‘Bridgerton’ Season 3, Part 1 Review: A Thoughtful Exploration of Love Amid Scandal and Elegance

There’s no doubt that Bridgerton is one of Netflix’s most successful shows and keeps on getting better with each season. The first two seasons captivated audiences with engaging storylines, richly developed characters, and sizzling physical chemistry. Both seasons garnered supremely positive audience and critical reactions and became two of the most-watched shows in the streamer’s history. However, Season 3 of the series was always supposed to be something more than just a romantic drama. This is the long-awaited story of Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington, portrayed by Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan, respectively. Interestingly, the first four episodes take us on a thought-provoking journey and come forward with situations that certain characters have never dealt with. In the middle of this, we see a love blooming between two characters that we have always rooted for.

Out of the Shadows with Bridgerton Season 3

Season 3 of Bridgerton starts with an episode titled Out of the Shadows, which introduces viewers to the newly married Viscount and Viscountess Bridgerton. However, the focus is on Francesca (Hannah Dodd) this time around because the “marriage season” is upon us, and the Queen (Golda Rosheuvel) is ready to choose her next diamond. Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his voyage and has become the talk of the town. But Colin’s return deeply affects Penelope, and even though she is trying to show no emotion, it is rather hard for her not to talk to the man she loves most.

As the season progresses, Queen Charlotte seems to find ways to choose her next diamond, but obviously, Part 1 of Season 3 hasn’t given that answer yet. (That’ll have to wait for the next batch of episodes.) But this season of Bridgerton is not just about finding a diamond; it’s about mending an old relationship and getting to know what love is. And if you get to know the answer to that burning question, please let me know too (for research purposes).

In Bridgerton, Season 3, Part 1, the story delves into the romance between Penelope and Colin, highlighting their journey from friends to lovers. The best aspect of their storyline is how authentic it feels. On one side, Penelope thinks no one will ever court her because of how she looks. On the other hand, Colin has taken a completely different route altogether and has become a chick magnet. But Colin realizes things are not looking good for Penelope, aka Lady Whistledown, after the fallout between her and Eloise (Claudia Jessie.) 

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton Season 3
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton Season 3, Part 1. Image courtesy of Netflix.

As a good friend, he decides to help her and find her a husband. However, things get really tense when Colin starts having feelings for her best friend. This is very real and relatable; we all have felt the same at certain moments. We try to be cool about our feelings, and then, we suddenly feel that this is the only person we need in our livesThis is where Bridgerton gets things right. Since the very first season, the relationships shown in the series make us feel like we are a part of the journey.

The season also explores Penelope and Colin’s growth as individuals. It’s all about taking leaps of faith and standing up for oneself. Penelope continues to hide her Whistledown identity, creating tension between her and Colin. However, she continues to be a hit among the elites as she writes mouth-watering pieces about certain people in the society, including Queen Charlotte. As always, Lady Whistledown is not holding back. The chemistry between the leads is electric, with the show delivering its steamiest and most sensual season yet. The most anticipated moments, especially the carriage scene, are celebrated.

Hannah Dodd in Bridgerton Season 3
Hannah Dodd as Francesca in Bridgerton Season 3, Part 1. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Meanwhile, Francesca’s character brings a fresh breath of air to the series. Hannah Dodd exudes a soft and innocent charm, adding a layer of elegance that has always been a hallmark of the show. She has already become Queen’s favorite and may even become this season’s diamond.

Bridgerton’s writing is a true series strength

Once again, the show’s strength lies in its writing. Beyond the romance and drama, Bridgerton Season 3 offers thoughtful commentary on several issues, such as class, gender, and race. Strong female characters bring unique perspectives and strengths, offering relatable and empowering role models. Their struggles and achievements add much-needed depth to the series. 

Season 3 differs from the first two seasons, and Part 1 is more about telling a good story than just steamy sex scenes. (Although it’s got that with the carriage scene!) Whether it is Polin’s romance or Lady Featherington’s schemes to get their daughters pregnant, every single storyline has been stitched to utter precision. Having said that, pacing seems to be an issue this time around. Some moments feel rushed and could have been explored more beautifully.

Breathtaking cast chemistry in Bridgerton

Acting-wise, Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton are splendid, and their chemistry is breathtaking. Coughlan shines as the season’s star, beautifully portraying Penelope’s duality of insecurity and blooming confidence. I’ve already waxed poetic about Hannah Dodd as Francesca, and she is really that mesmerizing. The supporting characters make the season even better. Cressida’s, played by Jessica Madsen, storyline with Eloise is fascinating, while Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoa) and Queen Charlotte add to the show’s richness.

To be continued in Part 2

Bridgerton Season 3 dives deeper into several storylines. However, a lot needs to be seen. What will happen when Colin finds out about Lady Whistledown’s real identity? Will he be able to continue his relationship with her? The conflict will appear for sure. Nevertheless, the pairing of Colin and Penelope might be the best yet, and rushing certain aspects might prevent the show from reaching its full potential.

Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton Season 3
Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan in Bridgerton Season 3, Part 1. Image courtesy of Netflix.

Nonetheless, Part 1 of Bridgerton Season 3 lays a strong foundation for Penelope and Colin’s blooming love story.  It is a delightful beginning to a season with a love story that’s sweet and dazzling. The plot unfolds with unexpected twists and turns. As we wait for Part 2 to arrive, the first part raises more questions than it answers, and we can’t wait for the new episodes.

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 is now streaming on Netflix.

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