Dearest gentle reader: A season of changes is upon us

Editor’s note: This article contains spoilers for season 3 of Bridgerton.
Dearest gentle reader: A season of changes is upon us

On May 16, the first four episodes of season three of “Bridgerton” were released, meeting excitement that had brewed amongst fans. Each season has focused on one Bridgerton child finding their love match while navigating the social season under the sharp eye of Lady Whistledown. Although season three has not yet been released in full, the season thus far has kept its excellent reputation from previous seasons, leaving high expectations for the remaining episodes of the latest season.

 

The first season came in strong with the classic fake dating trope between Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). It was full of well-paced steamy tension, all while building the storyline and base for the future characters to come. The second season focused on the eldest brother Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley). This season was a letdown to me as it moved a lot slower and relied on an enemies-to-lovers trope that almost took away from the spark they were supposed to have. Even after all the fighting and stubbornness leading up to the climax, when Kate and Anthony finally got together, the two still butted heads, providing no rest for the viewers. Their slow burn became redundant and frustrating, as it felt like they were digging themselves into a deeper hole of separation rather than togetherness.

 

Episode one of season three, “Out of the Shadows,” begins with Lady Whistledown making her long-awaited return for the newest matchmaking season, discussing each of the women who are looking for a prospective husband and predicting how this upcoming season might go for them. Similar to the opening scenes in previous seasons, we see the Bridgerton family surrounding one of their daughters, this time Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd), in her room waiting for her debut into society. The small detail of showing the preparation for each daughter’s debut with the family eagerly waiting outside makes for a shared experience that is unique to each girl based on their personality. Daphne was made for high society and her opening scene was perfect; Eloise, who is the complete opposite, was resistant and uncomfortable; and while Francesca wants to have a good debut, she is also reserved, much like Eloise once was.

 

The most noticeable change in episode one is this newfound confidence that Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) has gained from his second time traveling abroad. With this confidence, we see the “Bridgerton effect” — the pattern of glow-ups seen in the male characters as they move from sidekick to love interest —  in full swing, leaving the women on and off screen swooning. 

 

It is unclear which Bridgerton sibling this season will fully focus on as we are introduced to Francesca as she makes her debut, to Colin who grabs everyone’s attention, and to Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) who is pushed by his mother to find a wife. In the first season, it is clear that it is about Daphne, and in the second we can all recognize that it is about Anthony even though Eloise has her own side story within the season. But, with the character development of multiple Bridgerton siblings,  more excitement builds for the last four episodes to tie loose ends together and further develop the Bridgerton family’s story. The start of the third season started off strong, already chock full of drama, future love triangles, and side characters getting more recognition.

 

In the second episode, “How Bright the Moon,” the Queen refuses to choose the diamond of the season — the most coveted prospective bride — in rebellion against letting Lady Whistledown run society. I find this interesting because instead of the crown holding unquestioned power, we see the Queen trying to fight against an unknown writer to gain her power back. Going against what the public wants is drawing power back to the Queen, shifting what this season is going to be about, rather than the diamond, it’s about change. Whether it’s the change in power for the Queen, how Colin feels about Penelope, or even a change in how Violet Bridgerton feels about love, this season is meant to challenge idleness and keep viewers on their toes.

 

Although Penelope has not been my favorite, it is exciting to see her attitude towards marriage change, and her change from being a wallflower to becoming more confident and determined to find true love after being stuck on Colin. There is a huge change in Penelope’s appearance as she ditches her usual bright colors and moves towards styles that make her features pop, gaining attention from the crowd. This switch in her attitude got me super excited as I was not only hoping for her to become bolder in society but also with her writing as Lady Whistledown, continuing to stir up even more gossip and turning the town upside down. 

 

My favorite development of the beginning of the season was watching the Featherington sisters’ newly formed relationships with their husbands, as it was clear their mother did not prepare them to be wives. It was humorous to see how they would leave their husbands at social functions, forcing their mothers to tell them to spend time with their husbands, all while begging them to have children. 

 

The budding flame between Penelope and Colin starts to form as he teaches her how to flirt, only for him to slowly fall for her. It reminded me of season one and how we were able to see Simon and Daphne start as tools for each other’s gain, only to slowly fall in love with each other and create romantic tension similar to the beginnings of Penelope and Colin’s relationship. The first spark is when Colin cuts his hand and Penelope helps him. In this scene, the music is swooning and builds tension only to be cut off, bringing us all back to reality. More scandal strikes as Penelope’s secret that Colin is helping her find a husband gets out, lowering her chance of finding a husband. The episode ends with a huge bang as Penelope asks Colin to kiss her, going against society’s rules of any sort of intimacy before marriage; this moment is what everyone has been waiting for, and a win for Penelope. This moment was huge. I was shocked when Penelope even asked to kiss Colin since any physical affection before marriage could be considered an enormous scandal. This daring action was exactly the fiery chemistry viewers have been needing since season one. Watching them go from friends to sharing glances of desire. Upon seeing the tension build, I knew this season was going to be a huge hit; not only was I excited, but I needed more.

 

Colin starts to fall for Penelope, which is seen in episode three “Forces of Nature” when he has a dream about confessing his feelings after they kissed the previous night. With only one episode left, I was starting to grow curious about what else could possibly happen. Lord Debling (Sam Phillips) and Penelope start to form a bond that makes Colin jealous, but in all honesty, I find Lord Debling to suit Penelope; they match each other’s attitudes about wanting to keep their hobbies separate. Lord Debling loves to go out and hunt and spend time by himself, while Penelope wants privacy to continue to be Lady Whistledown, their lifestyles give each other the space and privacy to continue with how they were living before, but all while making a connection with one another to talk about their hobbies. Both Penelope and Lord Debling are separate individuals who have shown in this season to fully listen to each other’s interests, while Colin only ever talks about himself and his own travels, not really paying mind to what Penelope actually likes. But unlike Penelope, Lord Debling wants a practical match instead of a love match which ultimately leads to their downfall. The Bridgertons and their love interests are the main focus of this episode: Benedict finds a widow who could become a permanent relationship, Colin desperately pines for Penelope, and Francesca desires someone more reserved like herself, opposing the match the Queen makes for me. With so many plots within the Bridgerton family, there is much to be tied up in the next half of the season.

 

In the last episode, “Old Friends,” we see Colin fall away from meaningless nights with other women and instead want something more meaningful with Penelope. Colin seemed to have fallen into a similar life as his older brother Anthony during season one before he declared his intentions to marry in season two. Although it isn’t my favorite way to portray Colin, due to the fact he was a sweetheart in season one, there needed to be a way to show his growth as a character and to see him realize that he only wants Penelope. We see this in the last scene where after Lord Debling called off the engagement with Penelope, Colin chases her down and things get a bit heated in her carriage, leading him to ask her if they are going to marry. Another intense watch that reminds me of the first season where viewers could feel the passion, only to be cut off and wanting more. Having Colin be so oblivious to Penelope’s intentions and then not being able to live without her brings into view how unrequited love can change just as fast as people can change, bringing into scope this feeling of change that this season has been giving us so far.

 

This ending is tortuous because waiting another month to find out what happens is cruel beyond measure. Will Penelope and Colin actually get married? Will Francesca find her love match? Will Violet be able to love again, or will Lady Danbury reject it? Will Benedict finally settle down or will he remain rambunctious? All questions are up in the air and can only be answered (hopefully) by the next four episodes. Many viewers have high hopes for season three, and the writers have stepped up their game as the same energy we saw in season one is beginning to come alive again.

 

Image courtesy of Vogue

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About the Contributor
Yamile Peel
Yamile Peel, Senior Staff Writer
Yamile is a 2nd year Linguistics major and Art History minor who is obsessed with watching Gilmore Girls on repeat and movie analysis videos
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