The Best Part of 'Bridgerton' Season 3 Isn't the Romance (2024)

Editor's note: The below contains spoilers for Bridgerton Season 3.

The Big Picture

  • Penelope Featherington finds her voice and self-worth in Bridgerton Season 3.
  • Penelope's transformation is reflected in her wardrobe, symbolizing independence.
  • Despite obstacles, Penelope learns to love and support herself before ultimately finding love with Colin Bridgerton.

Bridgerton has always been about love. Season 1 made us burn with Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon's (Regé-Jean Page) scalding yearning and passionate romance, while Season 2 made us fall in love with the overbearing older brother and eldest Bridgerton, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey), and his enemies-to-lovers relationship with Kate (Simone Ashley). This time around, Bridgerton brings forth the most complex, and potentially most important, character of the show. Three seasons have given the audience enough time to get to know Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), also known as Lady Whistledown, to a certain degree. The gentle wallflower with a scandalous secret finally gets her turn in the spotlight, and it does not disappoint.

As we watch Penelope's unrequited feelings finally being reciprocated by Colin (Luke Newton) and the affection between these childhood friends transform into something more, we also witness her inner turmoil as she's confronted with the weight of her actions and how they have affected the people around her. While Penelope's flourishing romance with Colin and her conflicting relationship with Eloise (Claudia Jessie) are significant parts of Bridgerton Season 3, her growth as a character and her journey to finding her voice and self-worth is the most important love story.

The Best Part of 'Bridgerton' Season 3 Isn't the Romance (1)




Set in the glamorous world of Regency London, the Bridgerton family maneuvers through the opulent and treacherous landscape of high society. Daphne Bridgerton, the family's eldest daughter, enters the marriage market, sparking a whirlwind romance with the enigmatic Duke of Hastings.

Release Date
December 25, 2020

Chris Van Dusen
Rege-Jean Page , Julie Andrews , Jonathan Bailey , Ruth Gemmell , Polly Walker , Golda Rosheuvel , Phoebe Dynevor , Simone Ashley , Luke Newton , Nicola Coughlan

Main Genre


Chris Van Dusen

In 'Bridgerton' Season 3, Penelope's Change Starts From the Outside In

Season 3 starts in a complicated place for Penelope. While she is still very much in love with Colin, overhearing his comments in the previous season about how he would never court her, along with his sudden change in personality after his trip, makes her want to move on from her feelings for him. Her ruptured friendship with Eloise, who now appears to have become besties over the summer with Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen), further isolates her. On top of this, she faces the looming threat that one of her sisters might inherit her family home, leaving her at their mercy.

This prompts Penelope to change her dresses and hair in the hopes of attracting a suitable husband, but this makeover has a more significant meaning. Bridgerton's costume designers made sure every color had a purpose. It is easy to spot someone from the Bridgerton family wearing a specific shade of blue, or Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) in something red. Meanwhile, the Featherington family wears bright colors like pink, orange, and — in Penelope's particular case — yellow. This change in Penelope's wardrobe signifies that she's ready to start making her own decisions and step out of her family's shadow.

Romancing Lord Debling in 'Bridgerton' Season 3 Is Necessary for Penelope’s Growth

The Best Part of 'Bridgerton' Season 3 Isn't the Romance (2)

After her makeover is complete and reconciling with Colin, the two set their sights on finding Penelope a husband, and, initially, there is no better candidate for the role than Lord Debling (Sam Phillips). He is kind, courteous, and passionate about his work, and his interest in nature often takes him away for months and years at a time. This would leave his wife with a lot of free time and privacy, things Lady Whistledown would certainly need.

At first, Penelope competes with Cressida for Lord Debling's attention, and she soon falls into the trap of pretending to be the perfect, complacent bride, which leaves him unimpressed. It is only when Penelope starts being herself that Lord Debling turns his undivided attention towards her, making her realize she doesn't have to be someone she's not to be liked or accepted. As she breaks out of her shell more and more, her relationship with Lord Debling flourishes, but also do Colin's feelings, as he realizes Penelope might mean more to him than he initially believed.

Penelope’s Friends and Family Play an Important Role in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Things with Penelope and Colin burn bright at the beginning and quickly seem about to burn out when he discovers she is Lady Whistledown. Feeling betrayed and insecure, Colin distances himself from Penelope, making their relationship become icy despite the clear attraction they share. As things get more difficult for Penelope, with Cressida impersonating Lady Whistledown and the Queen (Golda Rosheuvel) trying to uncover the truth, she soon realizes she is not as alone as she initially felt. While the season began with Eloise maintaining her distance, it's later revealed she was always looking out for Penelope. Even when Eloise tries to protect Colin and force Penelope to tell him the truth, she never reveals her friend's secret and even defends her when it comes down to it. Later in the season, when Penelope has doubts and considers giving up her work as Lady Whistledown, her friend Lady Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale) also supports and motivates her to keep writing.


Penelope's Story Matters in 'Bridgerton' — and Not Because of Colin

'Bridgerton' wouldn't be the same without Penelope.

Most surprisingly, this season we get to see a softer side to Penelope's mother, which humanizes the character as well as deepens their relationship overall. Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) proves to be a mother who has done the best she can with the tools she has to protect her family. In a very touching scene in the season finale, Portia echoes a feeling that Penelope as well as the audience might relate to when looking back with regret: "Perhaps there were other ways, but at the time I could not see them." The women in Penelope's life do, at times, confront her about the rather dubious decisions she's made, but they are also there to support her and stand by her side as she finds her way in the world and tries to right her wrongs.

Penelope Finds Love With Colin in 'Bridgerton' Season 3, but Also With Herself

With all the odds against them, Colin puts Penelope between a rock and a hard place when he asks her to stop writing as Lady Whistledown. Even if it means potentially losing the man she has loved her entire life, Penelope stays true to herself and refuses to give up what she has worked so hard for. In the season finale, Penelope finds the inner strength she needs to step out of the shadows, recognize her past mistakes, and move forward to something better. This allows her to come clean about her secret identity to the Queen and the ton in the hopes of turning over a new leaf and using her pen for positivity moving forward. Colin also learns that Penelope doesn't need a protector or a provider, but someone to love and support her, just as she is for him. While Penelope and Colin's love story is filled with fierce loyalty, deep love, and passionate moments, it is Penelope’s newfound love for herself that shines the brightest by the end of Bridgerton Season 3.

All seasons of Bridgerton are available to stream on Netflix in the U.S.

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The Best Part of 'Bridgerton' Season 3 Isn't the Romance (2024)


What do people think of season 3 of Bridgerton? ›

Despite this underwhelming conclusion for Polin, Bridgerton's third season is still a compulsively enjoyable watch, in large part because the unfulfilled potential of the Polin plot is immediately passed along to engaging side characters and the promise of future seasons.

Does Penelope marry Colin? ›

They eventually tied the knot, and Colin stayed by Penelope's side as she embraced her identity as Lady Whistledown before deciding to keep writing under her actual name. The epilogue offered a glimpse into Penelope and Colin's life as a married couple, which revealed that Penelope welcomed their first baby, a son.

Does Colin find out Penelope is Lady Whistledown? ›

Yes! Colin learns the identity of Lady Whisteldown after following Penelope to the printer. "To think I ran after you because I was worried about you," he tells Penelope, "Terrified that your carriage driver had abducted you to this part of town."

Who will find love in Bridgerton season 3? ›

This time around we see Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) fall in love with Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan). Meanwhile, another Bridgerton sibling makes a match, as Francesca (Hannah Dodd) marries John Stirling (Victor Alli) in Part Two of Season Three, which dropped on Netflix June 13.

What is the most popular season of Bridgerton? ›

In its first full week of availability, Season 3 Part 1 of the Shonda Rhimes-produced Netflix series hit 2.3 billion minutes watched, the No. 1 title by far. Season 1 took second place with 498.6 million minutes watched, followed by Season 2 with 434 million minutes watched.

Why is Daphne not in season 3 of Bridgerton? ›

Dynevor explained her absence from the show over a year before Bridgerton season 3 premiered. She told Variety in January 2023 that her work with Daphne is done...for now. “I did my two seasons,” she said. “I've done what I wanted to do with that character, and she had a great arc.

Did Penelope lose weight in the Bridgertons? ›

Her weight is mentioned a few times in the book

Author Julia Quinn describes Penelope as having lost around two stone, which is approximately 27 pounds, in Romancing Mister Bridgerton.

Who does Cressida Cowper marry in Bridgerton series? ›

In the books, Cressida Cowper ends up marrying a nobleman named Lord Twombley. Her marriage takes place in 'An Offer From A Gentleman', which is the third book in the series, taking place before Colin and Penelope's love story.

Who does Francesca marry? ›

Francesca Bridgerton has always been the more reserved one in her gregarious family. She marries John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin, and departs to his home in Scotland.

Who does Benedict end up with? ›

Her name, it turns out, is Sophie Beckett, and she is the daughter of of an earl.

Are Colin and Pen dating in real life? ›

Are Penelope and Colin together in real life? No. Actors Nicola Coughlan — the Irish actress also known for her role in "Derry Girls" — and English actor Luke Newton are both publicly single. Coughlan said in an interview with Extratv the two find it sweet that fans think the two are dating.

Who will Francesca end up with? ›

In the books, Francesca marries John, and they are together for two years. Tragically, John dies from a brain aneurysm, and then his cousin, Michael Stirling, inherits the title Earl of Kilmartin. Michael and Francesca's friendship soon turns into romance, and the two fall in love, marry, and have two children.

How popular is Bridgerton season 3? ›

Viewership for the third season of the show in May was on par with its last installment, "Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story," which was the most viewed streaming show in May of 2023 with 5.4 billion viewing minutes.

Will there be a season 4 of Bridgerton? ›

Bad news, Ton diehards: there's going to be a bit of a wait for "Bridgerton" season 4. Fans can expect to see a new season sometime in 2026, per a recent interview with "Bridgerton" showrunner Jess Brownell.

What do we know about season 3 of Bridgerton? ›

Season 3 of Bridgerton will focus on the love story of Colin and Penelope (also known by their fan-given nickname “Polin”), deviating from the original Julia Quinn books the series is based on.

Who is leaving Bridgerton season 3? ›

Charithra Chandran doesn't return as Edwina on season three, but the show hints at her whereabouts. During episode two, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) tells Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), "I hear my choice last year, Miss Edwina, has made a splendid match abroad."

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