Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton and Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton season 3

‘Bridgerton’s Season 3 Romance Is Going to Woo Us All With the Most Underrated Trope

Romance has never been hotter. The genre has exploded in literary circles since the advent of BookTok, and shows like Bridgerton have only added fuel to the fire. And really, who doesn’t love the promise of a Happily Ever After? We just want to see true love prevail.

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Thankfully, Bridgerton season 3 is right around the corner, and with it comes the promise of Colin and Penelope’s long-awaited courtship. Penelope has been pining for Colin for years, but the poor boy has been painfully oblivious—until now. Bridgerton is about to give us one of the romance genre’s most underrated yet deliciously swoon-worthy tropes, and I can’t wait.

This time around, it’s all about “friends to lovers.”

Now, romance as a narrative genre is built on tropes, and there are so many wonderful ones to choose from. “Fake dating” was covered in Bridgerton season 1. “Enemies to lovers” was explored in season 2. There’s “forced proximity,” “love at first sight,” “forbidden romance,” and even the all-encompassing “love triangle,” which was also explored in Bridgerton season 2. All of these tropes have their own merits—fake dating and enemies to lovers are especially popular, and it’s no wonder why. There is just so much to experiment with within these age-old tropes. The character dynamics, the slow burn, and the physical tension are all to die for.

In comparison, friends to lovers is often looked down upon—you might even say it’s severely underrated. Some believe that all the romantic tension is taken out of the story when two people are already friends and know each other better than they know themselves, and they may have a point. But I would argue that the actual stakes are never higher than in a friends-to-lovers story. There is just so much these characters stand to lose if they give in to their feelings, and the nervous energy that comes with that knowledge is second to none.

What if the other person doesn’t feel the same way, and your relationship is damaged beyond repair? What if neither ever chooses to confess, and they become stuck in an endless loop of yearning and stolen glances, never able to move on? Every look, every touch becomes a question. Every interaction has a hidden meaning.

Just look at this sneak peek that Netflix recently released. The eye contact is sublime, but it’s the moment they both realize that the energy in the room has shifted that does it for me. Colin, especially, is shaken by Penelope’s words and the effect they have on him. That kind of squirrelly surprise is unique to the friends-to-lovers trope, and it’s what makes it absolutely worthwhile.

Penelope is risking everything. She’s been in love with Colin for years, but given her shaky relationship with his sister Eloise and with her Lady Whistledown side hustle on the line, she might have to force herself to move on from Colin once and for all—just as he begins to suspect that he might have feelings for Penelope, too. Those of us who have read the Bridgerton books know that all this anxiety and tension comes to a head during a certain steamy carriage ride, but it’s Colin’s revelation that I’m looking forward to the most, that moment when he finally realizes why he’s feeling jealous whenever he sees Penelope talking to a suitor.

We—and Lady Crane—know that these two are meant for each other. Now, they just have to finally figure it out for themselves.

(featured image: Netflix)


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El Kuiper
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.