerton S2: Older Siblings, We Need to Sit Down
Updated: Mar 29, 2022
Bridgerton has returned and with it, our obsession with old English phrases, dressing and dating ...ahem... courting practices.
In Season 2, we are introduced to the Sharma sisters, Kate and Edwina, as they come to England in search on a husband for Edwina. Kate, the older, is very protective of her sister and gives her many suitors a hard time so that she can set her sister up with the best possible match. They eventually cross paths with the show's first family, The Bridgertons, especially Anthony, the eldest, who is looking for a wife, and one just good enough so that his children will 'be of good stock' and he 'fulfills his duty'. Their meeting leads to a lot of stubbornness, bickering, a weird love triangle situation, and more proof that these mamas are the MVPs of this show.
But I'm also the eldest sibling, so I guess I'm here to offer some respite for us.
When Season 1 aired, I saw that Anthony got a little bit of of flack for how difficult he was being when his sister, Daphne, was on her own search for a spouse. It really surprised me, because no lie I would do the same for my sisters (although I guess his hypocrisy with being on the streets and then expecting somebody perfect didn't help). This Season, I think, provides us with more context and explains why Anthony acts the way he does. He becomes Lord and Viscount young, literally minutes after his father dies, so he has no time to mourn before becoming responsible for keeping his family - all eight of them and their employees- afloat. This duty he speaks so much of is one he carries on his shoulders with strange pride, his actions saying, "I am the only reason you are able to live the lives that you do."
Kate has an almost identical backstory to Anthony. She also decides, after losing her father young, to take on the responsibility of taking care of her mother, Lady Mary, and sister. This is even more significant for her as Lady Mary is actually her step-mother, leaving Kate feeling the need to pay her back for loving her as if she were her own (Lady Mary eventually lets Kate know she never had to earn her affection- that's a word for someone). One nod from Kate sends Edwina strutting willingly in any direction without thinking about it, because that's how much Edwina trusts her, to the point where we start to wonder if Kate might just be stopping her from actually growing up.
Anthony and Kate, our two strong heads, meet, taking us on the 'back and forth'-iest of love stories. A lot of the round about conflict we had to endure would have been avoided if both Kate and Anthony got off the pedestals they had put themselves on, but neither would let up on their mission to continuously sacrifice their happiness for that of their families, causing more pain for everyone in the long run.
Things come to a head for these two in Ep. 6 when both groups of people they had so 'sacrificially' protected and provided for let them know; in actuality, nobody wanted this. Kate and Anthony, in their imperfect human way, had provided more what they thought their families needed, and less what they really did. Edwina tells Kate, "You say you have spent your life trying to give me everything I lacked, but you simply gave me everything you really wanted for yourself, as though my life were not my own... Today, I can be sure that what I leave behind is not my loss, it is yours," [okayy, girl]; and Daphne tells Anthony, "I mourn for you, Brother. All of these decisions that you seem to make and then resent us for. Though they do not make you worthy of your family's respect. They simply make us pity you."
Ye. Not when my boy was just trying to be noble 😭
Their story reminded me of Angelica, Eliza and Alexander in Hamilton where Angelica, even though she really likes Alexander, introduces him to her sister Eliza instead, because Eliza also really liked him and she loved her sister that much. I remember *jokingly* telling my sisters when I watched this, "see how us older siblings are always sacrificing for you guys?" but that idea of sacrifice is something I also carried so proudly. As I've lived a little more, I've come to realise (and am still learning) that sometimes I need to stop interfering and let people live their lives; that I truly cannot save anyone; and that really, sacrificing for someone because you love them and then holding resentment towards them because of it is not really love. At least, not a great expression of it.
I'm a person of faith, so God was always included in the list of people "I sacrifice for," and it was just last year I began to see Him ask me to put down the responsibility I had picked up that really wasn't mine to carry. I discovered instead that compassion is what I should have. The thing about compassion is it cannot be faked. I cannot say 'compassion is my duty, I must have it', it's something that just flows out of us. Compassion lets us know what, when and how to give, and definitely takes the other person's feelings and experiences into consideration.
I always stand up for older siblings because it seems like that responsibility is all we know (if you're Nigerian and the eldest daughter, God bless you), and I guess in a way it's a mercy of life when we encounter situations and/or people that we cannot control. What I want to do with this is to free people of the guilt that comes with that. You can't control it? Great, let go. You can control it, but should you? No? Let. Go. There is so much freedom there.
So, things worked out for everyone this season. Well, not everyone but that's a whole other story. We'll have to wait until next season to see how Lady Whistledown is taking the effects of her fame [and actions]. Until then, enjoy this picture of part of the Bridgerton-Sharmas.
Bridgerton is now streaming on Netflix.