Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton season 3
(Netflix)

That ‘Bridgerton’ Mid-Season Cliffhanger Has Us Screaming

The way I jumped from my couch when the screen cut to black.

From the moment it was announced that the third season of Bridgerton would be split into two parts rather than release all eight episodes at once like the previous two seasons, I think we all realized that the mid-season cliffhanger would be explosive. And boy oh boy were we right.

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*** Spoilers ahead for the ending of the fourth episode of Bridgerton season 3, so be warned if you still aren’t caught up. ***

The fourth episode of the oh-so-anticipated third season of Bridgerton—I don’t know about you but I was personally marking down the days on my calendar with an ever-growing frenzy—is the perfect culmination of the little circus Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin (Luke Newton) have been carrying on ever since this season’s first episode—and, arguably, ever since they first met when they were teenagers.

Penelope realizes that she must marry in order to escape being dependent on one of her sisters in the future, and a newly charming Colin offers to teach her how to best attract a suitor when her incredible new look doesn’t give her the desired results. Cue the loudest clown music you’ve ever heard, with Penelope actually catching the eye of the aloof but kind Lord Debling (Sam Phillips) and Colin growing more and more jealous as he realizes that he is indeed head over heels in love with Penelope and has probably been for years. 

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Sam Phillips as Lord Debling in Bridgerton season 3
Poor Lord Debling—he’s not a bad man but he’s no Bridgerton, I guess (Netflix)

And in episode four, “Old Friends,” all those storytelling threads come together. Lord Debling intends to propose to Penelope, after making it clear that their match will be based on deep mutual respect and fondness but not love, but that’s when Colin interrupts them—sweeping Penelope away on the dance floor to tell her that she can’t marry Debling. 

Penelope tells Colin to stay in his place but Debling is not exactly a fool and he finally sees the tempestuous feelings that bind the two together, so he rescinds his proposal without ever actually speaking it out loud. And when a defeated—and rightfully very angry—Penelope leaves the soirée to go home, Colin chases after her carriage like the best of romantic heroes. This really is the stuff period dramas are made for.

By now I’m sure everyone was on the edge of their seat because if there’s one thing to know about Polin it’s that the infamous Carriage Scene™ is a pivotal part of their novel, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. And the show did definitely deliver on it, especially because of the incredible chemistry between Coughlan and Newton. The complete unhingedness on Colin’s face when Penelope passes her hand through his hair will haunt me forever. The string quartet version of “Give Me Everything” barely peeking through and then exploding when they kiss. What else can I say except perfection.

Colin Bridgerton all glowed up for his turn to lead a Bridgerton season
He’s really amping up that Bridgerton feralness like Anthony did last season, huh? (Netflix)

And when the carriage stops right in front of Bridgerton House and the two snap out of their own little bubble, Colin hits us with one of his most iconic lines in Romancing Mister Bridgerton. He exits the carriage, holds his hand out for a confused Penelope, and says: “For God’s sake, Penelope Featherington, are you going to marry me or not?” And that’s when the season cuts off. Cue the screaming.

So what is in store for Penelope and Colin in the second part of the season?

With a finale like that, I know the month that separates us from the release of the second half of the season—which is scheduled for June 16—will seem incredibly long. Still, we can fill that time by rewatching our favorite scenes from these first four episodes all over again and also with some good old speculation as to what is in store for us come June.

The answer, after all, is pretty easy—even without having read Romancing Mister Bridgerton, it’s clear that the main conflict Penelope and Colin will have to go through is when Colin will inevitably find out that Lady Whistledown, the queen of gossip who has more than once put his own family in the spotlight for the ridicule of the entire ton, is the woman he’s about to marry or that he has just married, depending on how the show timeline will go.

penelope featherington lady whistledown bridgerton
The secret is bound to come out more sooner than later (Netflix)

We don’t know yet how this discovery will happen or whether it will be a discovery or maybe a reveal, but it’s sure to bring a hefty dose of pathos and drama, which is just what we need before the season’s happy conclusion—following the same pattern from the two previous Bridgerton seasons.

(featured image: Netflix)


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Author
Benedetta Geddo
Benedetta (she/her) lives in Italy and has been writing about pop culture and entertainment since 2015. She has considered being in fandom a defining character trait since she was in middle school and wasn't old enough to read the fanfiction she was definitely reading and loves dragons, complex magic systems, unhinged female characters, tragic villains and good queer representation. You’ll find her covering everything genre fiction, especially if it’s fantasy-adjacent and even more especially if it’s about ASOIAF. In this Bangtan Sonyeondan sh*t for life.