Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3, part 2

I Genuinely Believe a Two-Year Time Jump in ‘Bridgerton’ Season 4 Can Work

We’ve now seen Bridgerton season 3 in its entirety, and yet we are still no closer to knowing which Bridgerton sibling has been tapped to lead season 4.

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**Contains spoilers for Bridgerton season 3, part 2 and the Bridgerton books**

Will it be Benedict, who was originally expected to lead season 3, and whose character is now ripe for more development as he explores his sexuality and his reluctance to settle down? Will it be Eloise, who fears being left behind as everyone she knows and loves partners up for life? Or will it be Francesca, this season’s dark horse, whose second love story has been so perfectly set up in Bridgerton’s season 3 finale?

It’s hard to say. At this point, it could literally be any of them.

Those who know me, and those who have read my previous articles about Bridgerton, will know that I want it to be Benedict. He’s been my favorite since the very beginning, and season 3 gave us the last piece of his puzzle. With the Lady Whistledown drama resolved, and with four of his seven siblings now officially married, Benedict is, in my humble opinion, ready for the spotlight that comes with being a leading man.

I want to see him find his creative spark again, I want to see him explore his newfound “freedom” further, and I want to see him realize that he does want love, he just needs to meet the right person. The final episode of Bridgerton season 3 did tease his first meeting with his future love interest by mentioning his mother’s masquerade ball, so it’s definitely still possible.

There’s just one problem.

What about the time jump in Benedict’s story?

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.

Though Bridgerton has changed plenty of story beats from Julia Quinn’s original Bridgerton novels, one major narrative device should be kept in the show. In Benedict’s story, An Offer From a Gentleman, Benedict meets Sophie Beckett at a masquerade ball. He dancers with her, and they have the best night of their lives together, but before he can find out who she is, the clock strikes midnight, and she’s forced to run home, doomed to serve her wicked stepmother for the rest of her days.

Yes, An Offer From a Gentleman is essentially a Cinderella retelling.

Crucially, though, Benedict and Sophie don’t meet again until two years after that fateful night. Sophie is now working as a maid in another household, and Benedict saves her from a violent partygoer. He doesn’t know she’s the one he danced with all those nights ago, and Sophie doesn’t tell him, either. Of course, they grow to love one another, Benedict discovers who she really is, and after a few more earth-shattering reveals, they end up living together, happily ever after.

Now, so far, Bridgerton hasn’t included as many major time jumps as the books have. Penelope and Colin’s original story, for instance, also takes place several years later than what we see in the show. For their story, it didn’t matter much, but I do think that a two-year time jump is essential to Benedict and Sophie’s romance. It gives them both more time to grow before they’re truly ready for one another, and the yearning that it brings forth certainly doesn’t hurt, either.

So what can the show do? Normally speaking, I’d be wary of including a two-year time jump within a single season. It could potentially make the story feel rushed and make the audience feel as though they’ve missed out on a crucial aspect of the characters’ journeys. I’m not sure that’s the case here, though. I actually think that, if Bridgerton wants to make Benedict its season 4 lead, the time jump could work in the show’s favor.

The first episode could cover Benedict’s independence and his experiences outside of the boundaries of the Ton in the wake of his breakup with Lady Arnold. At the same time, it could introduce Sophie’s unfortunate circumstances too, culminating in the masquerade ball that will change both their lives forever. The second episode would then take place two years later, and voilà! Their story can begin in earnest.

Not only would this give Bridgerton’s second son his well-deserved season, but it would also benefit both Eloise’s and Francesca’s stories.

In the show, Eloise has often turned her nose up at the idea of marriage, preferring to remain independent and free-thinking. In her book, however, once Penelope and Colin (and Benedict, of course) are married, she begins to feel lonely, like she’s been left behind. She’s not there yet, though. Her time in Scotland with Francesca is exactly what she needs right now. With a new place to discover and time away from the pressures of society—and Colin and Penelope’s in-your-face love—it’s unlikely Eloise will feel like she’s been left behind already. That requires more time, and since she’s so wonderfully close to Benedict in the show, it would make more sense for her to begin to feel that way once the sibling who is most like her is finally paired up as well.

Francesca’s story, too, would benefit from this two-year jump. In her story, Francesca is happily married to John until he tragically passes away. Her second love interest was also introduced this season, though—Michael Stirling has become Michaela Stirling, setting up Francesca’s second-chance narrative. But John and Francesca’s dynamic was so wonderful this season, and Francesca’s story will only be deeper and more meaningful the more time she gets with John. The two-year jump in Benedict’s story could offer them that time.

Of course, at the moment, this is all just speculation. But now that Lady Whistledown has been revealed, the show has much more freedom to play around with its structure. Why not use that new freedom to tell Benedict’s story next?

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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.