Bridgerton Makes Friendship And Self-Love The Heart Of Season 3

Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 308 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 308 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

Bridgerton's third season may have focused on the romance between Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington, but, ultimately, Colin was not Penelope's most exciting relationship of the season. Instead, that went to how season three crafted Penelope's arc around the broken friendship she has with Eloise and her development into understanding what it means to love herself.

In the aftermath of discovering Penelope was Lady Whistledown, Eloise finds herself heartbroken and betrayed that not only had her best friend been lying to her, but that she was responsible for writing about Eloise's exploits.

When Colin returns home, he is understandably confused about how Eloise and Penelope, who had been so close, were not on speaking terms, and Colin and Penelope's love story unfolds as Colin remains blissfully ignorant that the woman he is falling in love with, and the author he despises, are the same person.

But, while there is certainly excitement to wondering how Colin will react to the news, the second half of season three leans harder into slowly growing Penelope and Eloise back together as conflicting allies.

As the only two who know the secret, Penelope and Eloise are placed in situations where they need to converse about how this secret could impact Colin, especially with Queen Charlotte growing more curious by the day to unmask Lady Whistledown.

Bridgerton relies on Penelope's history and shared secret with Eloise to ground the season more than anything. While Penelope and Colin's romance is at the forefront of the season, there are far more questions that circle about whether Penelope and Eloise will come back together as friends.

When circumstances force Eloise and Penelope to work together, Bridgerton's third season finally allows the joy of their relationship to play into the narrative in a way that helps elevate Penelope's happiness as the season's female lead, as Bridgerton acknowledges that while Colin does play a big role in Penelope's happiness, he is not the only one who matters.

One's romantic partner is not the only one who can bring joy to their lives, and Bridgerton addressing that Penelope and Eloise can tear each other down and build each other back up, is an important part of referencing that romance is not the only type of love story there is.

However, Penelope also has a big love story with herself in season three. Throughout the first two seasons, Bridgerton acknowledged that Penelope, as a wallflower, tended to feel overlooked, ignored, and invisible at social gatherings. To feel like a greater part of society, Penelope created Lady Whistledown, and gained a sense of power she never held before.

But in season three, Penelope understands how to love herself as Penelope rather than hiding behind an alias. In this case, it is spending time with Colin that not only grows their romance but also helps Penelope grow into her own confidence in what it means to step forward rather than clinging to the wall.

Bridgerton spends time discussing the future expectations for men versus women, where a woman's role is to support her husband's dreams while the man does whatever he pleases. However, women want more out of life than a man, and Bridgerton, which has always acknowledged this through Eloise, gets a chance of giving it a voice through Penelope.

Penelope has her own success through her role as Lady Whistledown. She has gotten a taste of power and seen how her words impact and influence others. She wants a role in life where she can participate rather than go on as a bystander. Lady Whistledown has given her that.

For Penelope, season three spends a lot of time devoted to a sense of showing her embrace herself for who she is. This season is about her taking steps forward in her life and transforming into the woman she has always had the potential to be.

Love stories did steal the show this season, they were just not the romances that Bridgerton made the main focus.

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