The Featherington sisters and their husbands in Bridgerton season 3

One Cut ‘Bridgerton’ Character Changes One of Season 3’s Best Scenes From the Books

Penelope and Colin’s romance in Bridgerton season 3 is certainly one for the ages. Their relationship is such a wonderful “friends to lovers” pairing—their shared giggle after the carriage scene was everything—and though Bridgerton season 3 feels more like an ensemble show than previous seasons, the majority of Polin’s major book moments are all present and accounted for.

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Penelope reading Colin’s journal without permission, their first kiss, the carriage scene, and the subsequent surprise proposal are all taken straight from Julia Quinn’s original novel, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. The aftermath of the latter, however, will be significantly different in the show than it is in the book, and though this change is understandable, it’s still a shame. Penelope and Colin’s first engagement announcement is one of my favorite scenes in the novel, and one missing character is the reason why.

The missing Featherington sister

In the Bridgerton novels, there are actually four Featherington sisters. Penelope, Philippa, and Prudence have a younger sister, Felicity. Unlike the other Featherington girls, Felicity is considered a catch in the eyes of polite society, and their mother, Portia, has been pushing for Felicity to make a good match, as she generally believes that Penelope’s chance of finding a husband has long since passed, much like in the show.

After Penelope and Colin have their passionate tryst in the carriage, and Colin asks her to marry him, they head to the Featherington house rather than the Bridgerton’s. There, much to Penelope’s dismay, they interrupt the weekly Featherington family meeting. Every Featherington and their significant other is in attendance, and though Colin is surprised at first, he is not to be deterred. Intent on asking Portia for her daughter’s hand in marriage, the rest of the family leave the room one by one, but not before a hilarious back-and-forth ensues between the Featherington sisters and their mother. Portia, of course, believes that Colin wants to ask for Felicity’s hand in marriage, and tries to get Penelope to leave; all the while, Colin’s incredulity simmers beneath the surface, until he finally confronts Portia and defends Penelope with every bone in his body.

It’s all very gallant and romantic, but without Felicity’s presence, there’s no true reason this scene needs to happen in the show. Portia’s other daughters are already married, and though she may be shocked initially, there can be no doubt that Colin intends to marry Penelope rather than someone else. If anything, Portia will be gleefully delighted.

As a result, Colin and Penelope will announce their engagement to the Bridgerton family first—their carriage ride ends in front of Bridgerton House rather than on the other side of the square. But Colin won’t need to defend Penelope in front of his family. Aside from Eloise, the Bridgerton clan is generally quite fond of Penelope, and they’ll quickly realize these two are a love match, just as Violet has always wanted for all her children. Obviously, the imminent Lady Whistledown reveal may change everything, but crucially, in that book scene, Colin has just found out about Penelope’s alter ego. Still, he defends her vehemently in front of her mother. Will he do the same now that the story and the reveal have been restructured? It’s hard to say.

Felicity is Penelope’s only Featherington ally

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

However, Felicity’s absence from the show doesn’t merely change that one scene. It also significantly changes how Penelope sees herself and her role within the Featherington family. In the show, the other Featheringtons are used as comedic relief, and as foils for Penelope. In the book, Felicity is Penelope’s biggest supporter alongside Eloise and later Colin. She values her sister and sees her potential in a way their mother never did. In the scene in Featherington House, Felicity is the first to realize that Colin intends to ask for Penelope’s hand and does everything she can to leave the room, despite her mother’s ludicrous insistence that Colin wants to court Felicity.

In Bridgerton season 3, Penelope has been left completely alone—Felicity doesn’t exist, and she and Eloise have had a major falling out. Colin is really her only friend, and while that certainly adds an extra dimension to their romance, it also gives Penelope slightly less agency. Who is she outside of her relationship with Colin and Lady Whistledown? We don’t see as much of that this season.

Penelope’s story isn’t the only one affected by Felicity’s absence, though. In the books, Felicity and Hyacinth Bridgerton, the youngest Bridgerton sibling, are good friends, too. So far, in the Netflix show, Hyacinth has had a limited role—having someone Hyacinth could interact with outside of her immediate family would have been an interesting, fun, and relatively effortless way to introduce another side to her character. Without Felicity, however, someone else will need to fill that void. Except for Eloise, most of the Bridgerton daughters have had a startlingly sad lack of friendships. Hopefully, even without Felicity’s presence, Bridgerton will still be able to include more platonic female relationships in the long run.

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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.