Bridgerton Season 3 Review: A Sweet, Familiar Romance in Regency Splendor

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in episode 302 of Bridgerton. LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

“Bridgerton,” Netflix’s Regency-era romance, returns for its third season, diving deeper into the lives and loves of the Bridgerton family. While the series continues to deliver on its well-loved formula, this latest installment occasionally feels more comfortable than groundbreaking.

Overview

CategoryDetails
AirdateThursday, May 16 (Netflix)
ShowrunnerJess Brownell
Main CastNicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Claudia Jessie, Adjoa Andoh, Golda Rosheuvel, Jessica Madsen, Jonathan Bailey, Simone Ashley, Polly Walker, Hannah Dodd, Martins Imhangbe, Ruth Gemmell, Luke Thompson, Victor Alli, Julie Andrews
CreatorChris Van Dusen
GenrePeriod Drama, Romance

Plot Summary

This season spotlights Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton). Penelope, a wallflower concealing her identity as the scandalous columnist Lady Whistledown, finally decides to pursue a husband, just as Colin returns from his European tour. The narrative unfolds with Penelope navigating her romantic feelings for Colin while maintaining her secret identity.

Character Development

Penelope Featherington

Penelope, the shy yet sharp-witted writer, undergoes significant development. This season, she transforms from a background character into a leading lady, juggling her secret identity and newfound romantic pursuits.

Colin Bridgerton

Colin returns more dashing and confident than ever, but his character feels somewhat one-dimensional compared to Penelope. His journey from friend to lover is slow, making the viewer occasionally root for Penelope’s alternative suitor, Lord Debling (Sam Phillips).

Highlights

AspectDetails
Costume DesignJohn Glazer’s creations shine, making Penelope look more fairy-tale princess than historical figure.
Stealth and ScandalThe show delves into the intricacies of Penelope’s double life as Lady Whistledown.
Romantic TensionCoughlan and Newton share tender, steamy moments that convincingly portray their budding romance.

Strengths

  • Visual Splendor: The series continues to captivate with its lavish costumes, opulent settings, and intricate period details.
  • Character Chemistry: The palpable chemistry between Penelope and Colin keeps viewers invested in their slow-burning romance.
  • Engaging Subplots: Side stories, especially the rekindling friendship between Penelope and Eloise (Claudia Jessie), add depth and emotional resonance.

Weaknesses

  • Predictable Plot: The season’s narrative arc feels more familiar and less thrilling, with few surprises to keep long-time viewers on edge.
  • One-Dimensional Characters: Colin’s character lacks the depth and complexity seen in Penelope, making the romance feel uneven at times.
  • Stagnant Subplots: Certain subplots, particularly Benedict’s (Luke Thompson) aimless escapades, do little to advance the story or add meaningful content.

Detailed Character Interactions

CharacterInteraction
Penelope & ColinTheir evolving relationship is sweet but slow-paced, with Colin’s late realization of his feelings creating tension.
Penelope & EloiseTheir strained friendship, affected by Penelope’s secret, provides some of the most poignant moments of the season.

Conclusion

While “Bridgerton” Season 3 might lack the initial giddiness of its predecessors, it still offers plenty of charm and romance. The familiar formula, while comforting, sometimes borders on predictable. However, the season’s strong visual appeal, engaging main storyline, and touching subplots ensure it remains a delightful watch for fans.

Overall Rating: ★★★★☆

Verdict: “Bridgerton” Season 3 continues to enchant with its romantic escapades and Regency splendor, even if it occasionally feels more familiar than fresh.

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