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Bridgerton Season 3 Part One Review: Penelope-Colin’s Journey Is Bound To Strike A Chord If You’re One Of The Wallflowers And Friends-To-Lovers Admirers

Name: Bridgerton Season 3 Part One

Director: Jess Brownell

Cast: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Sam Phillips, Claudia Jessie, Jonathan Bailey, Simone Ashley, Luke Thompson, Polly Walker, Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andoh, Ruth Gemmell, Hannah Todd, Polly Walker and Jessica Madsen.

Rating: 4/5

Where To Watch: Netflix

Plot:

Netflix’s highly acclaimed regal romance finally returned to the screens with the first half of its two-part third season. The latest installment of the beloved series, an adaptation of Julia Quinn’s novel Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, focuses on the story of the third Bridgerton sibling, Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and his childhood friend-turned-lover Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan).

The season opens with a new set of debutantes, including the sixth Bridgerton sibling Francesca (Hannah Dodd), entering the marriage mart and preparing to impress Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) amid their pursuit to find an ideal match. Penelope returns to London’s very familiar ‘ton’ after spending a summer in the countryside with her family. Meanwhile, Colin makes a comeback following his many travels across Europe.

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As Colin embraces a rugged appearance and flirtatious demeanor to easily place himself at the center of the ladies’ attention, Penelope turns into a lone wolf in the wake of her fallout with her best friend and Colin’s sister Eloise (Claudia Jessie). Colin and Penelope’s reunion is rather cold as the latter remains indifferent to him after being hurt from overhearing his conversation about his lack of interest in courting her last season.

Penelope continues to use the ink as her weapon as the author behind Lady Whistledown, the society’s gossip pamphlet. However, she also decides to find a husband to free herself from the shackles of her cunning mother Portia (Polly Walker), and her ruthless sisters, Prudence (Bessie Carter) and Philippa (Harriet Cains).

As part of her efforts to look for a match, Penelope changes her entire wardrobe and takes on an appearance which is a far cry from her signature citrus gowns and loud headgears. She also ends up having heated confrontation with Colin about his harsh remarks, who in turn becomes determined to get back into Penelope’s good books.

In an attempt to restore their friendship and convince Penelope that he is “a changed man,” Colin pledges to help her find a suitor. Penelope soon finds herself earning the attention of Lord Debling (Sam Phillips) but her dynamic with Colin begins to shift as he starts viewing her in a new light.

Does Colin manage to help Penelope find her ideal partner or his “lessons” eventually end up weaving a chapter of its own? Do Penelope and Eloise reconcile or their friendship suffers from more scars this season? Watch Bridgerton Season 3 Part One to find out.

What works for Bridgerton Season 3 Part One:

Bridgerton, with its signature charm and ideal setting for the perfect royal romance, manages to strike the right chords once again. Since Romancing Mr. Bridgerton (Penelope and Colin’s story) is often considered to be the most-loved book from Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton novel series, new showrunner Jess Brownell successfully lives up to the hype, presenting perhaps one of the most satisfying page-to-screen adaptations in recent times.  

Bridgerton Season 3 Part One brilliantly captures the essence of an ideal friends-to-lovers story. While the trope remains long familiar, it comes with its own breath of freshness. As Penelope and Colin take the centerstage this season, the show does not restrict itself to focus solely on their romance but also highlights their individual journey and growth.

In contrast to Daphne and Simon’s story in Bridgerton Season 1 and Kate and Anthony’s story in Bridgerton Season 2, audiences are already familiar with both the protagonists of Bridgerton Season 3. The show perfectly plays on the same familiarity while also establishing a sense of newness. Penelope and Colin go through a plethora of emotions in the first four episodes of the season and take the audience along for a rollercoaster ride.

Bridgerton Season 3 wins in terms of characterization and wonderfully explores the layers of each individual, including those in direct spotlight and the ones standing close behind. It does not simply bank on the romantic aspect of the story but also gives equal attention to self-discovery and self-reflection.

In addition to exploring both the complexities and simplicity of Penelope and Colin’s relationship, the third season also takes the perfect approach to address the tension between Penelope and Eloise. There is an established balance between moments which feels like a stab in the chest and ones that make you believe- maybe all is not lost.

As Penelope and Colin navigate through life and love, Bridgerton Season 3 Part One manages to hurt and heal, both its leading characters and the audiences alike. The show deserves appreciation in terms of dialogues, storytelling, cinematography and styling. Like every season, diversity also continues to remain at the forefront of the Shondaland series.

A special mention is further reserved for the brilliant usage of orchestral covers of some the biggest pop songs of recent times (Happier Than Ever by Billie Eilish and Dynamite by BTS, among others) and their ideal placement in the episodes.

What doesn’t work for Bridgerton Season 3 Part One:

There isn’t much that doesn’t work for Bridgerton Season 3 Part One. The chemistry between a now-married Kate and Anthony (Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey) could have been utilized better instead of being depicted through a couple of steamy moments. The absence of Phoebe Dynevor‘s Daphne leaves a certain void albeit mostly for fans of the novel. A month-long gap between the first and second part also feels slightly unnecessary. However, it is certainly bound to keep fans at the edge of their seats. The first part ends with a pivotal moment in Penelope and Colin’s story but bigger questions remain unanswered until the season returns with the next part.

Bridgerton Season 3 (Netflix)

ALSO READ: Exploring Conclusion Of Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1: All Essential Details About First Part’s Finale

Performances in Bridgerton Season 3 Part One:

Nicola Coughlan is undoubtedly the biggest star of Bridgerton Season 3 Part One. She brings every shade and layer of Penelope to life with utmost panache and sheer excellence. Luke Newton follows close behind and gives Bridgerton the perfect co-lead of its third season in form of Colin. Coughlan and Newton’s chemistry as ‘Polin’ is the highlight of the show.

The duo effortlessly brings a perfect balance of passion and playfulness between their characters, which remains an essential element of any friends-to-lovers story. The pair brilliantly captures the nuances of their onscreen counterparts and does not miss out even the most subtle shades and layers of their respective characters.

Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley brings much of their Season 2 chemistry into the new season and make sparks fly even if for brief moment. Sam Phillips as Lord Debling brings a noticeable charm while Hannah Dodd impresses as the new Francesca Bridgerton as she makes her debut in the marriage market.

Claudia Jessie continues to shine as Eloise, especially with the changed equations her character faces within close circles. Jessica Madsen does a commendable job as Cressida Cowper.

Golda Rosheuvel, Adjoa Andoh, Ruth Gemmell and Polly Walker continues to bring justice to their respective roles over the years. Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton shows his potential but leaves much room to explore more of his talents in the future seasons.

Final verdict of Bridgerton Season 3 Part One:

Bridgerton Season 3 Part One successfully meet the expectations of book and show fans alike. It creates magic in ways more than one. It is not only an ode to fans of slow burn rom-coms but also a nod to every wallflower waiting to bloom. It tugs at your heartstrings, fills your soul with warmth, makes you shed a tear or two but certainly keeps you wanting more. It also makes you believe that one need not be the “diamond of the season” to shine the brightest. To experience the ultimate journey of self-reflection, friendship, love and the fruit of following the heart’s true desire, tune into Bridgerton Season 3 Part One, now streaming on Netflix!

 

ALSO READ: Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 Twitter Review: Here’s What Netizens Have To Say About Colin And Penelope’s Slow-Burn Romance

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