Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3, slouching in a chair and holing some playing cards. There are drinks on the table in front of him.
(Netflix)

Benedict Deserves a Better Storyline in ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3

Ah, Benedict Bridgerton. The second son, the artist, the poet, the loveable goofball. I won’t lie to you—I am hoping and praying that his leading man season is coming up next. Benedict has been my favorite from the very beginning, and I want to watch him fall in love. He deserves it! We deserve it! I was so excited to see how he’d charm us all this social season.

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Before Bridgerton season 3 was released, the series’ new showrunner, Jess Brownell, assured us all that Benedict would have a “vital part” in Penelope and Colin’s installment during an exclusive interview with Variety. I believed her. I thought he’d be trying to make it on his own as an artist after finding out his brother bribed the Royal Academy of Art, I thought he’d become a confidant for Colin while Anthony was wrapped up in his new wife, and I hoped that he’d share more wonderfully heartwarming sibling moments with Eloise as she tried to move on from her friendship with Penelope. I was ready to see him become a version of himself who would be open to falling in love next season.

And yet, so far, none of that has happened. Instead, Benedict has been relegated to the sidelines once again, afraid of the Ton’s mamas, and dropped into an affair with an admittedly gorgeous and compelling widow. My question is, why? Why is this Benedict’s story? If the writers wanted to establish him as a so-called “rake,” the series had already accomplished that in the show’s previous outings. He had a threesome with Madame Delacroix and Henry Granville’s wife in season 1, he continued that affair with Madame Delacroix afterward, and he had a sexy fling with the model from his art class in season 2. We know what Benedict is capable of. We know he’s attracted to strong, interesting, and independent women. That much is already clear.

I want to know more about him outside of his interest in women. And what about his potential interest in men? If there was ever a season in which to explore that hypothetical side of his character, one that many fans have picked up on and theorized about since Bridgerton season 1, it’s this one.

Clearly, they’re trying to capitalize on Luke Thompson’s innate charm. Let’s be honest, he has chemistry with everyone he looks at on screen. I get it. But there is so much more to this version of Benedict than meets the eye, and the show isn’t letting him shine.

What about Benedict’s responsibilities? What about his art?

Hannah New as Lady Tilley Arnold and Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3
(Netflix)

One thing the first season of Bridgerton did a great job of highlighting was Benedict’s hesitancy to take on serious responsibility. As the second son, he’d never needed to worry about that, until his elder brother challenged someone to a duel and nearly got himself killed. You could see it on his face as he spoke to Anthony on that field—Benedict knew he would have to step up, but he was terrified to do so. He had his own interests to pursue. He knew, to some extent, what he wanted his future to look like, and he wasn’t ready to give that up.

Thankfully, in season 2, he was given the chance to explore that future at the Royal Academy of Art. Though he eventually let that position go due to Anthony’s well-meaning meddling, he discovered, without a doubt, that he loved to paint. That was the future he wanted. His fears and his hopes are a big part of his character, and yet those two essential themes are nowhere to be found in Bridgerton season 3.

In Bridgerton season 3, episode 1, “Out of the Shadows,” Anthony made a throwaway comment about Benedict’s handling of the family’s estate while Anthony was away on his honeymoon. Interestingly enough, Anthony praised his brother’s administrative talents, and Benedict admitted that he felt somewhat lost without the job, lamenting that he no longer felt like he had a “purpose.” That’s an interesting development for his character. This man used to be afraid of what it would mean for him should Anthony die at gunpoint, and now, suddenly, he says he wants more responsibility. Where did that change come from? What does he feel like he is missing in his life? Instead of expanding upon this point further, the series seems to forget he ever mentioned this. Why didn’t we get to see Benedict in this role at all, especially after Anthony and Kate left to go on an extended honeymoon?

Then there’s his art. Somehow, in the first half of Bridgerton season 3, we haven’t seen him pick up a pencil. We haven’t even heard him mention his artistic pursuits. What happened? Sure, Anthony’s bribery would have understandably made him doubt his abilities, but to give up altogether? That feels off for his character. If the writers want to make it clear that meeting the love of his life next season is what it will take for him to be creatively inspired again, then sure, have at it. At the moment, however, it feels hollow, like that passionate side of him is an afterthought rather than an intrinsic part of his character.

I recognize that we’ve only seen the first four episodes of Bridgerton season 3. Benedict might be given more room to grow in the second half of the season. But with the Lady Whistledown reveal imminent, and Pen and Colin’s romance (rightfully) taking up most of the season’s screen time—along with a dozen other unrelated yet interesting storylines—I’m not sure Benedict is going to be given the attention that he deserves.


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El (she/her) is The Mary Sue's U.K. editor and has been working as a freelance entertainment journalist for over two years, ever since she completed her Ph.D. in Creative Writing. El's primary focus is television and movie coverage for The Mary Sue, including British TV (she's seen every episode of Midsomer Murders ever made) and franchises like Marvel and Pokémon. As much as she enjoys analyzing other people's stories, her biggest dream is to one day publish an original fantasy novel of her own.