The series’ latest heroine, played by Simone Ashley, takes the show a step beyond what it was in Season 1.
Bridgerton recently made its triumphant return for a second season and with it plenty of new characters to keep things interesting.
Even among faces both new and old, Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) stands out starkly. Kate is introduced along with her sister, Edwina (Charithra Chandran), and mother, Mary (Shelley Conn), at the start of the season, with Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) poised to go after Edwina.
Of course, things do not go as planned. Kate Sharma erupts onto the screen with a particular kind of fire that captures the heart of not only Anthony Bridgerton, but the entire audience. Her presence in the show raises the stakes and provides one of the most well-rounded characters in the entire series.
Kate Sharma is sharp, self-assured, and scared. She has a unique dynamic with nearly every person she interacts with. We meet Kate when she’s at a place in her life where she’s determined to put all of her own wishes aside to attempt and secure a future for her mother and sister.
Her love for them is a driving force pushed into conflict with her own desires. From the moment we see her, riding her horse in the early morning with reckless abandon, we understand that Kate is a far cry from the careful Daphne Bridgerton. She makes snide comments toward Anthony during their first meeting and constantly refuses to let him belittle her whether he does so intentionally or not. Kate’s maturity is one of her defining features and plays well against the naïveté many in the Bridgerton family display.
Anthony Bridgerton was not the most likable character in Season 1 of Bridgerton, so as the main love interest of Season 2 he needs a lot of room to grow. Kate is able to draw out the strengths in his character— not through coddling him, but simply through being herself. She inspires him to be better, whether through his competitive spirit in a game of croquet or his distorted view of duty toward his family. The parts of them that are similar force them both to grow, but most importantly Kate is not someone who will back down. She is there to challenge Anthony with every step he takes in a way that feels earned.
His arrogance and ego are ripe for her to tear into in a way that’s both necessary for the plot between the two of them to progress but equally cathartic to the viewer. On the other hand, Anthony is also able to draw out the more vulnerable side of Kate that she has forced herself to conceal. While Kate certainly does an impressive job of bringing out the best in Anthony, he’s able to help her open up as well in a way that makes their relationship feel cathartic and earned even despite some of Anthony’s more uncouth previous behavior.