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Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 (Netflix) Review

A bride and a groom hold hands looking back in season 3 part 2 of Bridgerton

Bridgerton season 3 comes to an end with a dazzling part 2 that has high stakes and explores characters’ relationships.  

“We are always in need of fresh gossip,” says someone at the beginning of the part 2 of Bridgerton season 3. This is undoubtedly true for all of Mayfair as they eagerly await a new publication from Lady Whistledown, but it also applies to us, as the audience, who have been looking forward to the release of the last four episodes for the past month. Part 2 does not disappoint, delivering a fitting conclusion to the love story we have seen bloom on our television screens for the past few episodes and, looking back at the previous seasons, for the past years ever since the Netflix show started.

The second part of season 3 starts where Bridgerton part 1 left us, as Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan, of Seize Them!) announce their engagement. But Penelope’s secret identity as Lady Whistledown threatens their happiness, as Queen Charlotte (Golda Rousheuvel) is desperate to discover who Lady Whistledown is. There is also the added conflict of Eloise (Claudia Jesse), Penelope’s former best friend, pressuring her to tell Colin the truth. Elsewhere in the Bridgerton family, other love stories are underway. Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) is particularly taken by Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis), the brother of one of her closest friends, Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh).

The conflict in part 2 feels a lot bigger, with higher stakes and better pacing that make every episode feel urgent and every scene necessary. Most of the episodes in the second part are a chase with time, as Penelope’s secret is always on the verge of being revealed. When it comes to the main relationships in Bridgerton – Colin and Penelope, but also Eloise and Penelope, who finally reunite – the conflict works particularly well because it is due to external issues, namely Whistledown’s identity being revealed. It also allows the story to focus on the characters’ development, both individually and in their relationships with their significant others, family, and friends.

“Whistledown is power,” we hear one of the characters say in Bridgerton and that is why the part 2 of season 3 is so fascinating. So much of the show has revolved around the mystery of Lady Whistledown even in the previous season, from uncovering her identity to reading her gossip, that she has now become one of the most important elements of the entire series. It is, therefore, incredibly satisfying to see the Whistledown plot play out in the new season, as it becomes both an instrument of power – in economic and cultural terms – for Penelope and a threat that hangs over her happiness.

Queen Charlotte walks with her court behind her inside the palace in season 3 part 2 of Bridgerton
(L to R) Hugh Sachs as Brimsley, Golda Rosheuvel as Queen Charlotte in episode 307 of Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 (Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024)

Season 3 decides to conclude this arc in the best way possible, allowing Penelope to stand up for herself and what she believes in while also remaining true to who she is as Lady Whistledown, as the two cannot be separated from one another. In this fantasy version of the Regency era, Penelope’s story gives a powerful message to the other women in the show, as well as those in the audience. With her arc in the final four episodes of Bridgerton, she reminds us that women can be successful without getting married – as her sister remarks at the end of episode 8 – but also that she can be both an author and a wife, as the two are not mutually exclusive.

I particularly enjoyed the side plot with Violet Bridgerton, Lady Danbury and her brother Lord Marcus Anderson in this second part of Bridgerton season 3. Not only does it somewhat mirror the main plotline between Penelope, Eloise, and Colin, at least in terms of tropes and family dynamics, but it is also refreshing to see a show focus so heavily on a middle-aged woman finding love. On a similar note, all the scenes involving Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) are a joy to watch, as we get even more depth into her character and, particularly this season, her relationship with her daughter. The Featherington plotline is integrated very well with the rest of the story, as Penelope’s reconciliation with her family is an important part of her character development.

But some of its other plotlines still don’t work and only seem to take the attention away from the main couple who, despite it being their season, still does not entirely feel like the protagonist of season 3. Benedict’s (Luke Thompson) plot this season still feels incredibly unnecessary, adding little to its character and being completely detached from the rest of the season. And some other, arguably more interestingly, side plots are sadly forgotten and left behind in part one. I would have gladly seen more of both Alice‘s (Emma Naomi) and Will’s (Martins Imhangbe) struggles to integrate into Mayfair’s proper society, especially as their arc was not entirely concluded where the Bridgerton part 1 left them.

The same is true for Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate (Simon Ashley) who, while instrumental in some key parts of season 3 part 2, only seem to appear briefly before being shipped off to somewhere that is not London. In terms of narrative, Bridgerton also falls into the trap of having the characters talk about their backstories rather than portraying those through flashbacks. This is true for Lady Danbury and her brother, whose conflict significantly relies on their shared past, and for Penelope and Colin who often talk about their friendship when they were younger. Both of those narratives would have been a lot more emotional for the audience if we had seen them as we did with Anthony’s and Simon’s (Regé-Jean Page) backstories in the previous seasons.

Bridgerton season 3 Part 2 Trailer (Netflix)

Bridgerton season 3 part 2 is a considerable improvement from part 1 in its brilliant pacing and excellent writing, making it very much worth the wait between the two parts. Splitting it into two parts still seems like an odd decision –  a sort of middle ground between the weekly releases that used to be so popular a few years ago, and the current streaming model of releasing a whole season in one go. In this case, however, it works, as the conflict between the main characters, and all those around them, significantly change in the two parts.

If anything, I only wish season 3 had been longer. As the voice of Julie Andrews bids us goodbye, another season has come to an end and the wait for the next one begins. With one of the best Bridgerton endings so far, part 2 of the Regency-era show proves to be a success once again. It also sets up the future of the show with the perfect final sequence. As Eloise heads to Scotland, Francesca (Hannah Dodd, of Enola Holmes 2) gets the marriage she wished for, and Benedict is determined to avoid commitment, any of them could be the lead of season 4.

Bridgerton Season 3 is now available to stream on Netflix. Read our review of Season 3 part 1!

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