Happy Pride Month! Bridgerton Season 3 Finale Review

Episode 7, “Joining of Hands” & Episode 8, “Into the Light”

Bridgerton. (L to R) Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, James Duke as Minister Hughes, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in episode 307 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

The following review contains spoilers for the finale of Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 with S3E7, “Joining of Hands” & S3E8, “Into the Light”


Wow, I had some very off-the-mark predictions and assumptions!


Michaela!!!!! Michaela!!! MICHAELAAAA!!!! Francesca… QUEER!!! – If you haven’t read the books, Francesca’s story, When He Was Wicked by Julia Quinn, is about her falling in love with Michael Stirling, John Stirling’s cousin, when the Earl of Kilmartin sadly passes away. BUT NOW, in the Netflix series adaptation, we are led to believe that the Stirling cousin Francesca falls in love with is, in fact, a WOMAN!!!

Hehehehehe *kicking my feet* hehehhehehehehe

It seems Bridgerton is saying Happy Pride Month!! We all had suspicions about Benedict, but now we KNOW!! Bisexual Benedict has a ring to it. And by the little hint in the finale from Eloise about next season’s masquerade ball, we can be confident that Bridgerton Season 4 will be focused on Benedict’s story. That will be interesting to watch unfold!

Ah! But here I am, getting ahead of myself, talking about SEASON 4 (god knows when Francesca will get her second happy ending) when we’ve just seen Penelope and Colin’s baby: the new Lord Featherington!

Okay, okay, okay.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 306 of Bridgerton.
Bridgerton. (L to R) Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 306 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

I’m still in awe. I knew I would be right about Colin (Luke Newton) being honour-bound to marry Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) because he took liberties with her in the carriage… on the chaise lounge… in his dreams… However, I wasn’t sure how the two would come together. The Netflix adaptation of Julia Quinn’s novel is far more feminist than the original material. Though Colin has been portrayed as wanting to protect and provide for Penelope, he eventually comes to accept Penelope as a woman capable of providing for herself. The novel… came to a slightly different conclusion. I’m glad that the adaptation made room for them BOTH to be writers.

“Colin, I can take care of myself.” – Penelope

“Then, what good am I to you?” – Colin

“Colin, I love you!” – Penelope

And BOOM, they’re making out on a stoop.

It takes Colin a while to realize that all Pen needs in a husband is love, but I enjoyed every gruelling minute. It was interesting to see the tables turn. Here, Penelope fully realizes her confidence, understands her worth and knows herself, but Colin feels unworthy. Suddenly, it is Colin who needs reassurance. In all sincerity, Colin faces a gender panic. If he cannot provide and protect his wife, what kind of a man does that make him? And it’s wild, but that thinking still plagues society today, and it’s still somehow a fairytale to watch a man find peace with it.

It was gratifying watching Penelope scheme and wrap up all her loose ends: confess to Violet, rouse the Queen, secure her family’s safety, and avoid complete and utter ruin. However, with this all neat and tidy, I’m a little worried. Have we seen the last of the Featherington clan? If so, I will sincerely miss the charming comic relief. Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker), Prudence Featherington (Bessie Carter), and Phillipa Featherington (Harriet Cains) shined this season. Bessie Carter and Harriet Cains were hilarious; I feel robbed by how little screen time they’ve received since day one. The kindness which grows between the Featherington women softens my heart. I was so pleased to watch these characters flourish in the season finale ball. It’s bittersweet.

At this point, I have no idea what further purpose Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuval) has for Bridgerton. I’m not trying to be rude. I love Golda. She’s done a remarkable job. I loved the spin-off series, but I think Queen Charlotte’s story has fizzled.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Joanna Bobin as Lady Cowper, Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper, Dominic Coleman as Lord Cowper in episode 305 of Bridgerton.
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

I can’t believe I’m saying this, but… Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen) was done real dirty. After all the minutes I spent feeling empathy for Cressida, I’m shocked the conclusion of her story was to be shunned from society. We see inside her cruel family life, we begin to understand her misguided understanding of friendship, and her bullying is shown as a defence mechanism. And after all that, she is still a blackmailing snitch with terrible timing and even worse decision-making skills. I think I— I guess I feel bad for Cressida. I never thought I’d see the day. It’s also wild that the Bridgerton clan has not developed the empathy to see Cressida as kin to Penelope as Lady Whistledown. Maybe there are plans to bring Cressida back for further redemption. Although, if not, I think this speaks poorly of the Bridgertons, and I can’t decide if that was on purpose or oversight of the writers’ room.

I am not going to lie; I laughed when Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) made his speech in Lady Agatha Danbury’s (Adjoa Andoh) receiving room, and it was revealed she was beefing over something Anderson did when he was only ten years old. SHE WAS BEEFING OVER A KID! I wonder if I was right in thinking a marriage between Anderson and Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) gives us an excellent reason for Violet to remain in charge of a household and the rest of the Bridgerton siblings for later seasons if they’re living under Anderson’s roof rather than the Bridgerton’s.

However, sending Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Bridgerton (Simone Ashley) to India is a genius move by the writing department. For the next two seasons, at least, Bailey and Ashley’s absence can be explained in two seconds. Especially now that Jonathan Bailey has many projects lined up and keeps growing in popularity.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich, Emma Naomi as Alice Mondrich in episode 305 of Bridgerton.
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

With how Alice Mondrich (Emma Naomi) and Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) were written in the final two episodes, it appears their story was more filler than anything. I’m not complaining about their inclusion or grander arcs. I enjoy their characters. However, I’ve noticed this trend with TV shows lately where writers’ rooms adapt or invent black characters for shows, give them story arcs and then abandon the characters in the finale. I discussed it in my Daisy Jones and The Six and Lessons In Chemistry reviews. I may have even mentioned my concern when I reviewed Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1. And I’m sad to say that Netflix may have written itself into a corner with this one.

A few times this season, we’ve seen characters pair up as friends, and the pairings are questionable or just a little rushed. I mean, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) and Cressida were intentionally a match made to raise eyebrows. However, the Mondrich family’s attachment to the Bridgertons is a complicated web without Bridgerton‘s original bad boy, Simon Basset (Rene-Jean Page), to solidify it. There hasn’t been enough time spent developing the friendships nor enough natural chemistry, especially compared to Penelope’s friendship with Madame Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale) or Agatha and Violet. I feel like the writers used the Mondrichs to fill in the place of Anthony and Kate. Which, if the case, was perhaps a little lazy.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 308 of Bridgerton.
Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

It is time for Nicola Coughlan’s reign supreme. She is the epitome of the main character energy. She shines. Nicola’s protagonist era cannot end. I want to see her in everything. I don’t know that Luke Newton is as beloved, but he is also terrific as Colin. Luke does pine well; perhaps he will have Rom-Coms in the future. I’ll miss this year of Polin: every TikTok edit, every interview clip, the red carpet looks and Bridgerton events. And to think that it may be another two whole years before we see another season of Bridgerton. How will I survive?

I suppose I’ll spend all my time thinking about Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) and his bi-awakening. Will he meet Sophie from An Offer From a Gentleman by Julia Quinn, or will it be a Sebastian with Sophie’s backstory? How long before the demise of John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Ali) and Francesca Bridgerton’s (Hannah Dodd) gay awakening with Michaela Stirling (Masali Baduza)? Will Eloise be writing letters to Sir Phillip Crane (Chris Fulton)? So much to ponder…

Actually, I think I’ll watch Season 3 again.

Written by Isobel Grieve

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