Bridgerton Season 3 is officially finished, and boy howdy is there a lot to discuss. Amanda-Rae and Jackie talked about the first half of the season here, and are back to discuss casting reveals, their favorite moments, and more. Note: there are spoilers for all of season three, plus some speculation on future seasons.

Jackie: We’re back! Say what you will about the month-long hiatus between parts but it really felt like everyone was practically rabid for part two by the time it dropped. And that first episode back did not disappoint!

Amanda-Rae: Part 2 picks up right where Part 1 ended with a quick proposal, telling the family everything, followed by one of the most important book canon scenes: the mirror scene. Nicola Coughlan and Luke Thompson totally nailed it on the romance front and removed the bodyshaming from the novel.

J: I’ve seen multiple reactions to this scene that were like “wow I feel like I’m intruding” which I think really gets at how much more intimate this felt than previous love scenes on the show. I loved it.

A: To me it was not only more intimate but also more empowering than the previous love scenes. It’s so rare in media overall, especially period dramas, to see full-figured women being loved and appreciated on screen. I have a similar body type to Nicola Coughlan’s so I especially appreciated the cinematography and dialogue.

J: It was really beautiful. Here’s hoping the overwhelmingly positive fan reaction drives more body diversity on screen in the future. We also saw some major plot reveals pretty quickly in the second half of the season — what did you think about the Whistledown reveal?

A: I’m lowkey glad Colin found out before Eloise could drop that nuclear bomb. Eloise was never the spiteful type but she had every right to be if she wanted to go that way. It was all on Penelope to untangle the damage she did.

J: Same. Colin had every right to be mad, but it would’ve been worse if Eloise told him. Also, love that Colin admits at the end that part of the reason he was mad is that he’s jealous? He’s got a real protective streak and it makes sense that he was annoyed to find out the woman he wanted to protect kinda didn’t need his help as much as he assumed.

A: Underneath Colin’s “Mr. Worldwide” persona is the man who feels like he has to prove something as the third son. He wants to be known for the travel memoirs eventually and Penelope outclassed him in publishing.

J: Extremely relatable to be honest; I would for sure be jealous if I found out my spouse was a secretly famous writer. What did you think about the more public scene where Pen tells everyone she’s Whistledown?

A: There were definitely a lot more people Penelope could have apologized to, but I am glad that the dialogue stressed that she did hurt Marina as that has been a bone of contention for a lot of BIPOC Bridgerton fans.

J: Totally understandable! That was the nastiest thing Penelope did hands down; if a random brother hadn’t turned up, Marina would have had a really horrifying outcome. And sure, some of what Penelope did was to protect Colin, but I think it’s pretty clear that a big chunk of that was pure jealousy.

A: I’m also glad that Penelope also reached out to Eloise because she was also wrong to expose her love affair with Theo even if it was temporary.

J: Speaking of love… thoughts on Francesca and John’s romance? It felt like a lot of subplots to put into one season — I kind of wanted their story to have more room to breathe.

A: Is it bad to say I loved Francesca and John’s wedding more than Penelope and Colin’s?

J: HA well if so, we’re both bad because I actually agree? As a person who had a bigger wedding (which was great! But a lot!) I am pretty enchanted with small ones. More importantly, compared to Penelope and Colin, Fran and John were eager to get married and were excited about their wedding. The trappings don’t mean much if the couple is furious at each other IMO. I will say I loved both dresses a LOT.

A: I loved both dresses but the winning factor for Francesca and John is that Queen Charlotte didn’t crash the party with an MI5 interrogation!

J: LOL. Speaking of that interrogation, love that Benedict wasn’t there because he was too busy having his own major plotline elsewhere. Let me say: it’s about damn time. Like many in the fandom I’ve been hoping that they’d have Benedict explore his sexuality a bit, and it’s really nice to see a pansexual man specifically. Great choice for this to happen during Pride month! To be clear, I am also very excited about the other character who had a similar plotline this season. You wouldn’t think that would need to be said but there’s some real anti-WLW sentiment happening online these days.

A: I agree that it’s impactful during Pride month and also an identity few period dramas have touched upon. For a very long time now I’ve wanted to analyze how period drama fans treat queer male relationships versus queer female/nonbinary ones and it’s very clear that Bridgerton fandom has followed the same toxic pattern of internalized misogynoir and homophobia that exists in other period drama fandoms. The fact that both Bridgerton and Jane Austen/Austen adjacent fandom ignored last year’s The Confessions of Frannie Langton despite people claiming they want diverse and historical recreation stories is a sign that some straight female fans cannot empathize and want happily ever afters for women who are attracted to women.

J: PLEASE do that analysis. I think we both knew it was going to get unpleasant (absolutely wild that after our last discussion went live — and we talked about this a lot then — it felt like there was a deluge of even more really upsetting racism from the fandom) but some of what I’ve seen online has been downright disgusting. One note before we get into this a bit: in order to talk about this we need to kind of spoil what’s likely coming for Francesca’s future season (although I think even without having heard about that book’s plot it was pretty obvious from Francesca’s reaction).

A: It’s on the To Do List! The end of Season 3 surprised book readers quite a bit by teasing a twist on future events. John’s cousin Michaela was a man named Michael in the books. While we all loved John and Francesca’s quiet and neurodivergent affirming romance this season, the book series takes Francesca’s future in a different direction several years after this point in the story. The series teases the future a bit with Francesca’s look of excitement and wonder at Michaela. I must caution that if fans want to look to her book story “When He Was Wicked” for clues, chances are very high Bridgerton’s writers are going to do a heavy revision in the future.

I for one am very excited about Masali Baduza joining the show as Michaela because she was robbed of greatness by the BBC soft canceling her last major series role. In addition, this is a chance for Bridgerton to reverse the trend of sapphic period dramas frequently ending in historical discrimination trauma versus a happy ending. Bridgerton is already deviating from recreating the Regency Era as well as book canon in regards to race and changed storylines. Why not give queer people characters they can identify with too?

I also have to call out once again the racist fans harassing Masali Baduza and Victor Alli, plus Hannah Dodd for defending both of them, on social media. Season 3 has given racists the wrong idea that future Bridgerton siblings are going to marry white people. In fact it’s highly likely we’ll see more South and East Asian and Latine diaspora representation, as well as more Black actors in future seasons.

J: Yes, absolutely; at least I really hope we continue to have more BIPOC love interests for the remaining Bridgerton sibs! I’m also extremely excited to see more of Masali Baduza in the future seasons. I just hope that the production team steps up to protect her (as well as Victor Alli and Hanah Dodd). With social media, actors are now so much less insulated from viewers, and I can’t imagine trying to do my job whilst wading through a torrent of racist attacks. Bridgerton has so much potential here and it’d be a shame if they lose good actors because they need to protect their mental health.

A: Were you disappointed Benedict decided to part ways with Lady Tilley?

J: Honestly no! I liked her, and obviously feel like she introduced an important arc for Benedict, but I never got the impression that she was endgame. One thing I loved about their breakup was that it showcased some healthy communication about what they were individually looking for; that was pretty refreshing to see on screen. What about you? I know there were some fan theories about how she might be tied to his future spouse but I don’t know enough about the books to speculate there.

A: Lady Tilley pretty much represents most of Benedict’s book relationships. I also liked that they clearly communicated their feelings. Many of Book Benedict’s relationships broke up because he wasn’t interested in marriage. I initially believed she was going to introduce Benedict to his future spouse but that didn’t happen. For a while the rumor mill suggested Masali Baduza was going to play Benedict’s spouse but she appeared as Michaela Stirling instead. I hope the delay in the introduction of this storyline means careful reconsideration of the potential pitfalls of the plotlines from his novel “An Offer From A Gentleman”. First of all, there’s a misogynistic plotline that’s completely out of step with the shows’ existing ethos. Secondly, the Cinderella trope is ripe for unintended poor racial optics if a woman of color is his love interest. Thirdly, TV Benedict being pan has to be factored into any rewrites. Who knows, we may get another genderbent love interest or even a transwoman character?

J: I’m excited to find out what direction they’ll take with Benedict. He’s one of my favorites so I’m looking forward to a season focusing on him. And speaking of favorites: we have to talk about the Lady Danbury, Violet, Marcus situation.

A: I’m glad Lady Danbury and Violet’s backstory/present storyline was carried through from Queen Charlotte. Their enduring friendship has been one of the best-continuing storylines in all of Bridgerton. I loved that Season 3 introduced Lady Danbury’s brother and explores what happens when your best friend is interested in someone who is a source of trauma for you. I do want Violet’s garden to be tended, so to speak, but not at the possible expense of her friendship with Lady Danbury.

J: Same. Their friendship is, IMO, one of the best parts of the show, so it was very satisfying that both women put that first.

One of other relationships fans had a lot to say about is of course Kate and Anthony, who I have to say, I really missed this season. Thoughts?

A: I agree with the folks who wished for more Kate and Anthony screentime this season. However, I think it’s a beautiful thing that Anthony is conscious of what it takes to have a successful interracial/intercultural marriage.

J: YES. Totally agree! If you’re going to bring up mixed kids well, it’s absolutely your job to learn about your partner’s culture and make sure your kids have access to that part of their identity! I rewatched season 2 recently and it really stands out how much Kate loves India, so it’s wonderful that they’re going back together. However! I love them and really hope this isn’t the end of Kanthony on our screens :(

A: I know both Simone Ashley and Jonathan Bailey have said in recent interviews Bridgerton comes first in their scheduling. I hope there’s plenty in room for Season 4 for both Kanthony and Polin updates in between the new love story.

J: It’s tough when there are just so many great characters on this show. Maybe Violet and Edmund SHOULD have had fewer kids 😂Real talk though, one of the other characters I loved seeing more of this season was Portia. Her relationship arc with Penelope in the second half was one of my favorite parts — toxic parents don’t often have that kind of arc on TV and it was refreshing to see. She also led the charge on the Featherington baby race, which was a nice spot of levity. This is such a farcical goofy storyline and I don’t even care; I loved it. The part where Phillipa said she hoped her daughter grows up to be a writer was a bit on the nose for me, but it was also cute so I’ll let it slide this time. Will never get over the thing where a tiny baby gets the title and grown adult women aren’t allowed to though, what a mess.

A: Downton Abbey has trained us well for this particular brand of foolishness from the British Gentry! I also liked that Penelope had a chance to stand on her own and undo some of Portia’s more illegal behavior. I cried laughing at the baby versions of Penelope’s citrus flower dresses; those poor baby girls cannot escape! The new Lord Featherington is very cute and already a massive improvement on the previous two.

J: Facts! Speaking of improvement: really nice to keep getting more of the Mondriches. I know some of the fans don’t love their arc, but I think they’re great! That transformer centerpiece at their ball was pretty rad.

A: I was sad that Will Mondrich had to give up the bar but it’s great to see that Alice has fully embraced Lady Danbury’s tutelage to be an influencer in the Ton. Some fans have claimed that the Mondriches took away screentime from Penelope and Colin, however, I’d argue that not only are some of these takes are fueled by racism but are also incredibly shortsighted regarding adapting later Bridgerton books. Class conflict is a huge part of a later Bridgerton sibling romance storyline and the Mondrich storyline is in fact prepping the series for when this plot is introduced.

J: I will say, it’s always wild to me how some characters we’ll keep getting little bits of and some just disappear. Lord Debling vamoosed!

A: I’ve come to expect many of the rival suitors to disappear immediately after the choice is made in romance novels. This is a random observation but the guy who plays Lord Debling legit looks like he could be Samuel West’s cousin. I only noticed it as I was rewatching to prep articles.

J: OH MY GOD. Now I’ll never be able to unsee this?? I’ll tell you what, I know that the second choice people always low key flee the country after the main couple gets together on Bridgerton but I was kinda hoping he’d marry Cressida first so she’d stick around and be messy in town.

A: I was expecting Lord Debling to make Cressida an offer as well. We’ll have to guess Lord Debling doesn’t want any drama from Cressida’s horrid father.

J: Fair enough, TBH.

A: Cressida’s campaign was a mess but given that her father is at Simon’s father’s level of terrible I see why she was motivated to lie.

J: Seriously. And her mom’s not much better? I get that she’s trying to protect herself and Cressida, but the amount of real vitriol coming from Mom Cowper is tough. She didn’t set Cressida up for happiness by encouraging her to isolate herself from other women, for instance.

A: A friend of mine came up with the theory Cressida’s mom liked Edmund Bridgeton back in the day and Violet obviously took that away and I believe it. It’s the only explanation for the level of animosity.

J: Oooh that’s a good theory. I’d buy that, it’d explain a lot. Last question: what are you most excited for in Season 4?

A: I want to see Francesca and John plus Eloise and Michaela having a grand old time away from the Ton in Scotland. I need the nearly a century later and less racially problematic Outlander vibes! Secondly, I hope to see more of Kate and Anthony’s marriage plus Gregory and Hyacinth taking very good care of Newton while Kate and Anthony are away.

J: Same! I also really hope we see more of Violet and Marcus now that Marcus and Lady Danbury have started to repair their relationship. I think we need more middle-aged romances just as much as we need more body diversity, and I would personally really like to see them have some steamy scenes in the future. I’d also like to see more female friendship in this show! The older generation do this well, and I’d like to see some more connections between the younger gals.

A: I agree! I want more of Lady Danbury and Violet’s friendship and possible romances as well. Bridgerton has a great chance to defeat ageism in romance. I also want more of the Mondriches gaining Queen Charlotte’s confidence. I’m hoping Season 4 focuses on Benedict’s storyline as he finds love when he’s not planning to but will also want to see if they focus on Eloise or developing Francesca’s marriage. I’m also curious to see what Penelope will be publishing under her own name. Will someone else take over the anonymous gossip?

We’ll just have to wait to find out! And while we wait, why not check out one of these shows — now streaming on GBH Passport — that might fill the Bridgerton void.

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