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I watched Bridgerton season 3 part one - and this is why I think it's the best one yet

Penelope and Colin’s love story is explored in season 3 - our review

Emmy Griffiths
TV & Film Editor
May 16, 2024
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When Bridgerton exploded onto our screens in season one, the first thing that caught everyone’s attention - aside from Regé-Jean Page licking a spoon - was the raunchy sex scenes that gave period dramas a bit of a sensual update. After all, as much as we loved watching Elizabeth and Mr Darcy literally never even kiss in Pride and Prejudice, Bridgerton brought something new to the table in a way that few period dramas have scarcely done before. 

In season two, some fans complained that the sexiness had taken a back step thanks to Kate and Anthony’s enemies-to-lovers story arc, which was more forbidden romance and less bodice ripping. Despite some naysayers, though, Anthony and Kate’s relationship shone through, becoming a big fan favourite for many (including this writer)! 

WATCH: Are you excited to watch season 3?

For season three - despite Anthony and Kate’s brief appearance in episode one, and Benedict’s best efforts - I have disappointing news for those hoping for some serious sexy time out of the gate. Bridgerton takes yet another form for the new episodes as it steps into the world of yearning and unrequited love - with Penelope taking centre stage as a bachelorette ready to take a husband and get out from under her terrible sisters’ and mother’s shoes. 

Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix © LAURENCE CENDROWICZ
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in season three

To find a suitor, she calls upon her old pal Colin Bridgerton to help her, accepting that she needs to stop pining for him after hearing him cruelly tell his friends that he would “never” court her in the season two finale. Colin, looking finer than ever, is mortified that he has upset his friend, and steps up to coach her on finding a husband. Of course, this all works out a little too well - and he starts to catch feelings for our favourite shy spinster. 

Kate and Anthony in season three of Bridgerton© Netflix
Kate and Anthony in season three of Bridgerton

This ‘friends-to-lovers’ classic rom-com is something new for Bridgerton, which has had plenty of fun playing around with the classic tropes over the years (season one was ‘fake dating’, season two was ‘enemies-to-lovers’, and so on). But I have to say it might be my favourite yet - and it’s all thanks to Penelope’s sheer reliability. 

Lord Debling holding Lady Penelope Featherington in season three of Bridgerton© Netflix
Penelope tries to find a husband in Lord Debling

Penelope is something of a wallflower (despite her cutting alter ego as Lady Whistledown), and struggles to fit in at the lavish Balls, particularly thanks to her mother’s insistence on dressing her like an orange, and smiles through her feelings of awkwardness and rejection after entering her third season in the marriage market of the Ton without any success - and feeling inhibited as a result. 

While we might not have had the experience of feeling self-conscious in London’s high society with their dance cards and lashings of lemonade, I think I’d be hard-pressed to find someone who hasn’t felt exactly as Penelope does. Be it no one asking you for a dance at the school disco, or finding out someone you like has been harsh to you behind your back, I feel like we’ve probably all had a similar experience at some point in our lives, making Penelope the most relatable heroine of Bridgerton so far. 

Penelope and Colin in Bridgerton season three© Netflix
Penelope with her love interest Colin

Another character who made a mark on me was Francesca Bridgerton, back from her studies with a new face (Hannah Dodd took over from Ruby Stokes due to schedule conflicts), and representing shy girls everywhere in her first season in the marriage market. 

Hannah Dodd as Francesca in Bridgerton© Netflix
Francesca Bridgerton in season 3

As such, the story of a wallflower having a fabulous makeover (ditching the citrus tones for some colours that suit her palette) before having the boy of her dreams fall madly in love with her is like watching a high school fantasy play out - and while part one was lacking on a raunchiness that made the show famous, I think it’s come a long way since season one in so many other ways. 

Bridgerton books in order

Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Florence Emilia Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne Basset in Bridgerton© LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX
Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Florence Emilia Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Ruby Stokes as Francesca Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Phoebe Dyvenor as Daphne Basset in Bridgerton

The Bridgerton book series in order

  1. The Duke and I 
  2. The Viscount Who Loved Me 
  3. An Offer From a Gentleman 
  4. Romancing Mr. Bridgerton
  5. To Sir Phillip, With Love
  6. When He Was Wicked
  7. It's In His Kiss
  8. On The Way To The Wedding

We’re getting season two in June, so I think we can safely say that Shonda Rhimes won’t be keeping it PG-rated for much longer. As for part one? As Nicola Coughlan says, “This one is for the wallflowers”. 

Bridgerton Season 3
Penelope has something of a glow up!

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