Dearest gentle readers, ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 brings back the steam and frothy fun: review

Dearest gentle readers,

Netflix’s steamy historical hit “Bridgerton” is back for Season 3, now streaming. This time, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) take center stage. 

Each season of the Shonda Rhimes produced show has followed a different sibling in the Bridgerton family as they find love in Regency era London high society – all while navigating a “Gossip Girl” type rumor mill, spearheaded by the writings of Lady Whistledown (who is secretly Penelope). 

Season 3 begins with the “spinster” Penelope determined to find a husband, in part to escape her doltish family. She’s also feeling burned, because in Season 2, she overheard her crush, Colin, cruelly dismissing the idea of ever courting her. 

Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin (Luke Newton) in “Bridgerton” Season 3. Liam Daniel/Netflix
Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix
Colin (Luke Newton) wants to “earn back Penelope’s favor” in “Bridgerton” Season 3. Liam Daniel/Netflix

To make matters worse, her friendship with his sister, Eloise (Claudia Jessie), has crumbled because Eloise is furious after discovering Penelope’s secret identity.

So, Penelope is isolated, and she keeps getting tongue-tied around men. Her future looks bleak. 

Meanwhile, Colin has returned from his summer travels, more popular than ever, but he’s confused that his friend Penelope is now treating him coldly. 

After the two have a confrontation about his Season 2 behavior, he resolves to “earn back her favor” by helping her find a husband. This involves flirting lessons – and naturally, they start feeling a little too real.

But, a complication: Colin isn’t aware of Penelope’s alter ego, and he’s resolved to “ruin” Lady Whistledown’s life, if he ever uncovers her identity. 

Bela Bajaria, Tom Verica, Luke Newton, Betsy Beers, Shonda Rhimes, Nicola Coughlan, Ted Sarantos, and Jess Brownell at the “Bridgerton” Season 3 premiere. Getty Images
Rosa Hesmondhalgh as Rae, Kathryn Drysdale as Genevieve Delacroix, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope. Liam Daniel/Netflix
Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix

It wouldn’t be “Bridgerton” without its famous sex scenes – and fans who complained that there wasn’t enough sex in Season 2 can rest easy. 

Season 3 brings the steam, not just among the main couple, but also with various sex workers, Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) gets a new fling, and Season 2’s couple, Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate (Simone Ashley), also get several steamy intervals (perhaps to make up for the fan complaints that Season 2 wasn’t packing enough heat). 

Penelope and Colin have enough of a past to make their relationship feel emotionally rich. Their dynamic also has dramatic tension, since the other shoe will inevitably drop when Colin learns her secret identity. 

Will Tilston as Gregory Bridgerton, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix
Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) is looking for a husband in Season 3. Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

Elsewhere, the season has a bit too much going on, but a lot of it is fun, and it moves along at a steady pace. 

Various plot lines also follow Colin’s musical sister, Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd), as she looks for a husband, Eloise as she flails socially following the collapse of her friendship with Penelope, and Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) and his wife, Alice (Emma Naomi), as they navigate a change in station. Yet another side plot follows Penelope’s sisters trying to get pregnant — and while it’s mildly amusing, that one tips the side plots over into, “who cares?”

Plus, although it’s nice to see how Anthony and Kate are doing after their season, their presence does draw attention to the conspicuous absence of the Season 1 couple, Simon (Rege Jean-Page) and Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), as those actors have moved on to greener pastures. 

Liam Daniel/Netflix
Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma and Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix
Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) is secretly Lady Whistledown, which Colin doesn’t know. Liam Daniel/Netflix
Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Florence Hunt as Hyacinth Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix

Aside from some scattered flaws, Season 3 of “Bridgerton” remains frothy fun, and addictively watchable. This show is still firing on all cylinders. 

Season 3 part 1 is currently streaming, and Season 3 part 2 will premiere June 13.

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