‘Bridgerton’: Everything you need to remember before Season 3

Dearest gentle reader, it’s almost time to return to the Ton for another simmering season of courting, crushes, and conniving in Netflix’s Bridgerton.

Having spent the last two seasons pursuing the romantic, deeply horny long-games of the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton, then Kate Sharma and Anthony Bridgerton, and a spinoff season on Queen Charlotte and her beloved King George, Season 3 shifts attention to another leading pair.

This time, based on the fourth book in Julia Quinn’s novel series, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Shondaland and new showrunner Jess Brownell focus on the covert heart of the series, Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan), and her longtime crush Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton).


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But before we get there, what happened again last season and where did everyone end up? We’ve done a quick rundown of everything you need to remember from Season 2 of Bridgerton before you watch Season 3, from the enemies-to-lovers tale of the Viscount and Viscountess to the worst friendship fallout in the Ton, all of which culminated in the gilded Featherington Ball.

Penelope and Eloise’s friendship sits in ruins

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton, walking through a garden in the show "Bridgerton"

BFFs no more.
Credit: Liam Daniel / Netflix

At the end of Season 1, Penelope Featherington was revealed as the secret identity of the Ton’s prolific scandal sheet publisher, Lady Whistledown (voiced by Julie Andrews). But while we’re allowed in on it as viewers, there’s only a few people within the series who know, and by the end of Season 2, unfortunately one is now her greatest friend Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie).

Eloise has been hunting Lady Whistledown’s identity for two seasons, but in Season 2 her enthusiasm made her a target of Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) as her number one suspect. If you remember, the Queen despises the author’s influence and recruited Eloise to find out who they really were in Season 1. In Season 2, Eloise followed the trail to the printing shop used by Whistledown, where she met young printer and covert women’s rights campaigner Theo Sharpe (Calam Lynch), and their romance blossomed. Unfortunately for Eloise, her visits (along with her outspokenness on society) drew the Queen’s suspicions. Eloise swore her innocence to the monarch, but it was no use, as the Queen threatened Eloise and her family with social ruin unless she confessed to being Lady Whistledown.


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With Eloise about to falsely confess with a counterfeit society paper, Penelope took matters into her own hands, writing a scathing blast about her greatest friend’s visits with Theo — “unchaperoned, with improper company, political radicals in fact” — to disprove Eloise’s guilt. The pamphlet diverted the Queen’s wrath but socially ruined Eloise. Suffice to say her romance with Theo crumbled too.

Following this, Penelope rested her pen after being “done ruining the lives of others” through gossip. However, in the Season 2 finale, Eloise figured out her friend’s secret identity when Penelope flexed her keen powers of observation at the Featherington Ball. While Pen danced with Colin, Eloise stole into her friend’s room and discovered her secret stash of money hidden beneath the floorboards (the profits made from her publications) and confronted Penelope, running through the juicy details only Pen would have known about. It’s a horrible fight, with Eloise feeling deeply betrayed, and the two parted on non-speaking terms.

However, Penelope’s fight with Eloise did not obliterate her penchant for writing, as we saw her return to her writing desk at the end of Season 2.

Colin scorned Penelope romantically in public

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, standing in an opulent room in "Bridgerton".

Pen heard what you said, Colin!
Credit: Liam Daniel / Netflix

It’s one of the biggest moments in Bridgerton Season 2 that will be important for Season 3, and honestly, we’re still reeling from it. Penelope has long yearned for the affections of her friend Colin, though has remained firmly in the Regency friend zone — including through Colin’s engagement to Marina Thompson (Ruby Barker) in Season 1. But things seemed slightly flirty in Season 2.

Channelling big “I’ve just returned from my gap year” energy after returning from Greece, Colin strolled around Season 2 with suddenly mature pep in his step. Though he danced often with Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen), he sent Penelope mixed signals, praising her “constant and loyal” personality throughout the season. Penelope’s hopes were high at the Featherington Ball, and when Colin asked Pen to dance, he dropped some big words: “I will always look after you, Penelope. You are special to me.” 

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However, after her fight with Eloise, Penelope stumbled upon Colin speaking about his dance to a group of young men on the terrace. When they questioned him on his intentions with Pen, he scoffed, “Are you mad? I would never dream of courting Penelope Featherington. Not in your wildest dreams.”

NO! NOOOOO. NO. We were all crushed right there with Pen in this scene, and this is where Season 3 will pick up. Perhaps, if there’s forgiveness elsewhere on the horizon, we can still hope for a Peneloise romance?

Kate and Anthony are happily married

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, kissing in the show "Bridgerton"

These two.
Credit: Liam Daniel / Netflix

After the steamy enemies-to-lovers romance between Kate Sharma (Simone Ashley) and Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey), the pair were finally married at the end of Season 2. Remember the Viscount was engaged to Kate’s sister, Edwina (Charithra Chandran), but she absconded from the altar the minute she realised her sister and Anthony were very obviously in love. This pissed off Queen Charlotte for a moment, as she does not like to be wrong about things, and she’d chosen Edwina as her “diamond” of the season.

The Bridgertons and Sharmas were publicly ruined by the scandal, but not for long — and MVP Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) never abandoned them, despite being socially ostracised by association.

At the end of the season, after Anthony and Kate had sex in the garden, Kate galloped off into a storm, fell off her horse, and was badly injured. Anthony was riddled with guilt. However, his mother Viola, Dowager Viscountess Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), helped him embrace his true feelings, speaking to their shared unprocessed grief over Lord Bridgerton’s sudden death years earlier. Anthony proposed at Kate’s bedside, a move she assumed was a “misguided obligation of duty”. Deciding to return to India, she sent him away. 

Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Charithra Chandran as Edwina Sharma, Shelley Conn as Mary Sharma in a bedroom in "Bridgerton"

“Be the sister I know that you are” 😭
Credit: Liam Daniel / Netflix

Edwina and Kate’s sisterly relationship was rattled after the wedding fail, however Edwina’s wisdom and forgiveness helped them through Kate’s guilt. After Edwina gave her sister the major “be the sister I know that you are” pep talk at the Featherington Ball, Anthony and Kate danced together in full view to a string version of “Wrecking Ball”, despite the judgmental stares of the Ton. But Queen Charlotte stepped in to quiet the haters, with Edwina giving her blessing. Both the Bridgertons and the Sharmas are saved from ruin, hurrah!

In the garden, Anthony declared his love for Kate, and she the same, and we left them in newlywed bliss playing croquet on the lawn with the rest of the Bridgertons.

The Featheringtons almost lost it all — again

Rupert Young as Lord Jack Featherington, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Harriet Cains as Philipa Featherington, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Polly Walker as Lady Portia Featherington, standing in a row in the show "Bridgerton"

Lord Jack Featherington almost got away with passing off glass as gemstones.
Credit: Liam Daniel / Netflix

While the Bridgertons and the Sharmas spent much of the end of Season 2 in social ruin, the Featheringtons had clawed their way back from financial destitution after Lord Featherington’s gambling debts saw him murdered in Season 1. Their troubles seemed solved with the arrival of the family’s smarmy cousin Jack (Rupert Young), whose engagement to Prudence Featherington (Bessie Carter) proved one of the ickier pairings in the Ton. The season crescendoed with the family’s opulent Featherington Ball, a grand show of stability and wealth. With the Queen herself in attendance, the Featheringtons were back in the game.

In the season finale, however, at the Featherington Ball, Colin Bridgerton exposed Jack as a charlatan selling fake glass jewels as gemstones. Having previously been interested in investing in the gems, Colin demonstrated the scam by smashing Cressida’s “ruby” necklace into smithereens in front of Penelope, Lady Featherington (Polly Walker), and Jack himself. Out of respect for the Featheringtons, Colin did this dramatic exposé in private, telling Jack to return the money he’d spent on this crooked scheme and to leave town — a move that made Pen fall even harder for her crush.

Rupert Young as Lord Jack Featherington, Polly Walker as Lady Portia Featherington, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in the show "Bridgerton".

Credit: Liam Daniel / Netflix

Jack tried to convince Lady Featherington to leave town with him for America, suggesting a romantic future for the two of them despite his engagement to her daughter (the two had kind of been in cahoots the whole season). But if there’s one thing you shouldn’t come between, it’s Portia and her daughters. Lady Featherington sent Jack packing without a penny and the forged signature promise that once one of her daughters has a son the Featherington estate will transfer to him. Byeeee.

Will had a tough start opening his gentlemen’s club

Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in the show "Bridgerton".

Colin had to eat some humble pie after Will told him so about Jack.
Credit: Liam Daniel / Netflix

What of Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe), the greatest mate of the Duke of Hastings (Regé-Jean Page)? In Season 2, Jack Featherington had also blackmailed his way into holding court in Will’s new bar, after convincing the boxer to throw a match to split the winnings — Will had wanted to provide for his wife Alice (Emma Naomi) and their children. Will had opened a gentlemen’s club that aimed to be a more inclusive alternative to the posh White’s club (IRL it’s the oldest gentlemen’s club in London, founded in 1693). But business was slow and he was indebted to Jack, who wielded it over him.

When Colin got wrapped up in Jack’s dealings, taking a meeting at the bar, Mondrich tried to warn him of Jack’s shady side, but Colin defended him as the head of the Featheringtons. So, at the end of the season, after Jack’s corruption was exposed, Colin ate humble pie with Mondrich and brought all his mates back to his bar, apologising. But as you’ve already read, it’s not all Colin needs to apologise for.

How to watch: Bridgerton Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Netflix. Season 3 will drop in two halves, with Part 1 streaming on May 16 and Part 2 on June 13.