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Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 review - Love's dalliance disappoints amidst Ton's drama

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 offers a gentle prelude to the unfolding drama and romance.

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 review - Love's dalliance disappoints amidst Ton's drama

Nicola Coughlan and Luke Newton in a still from Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 

Last Updated: 07.00 PM, May 16, 2024

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 story:

Season three of Bridgerton finds Nicola Coughlan's Penelope Featherington finally breaking her long-suppressed crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) after hearing his critical remarks about her in the previous season. Now that she has made the decision to marry, she seeks a partner who will allow her to maintain her dual identity as Lady Whistledown without any interference from her family. But Penelope's attempts at finding a husband in the marriage market are utterly unsuccessful since she lacks confidence. At the same time, Colin has come back from his summer adventures looking fresh and cocky as ever. Unfortunately, he finds it discouraging to see that Penelope, who accepted him unconditionally, is now ignoring him. Colin, who is eager to regain Penelope's friendship, offers to assist her in finding a husband this season by mentoring her in self-confidence. However, when his lessons take an unexpected turn, Colin finds himself questioning whether his feelings for Penelope are merely amicable. Issues are further complicated for Penelope because of her estrangement from Eloise (Claudia Jessie), who has made an unexpected friend, and because of her increasing visibility in the ton, which makes it harder to conceal her identity as Lady Whistledown.

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 review:

It's been two years, but I don't think it has been that long a wait for the third season of Bridgerton. As I was going through my previous season's review, I found myself grappling with how to summarise it, given that Kate Sharma's (Simone Ashley) character brought an Indian touch and a dash of feminism to the show. This time, we're going back to the original leading cast without much of an outsider, given that the focus is on Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton). 


The storyline remains stagnant despite the tighter outfits and increased sassiness. The first part of the third season consists of four episodes, and I am kind of thankful that this happened because it becomes too much for me to consume all of Bridgerton at once. However, Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story stands out as the most exceptional episode in this franchise. Speaking of the four episodes, they are breezy and not at all intriguing because they're the simplest story in the Bridgerton universe after two complications shown in the first and second seasons. It's the story of two best friends falling in love. Well, if last season had the Kabhi Khushi Kabhie Gham track, this one is all about Pyaar Dosti Hai.

Penelope, heartbroken upon hearing Colin's comment about her, remains resolute in her determination to continue her search for a husband for the third time in her life. She is heartbroken because of two Bridgerton members: Colin, whom she loves romantically, and Eloise (Claudia Jessie), who got to know that Lady Whistledown is actually her best friend.

Despite the plot's focus on Colin and Penelope's transformation from friends to lovers, their friendship barely reveals itself before uncomfortable feelings of desire emerge. Although it's touching that Colin says love is everything to him, his lack of depth makes the connection, which ought to be the riveting focal point of this volume, feel unbalanced. 

The love story between Penelope and Eloise—best friends from childhood—is the most moving of all, despite the breakup of their friendship last season. Although Penelope has isolated herself from her awful family, Eloise has become friendly with cruel Cressida (Jessica Madsen). However, it appears that neither girl can separate herself from the other. 

Rather, what we see is a Bridgerton that is hell-bent on doing the job, regardless of how boring it may seem right now. One romantic storyline this season completely avoids misery, which is a departure from its normal agony. Francesca (Hannah Dodd), the third Bridgerton sister, enters society with the intention of finding a nice partner who could make her happy and calm rather than falling in love. Her mother, Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), thinks her daughter deserves better and is dubious. However, Francesca refuses, and her voice betrays an unwillingness to repeat herself, as if she had heard this plot point ad nauseam.

Meanwhile, among the massive ensemble, Penelope is the only one who appears to have multiple sides to her character. Her secret identity is intriguing, and publishing it calls for a stroke of genius. Whistledown comes across as the consummate insider—brazen, astute, humorous, and perplexingly knowledgeable—in contrast to Penelope, who may be reserved, uncomfortable, self-conscious, and excruciatingly naïve when it comes to the physical aspects of romance.

The sensitive and emotionally charged way in which the show follows Penelope's metamorphosis is entirely up to Coughlan. There is an unmistakable sparkle of intelligence in her eyes, even as her bare face betrays an honest fragility. The character's internal conflict is plain to see with just a glance.

The first part ends with a disclaimer that the season's best is yet to come. It seems like the makers themselves knew that nothing much was to be expected from the first four episodes, as the buildup was anticipated, and pseudo excitement is something you can't expect from me. 

We will find out in a month whether the show still has substance or if it has devolved into nothingness.

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 verdict:

Part 1 of Bridgerton's third season begins with a gentle dance, but a dramatic climax is clearly on the way. The drama teases an enthralling second act by having Penelope's secret identity as Lady Whistledown add layers of mystery and Colin's unexpected affections complicate matters. There may not be any major plot twists or turns right away, but there is simmering emotion there, ready to burst forth on screen as genuine love.


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