L-R: Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan)

The Way the Lady Whistledown Reveal Worked in Season 3 Is Great, Actually

The looming secret hanging over this season of Bridgerton has been the truth about Lady Whistledown. Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) made it clear that he wanted to see Whistledown answer for her column but he then went and fell in love with Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) without knowing the truth.

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Every time something good happened in their relationship, it was hanging over them like a ticking time bomb and even Eloise (Claudia Jesse) tried to tell Penelope that she needed to be the one to tell Colin. The back and forth over whether he needed to know felt like we were going to have a blow-up of angsty proportions in their relationship and that’s … exactly what happened.

Colin catches Penelope going to the printers, thinking she’s in danger, and her secret is revealed to him in the worst way possible. Instead of Penelope telling her himself, he catches her in the betrayal. Because he is a man of “honor,” he still wants to marry Penelope because they were intimate with each other. But I do think he did so because he still loved Penelope despite learning the truth about her.

How Colin reacted to the reveal could have gone a few ways but I think the reaction we saw is the most justified of them. If he thought it was “fine,” it’d go against everything he had said about Whistledown previously. If he was furious and refused to marry her, I think it would show that he never loved Penelope.

Instead, he had the reaction that someone who had been lied to would have if he still deeply loved the person who lied to him.

Colin Bridgerton was right in how he reacted to the Lady Whistledown reveal

The show could have had Colin be angry with Penelope for that moment only and then had him get over it but instead, we got to see him come to terms with the truth in his own time. Through the last two episodes of the season, Colin has moments of happiness where he forgets what he learned about his wife but then you quickly see him return to this man who is trying to navigate his own feelings. It makes his upset feel even stronger.

So when Colin finally does come around, when he reads Penelope’s old letters to him and sees how Lady Whistledown was always a part of who she is, you understand that this wasn’t a man who just forgave someone quickly. Penelope hurt Colin and, at times, the whole Bridgerton family with her Whistledown persona. It came from a place of love but she still did hurt him and he had to work through that before he could love every part of her again.

What we see in the end of the season is a man who understands the power that she has and he even tells her that she is brave and that he can’t believe someone that brave and talented loves him.

I really loved how Colin came around to accepting Penelope as Lady Whistledown. He struggled with her desire to continue the column and he had to figure out his own feelings on it in his own time. But he never belittled her or acted as if her writing wasn’t important, it was more that Colin wanted to free Penelope from causing “pain” to society.

That the season ends with Penelope writing the column under her own name (including her new last name) and Colin writing his own book just really makes me happy for this couple’s future. It just had to take Colin a minute to get there.

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Rachel Leishman
Rachel Leishman (She/Her) is an Assistant Editor at the Mary Sue. She's been a writer professionally since 2016 but was always obsessed with movies and television and writing about them growing up. A lover of Spider-Man and Wanda Maximoff's biggest defender, she has interests in all things nerdy and a cat named Benjamin Wyatt the cat. If you want to talk classic rock music or all things Harrison Ford, she's your girl but her interests span far and wide. Yes, she knows she looks like Florence Pugh. She has multiple podcasts, normally has opinions on any bit of pop culture, and can tell you can actors entire filmography off the top of her head. Her work at the Mary Sue often includes Star Wars, Marvel, DC, movie reviews, and interviews.