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  • Writer's pictureHannah Zunic

The Best Show Ever Is Finally Back: A Review of Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1

Dearest Gentle Reader, welcome to Reading Has Ruined My Life or welcome if this is your first time entering our fair ton. My name is Lady Z, and I shall guide you on today’s journey into the decadent and scandalous world of Bridgerton.


Woman putting on a crown.
Get those diadems on!

That’s right, we’re talking season three of Bridgerton! The first half of the season dropped on May 16 and I’ve watched nothing else since it released. I have lived and breathed the show this past week all for this review. I’m so excited to dive it! So let’s do it. Let’s talk my favorite show.


Lady Whistledown's Society Papers. Bridgerton image.
Let's see what Lady Whistledown has to say this year.

A few small notes before I begin my official review. I’ve not read any of the Bridgerton books. Season one was my first foray into the series. I know many things are different between the books and the show. One day I shall read the series, today is not that day. I know the main premise of each book, but I don’t know any of the fine details. While I want to change that I do enjoy the surprise. Honestly, I’m waiting to be surprised by each season. I want to see what the writers come up with. Also, there are major spoilers ahead. Do not read my review if you haven’t watched season three yet. I cannot be trusted not to spoil events and scenes from the show. With that, it’s showtime!

 

Season three is following Lady Whistledown herself. Penelope Featherington, played by Nicola Coughlan, has a lot to contend with this year. Eloise discovered Penelope’s secret identity last year and the two have not talked since, Colin was a dick towards her the year prior, her family still treats her as if she doesn’t exist, and she has no idea how to talk to suitors. Girl has a lot going on. So when the social season rolls around she decides this year is her year! She is going to find a suitor and marry. That way she’ll be out from under the thumb of her mother, can start anew, and continue her thriving, secret writing career. Too bad she’s not the greatest at talking with suitors.


Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington.
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington.

Enter Colin Bridgerton, portrayed by Luke Newton. Back from traveling Europe, he’s returned just in time for the social season and to see Penelope blossom. She’s had the makeover but desperately needs help when it comes to charming a man. Ever the gentleman, Colin offers to tutor her in the ways of flirting. Except he does too well a job because not only does he realize he has feelings for her, Penelope has a pretty serious, titled suitor who’s ready to propose. What’s our boy to do?


Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington (left) and  Sam Phillips as Lord Debling (right)
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington (left) and Sam Phillips as Lord Debling (right)

As of episode four…well I did say spoilers ahead, so as of the end of episode four, they’re engaged! And they live happily ever after! There aren’t four episodes left in the season. They don’t have to worry about things like Colin wanting to deck Lady Whistledown and dance on her grave. Yep, nothing to worry about there. Penelope doesn’t know all of the ton’s secrets and has been hiding the biggest secret of them all for years at this point. Yep, nothing is going to go wrong. No problems to be found here. Please, Netflix, please give me the last four episodes now!


Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton (left) and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington (right)
Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton (left) and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington (right).

First things first, I wish to recant my statement about Anthony and Kate. Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley are absolutely phenomenal in their roles and their chemistry is insane. I don’t know what I was thinking a few years ago when I said I didn’t believe the characters to be in love. Their characters are very much in love. When they’re on the screen, you can’t help but watch them and smile.

 

But what about our main couple? What about Colin and Penelope? Honestly, Colin and Penelope’s relationship bored me at first. Nothing was happening for me, especially with Colin, he was just kinda there. While I enjoyed the first two episodes, their relationship left a lot to be desired. Colin, dear sweet Colin, is utterly oblivious and far too focused on annoying everyone with tales of his travels. I really wanted to see him pine after Penelope a lot more. I wanted to see him jealous, like really jealous, like green with envy jealous. To me, the relationship was too one sided for too long.

 

The minute Colin realizes he loves Penelope though? Not me screaming, kicking my feet, and twirling my hair for the rest of the episodes. I was a giggling mess. I love these two. By far, they are my favorite couple. And, oh my god, that ending! I am foaming at the mouth after the ending of episode four. Give me the rest of the season now! Please and thank you.


Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton (right) and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington (left).
Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton (right) and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington (left).

We are not done talking about the characters. We have some “new” characters to talk about. Viewers finally get to properly meet Francesca Bridgerton. This season Francesca is played by Hannah Dodd who takes over the role from Ruby Stokes who portrayed the character in seasons one and two. The is truly the first time viewers get to meet and know her, and Francesca is absolutely adorable. I adore this quiet, introverted, music lover; she's so sweet. Though since viewers did not get the chance to know her in the previous seasons, it does feel as if the show is rushing to properly introduce her and begin her story all at once. While I enjoy the scenes that feature her, and I'm very glad viewers finally get to know the sixth Bridgerton sibling, having so many scenes about this character do take away from the main story. Though I much prefer Francesca's subplot to literally every other subplot. There are too many unnecessary subplots. Also, I fear Francesca will once again be forgotten about when she is in her first marriage and moves out of her family home. 


From left to right, Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, and Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton.
From left to right, Ruth Gemmell as Violet Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, and Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton.

Francesca is not the only character fans meet this season. Both known book characters and newly invented ones appeared on screen this year. Two are notable for me. Firstly, Harry Dankworth, AKA Prudence Featherington’s husband, played by James Phoon. Listen, I love me a himbo, but his character has a terrible introduction. Poor Harry Dankworth gets shoehorned in there. I didn’t know this character’s name until I looked it up to write my review. I am shocked at how bad his introduction to the show is given how detailed oriented Bridgerton is.


From left to right: James Phoon as Harry Dankworth, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Harriet Cains as Philippa Featherington, Lorn Macdonald as Albion Finch, and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington.
From left to right: James Phoon as Harry Dankworth, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Harriet Cains as Philippa Featherington, Lorn Macdonald as Albion Finch, and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington.

The other new character who drew my eye is Lady Tilley Arnold who is played by Hannah New. I know she’s a villain in Benedict’s story, and she’s going to be Bridgerton’s fiercest villain. Not gonna lie, I’m really only excited to see her this season because I want Benedict and Sophie to be the focus of season four. If season three doesn’t end with these Sophie and Benedict meeting at a masked ball, I’m going to riot.

 

Ok, I’ve went on about the characters for far too long now. Let’s talk sets. I am so glad the distinct balls are back. Bridgerton is a feast for the eyes, and one of my favorite details of the show is that the balls in each season are seen through the eyes of the main characters. The first season followed Daphne Bridgerton, a newly minted debutante. For her everything was new. Everything was dazzling, bright, shiny, and different; hence the phenomenal set pieces. Season two followed Anthony Bridgerton, our favorite former rake and a jaded man. Society meant nothing to him, hence all balls were one in the same to him and thus there were no stand out ballroom scenes. This season, while Colin is our main Bridgerton sibling, Penelope is truly the star of the show. Everyone’s favorite wallflower and gossip writer notably has an eye for details. Thus viewers once again get opulent, distinct ballrooms. And my god, am I glad they’re back.

 

Season three has enraptured me. Bridgerton is still the most visually stunning show I’ve watched. I love the chemistry between the lead actors, the writing is phenomenal, I just love this show so much. That being said, I have one thing I absolutely need to see in part two. I need to see Penelope and Eloise blow up at each other. I think they need that. They’ve yet to have a proper conversation about what Eloise discovered and she has every right to be mad about what Penelope did. I want the pair to scream and yell at each other and clear the air. I’m also going to need the same thing to happen between Penelope and Colin. Maybe with a lot less screaming, but I need to see them fight.


Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton.
Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton.

I realize a lot of my review has been my thoughts on the characters and expressing my love for the sets and costuming; I’m a big fan of the historical fantasy costuming by the way. As far as the story goes I feel it unfair to give my final thoughts on the topic until the second half of the season releases. I promise I’ll state my opinion on the plot in my next Bridgerton review.

 

Overall though, season three may well end up being my favorite season of the show. It’s, as I’ve said many times throughout this review, visually stunning, the chemistry between the main actors is great, and I’ve literally been twirling my hair and kicking my feet because I’m obsessed. My countdown for season three part two is going.

 

With that, I shall bid you all adieu. I will be back next week with another review. But if you can’t wait another week for a new post, you can always check out my podcast Nothing to See Hear. Lots of good stuff on the pod, I tell spooky stories, we talk about the one and only Scooby-Doo, we talk Disney, and we talk about some weirdos of history.

 

Until next time, stay safe, wash your hands, and read some good books for me.


Bears waving.
See y'all then, bye.

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