Bridgerton, Season 3

Bridgerton season 3 is here!

My plan was to leisurely watch one episode a week over the month between the first episodes dropping and the June 13 arrival of the final four episodes. Instead, I devoured all the available episodes in one night and have been soothing myself with Bridgerton thirst memes while I wait for the finale.

Anyone else counting down the days?

In the meantime, I’ve been rewatching the series, yet again. I liked season 3 of Bridgerton on my first watch, but I adored it when I took a second look, for five reasons.

#1 The show is better than the book

Past seasons of Bridgerton have taken liberties with the side characters of Julia Quinn’s series, but the main romance storylines have hewed fairly closely to the original, even when we wished they hadn’t. Season 3 features Colin Bridgerton falling for his longtime friend, bookish, socially awkward Penelope Featheringon.

In the book Romancing Mr Bridgerton, Penelope catches Colin’s attention after she loses weight and is wearing more fashionable clothing. She is still “curvy” but after four books of waiting for Colin to notice Penelope’s gigantic crush on him, I was not impressed that Colin Bridgerton couldn’t see what Penelope had to offer until she physically altered herself.

Click for my reaction

Benedict Bridgerton says I don't know what I was expecting but it certainly wasn't this

People of all shapes and sizes deserve love. It was hard for me to respect book-Colin for not noticing Penelope sooner, and I hated that it took weight loss for other people to treat Penelope with respect or interest. Bridgerton Season 3 jettisons the weight loss storyline, proving how it was unnecessary in the first place.

As I said in our review of Bridgerton season 1, I’m tired of historical stories that can imagine a world without racism, but not one without the same tired fatphobia. Romancing Mr Bridgerton has always been a bittersweet book for me, and I spent my first watch of season 3 on tenterhooks waiting to see if a diet-a-thon appeared. On my rewatch I could relax and enjoy the romance without worrying I’d want to punch Colin in the face.

#2 Penelope Featherington is my new crush

Something I love about being bisexual is playing the Bridgerton crush lottery where I try to guess which character I will have a crush on each season. Season 1 was Simon, Duke of Hastings. Season 2 was a polyamorous sandwich with Anthony and Kate. And this season is all Penelope, all the time.

Penelope has always been one of my favorite characters in Bridgerton. She loves novels despite being critiqued for reading too much; she’s bullied by her family and the ton but ultimately finds a way to parlay her social invisibility into a secret social power.

I would like to say that my love for Penelope in season 3 of Bridgerton is because of the character’s mind but that would be a lie. My mouth fell open every time Nicola Coughlan appeared on screen looking luminous.

Time for heart eyes

Penelope Bridgerton looks over her shoulder and smiles

May I recommend the scene where Penelope nonchalantly eats cake while Colin stares at her like he’s starving.

#3 Consent is sexy

Bridgerton Season 3 has some solid sex scenes, and the first appears in episode 4 of season 3. Colin and Penelope get busy in a moving carriage after he finally admits his feelings. Should you need to know exactly when the scene appears, for, ahem, research purposes, I suggest searching “carriage scene” on social media for the many reaction videos.

Throughout the season, Colin always asks for permission before he touches Penelope, and I loved seeing how consent was scorchingly integrated into the carriage sex scene.

Click for kissing

Colin and Penelope share their first kiss

#4 The redemption of a mean girl

Lady Cressida is the nemesis of many of the Bridgerton girls during the book series. In the first two seasons of Bridgerton, Cressida is jealous, conniving, and highly visible with her enormous puffed sleeves and gravity-defying hair reminiscent of the 1990s.

The newest season of Bridgeron deviates from the books, showing us a more nuanced portrayal of Cressida after she befriends Eloise Bridgerton and divulges some of the reasons behind her desperate behavior in the marriage mart. I appreciate the shift away from a one-dimensional bully, and I’m excited to see how Cressida’s storyline plays out in the second half of the season.

#5 Colin gets a smackdown

Non-romance fans sometimes claim romance readers are attracted to the genre because of the “unrealistic” fantasy of attentive heroes who are nothing like reality. But my favorite romance fantasy is actually watching young women in their 20s unapologetically smack down the people in their lives who are trying to control and constrain them.

At the beginning of season 3 of Bridgerton, Colin has a big hole to dig himself out of before he and Penelope can start their love story. Season two ended with Colin cluelessly unaware when Penelope overhears him announce to a group of laughing pals that he would never court her.

As a reformed people pleaser in her forties, I often fantasize about going back in a time machine and verbally eviscerating the various mansplainers who stunned me into silence in my early twenties. Reading romances is perhaps the closest I’m going to get to that pleasure. There’s something deeply cathartic about seeing the self-confidence of a 40-year-old inserted into the body of a 20-year-old.

Click for my reaction

Queen Charlotte says it would certainly be most enchanting indeed

This is part of the reason, perhaps, that Penelope’s long-awaited dressing down of Colin Bridgerton was so delicious. It’s short, but satisfying, and is followed by many scenes of a tortured Colin pining after Penelope. The actor who plays Colin is very pretty, and he is exceptionally talented at looking longingly at his co-star.

But the real wish fulfillment for me in season three of Bridgerton is watching Penelope Featherington merge her privately strong and publicly meek personalities. The wallflower finally steps off the wall and learns her own worth.

Something I love about being bisexual is playing the Bridgerton Crush Lottery: Which character will I have a crush on this season?

Are you watching Bridgerton? Are you excited for part two of Season 3?

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