Bridgerton Season 3 Finale Review: Two Weddings and a Butterfly Ball Close Out This Chapter of Delights


It can’t be over already!

This season’s final episodes covered a dizzying amount of ground as betrayals and juicy reveals stacked up and threatened to leave no way out for both of our Lady Whistledowns and most of their gentle readers.

It was often ridiculous and thoroughly enjoyable.

Colin Continues to Evolve

Colin’s discovery of Pen’s secret was a miracle of succinct heartbreak.

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It was the first of many scenes where our hero spilled what can only be described as the handsomest of tears.

Colin in Cravat - Bridgerton S03

Luke Newton completely embodied Colin’s emotional journey as the well-traveled Bridgerton who discovered he still had room to grow as a man.

He’s cultivated a smooth persona that operates at a bit of a distance, so it’s refreshing to watch that crumble as conflicts with his family and Pen bring out his more passionate instincts.

Eloise’s betrayal especially cracks his defenses.

Colin: How long have you known? I saw you leaving a private room with Penelope last night shortly before I found her.
Eloise: I had been trying to make her tell you.
Colin: You should’ve told me yourself.
Eloise: And you should’ve told me you were in love with my best friend before you tripped into the drawing room engaged!

Colin has always leaned toward forgiveness, especially with Marina and Lady Featherington in the past.

Eloise has hurt him, but he recognizes how his actions have affected others.

Eloise Impassioned Vertical - Bridgerton S03

Extra Whistledown, Read All About It

The double edition of Whistledown was a delight, and Cressida’s voiceover just added to the cruelty of her issue’s extended jabs at the Bridgerton family.

It was startling when Pen’s edition of Whistledown featured equally sharp barbs for other ton members — had she really been this vicious in print all along?

Related: Bridgerton Season Premiere Review: Can Polin’s Engagement Survive Cressida Cowper?

This gave Pen’s character a bit more shading, suggesting the true depth of loneliness that made her start writing Whistledown in the first place.

What was truly surprising about Cressida’s edition (aside from the suggestion that with so many Bridgerton siblings, not all could be legitimate) was how well-written it was.

Cressida Cowper Red Dress Vertical - Bridgerton S03

It was, therefore, a bit of a relief (or disappointment?) to find that Lady Cowper had sharpened her quill to help out her daughter and bring the Bridgertons down a peg at the same time.

This set up a potential redemption arc for Cressida that I was secretly hoping for, but it was not to be.

It was good that the series continued to give our vertically-coiffed villainess a sympathetic backstory and opportunities to change.

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But it was almost a bait and switch to watch Cressida come so close to becoming a decent person and then blow it all up by choosing blackmail.

Benedict Makes Some Friends

Tilley & Mr. Suarez Vertical - Bridgerton S03

Benedict’s activities this season were noteworthy, but compared to the other characters, they felt like they were in the background.

His new paramour Tilley seemed like she’d lead him into trouble, and to a certain extent, she did — by expanding his horizons.

After encouraging the Mondrichs to make their own rules all season, Benedict finally followed his own advice and embraced freeing himself from society’s strictures.

We will see how that plays out next season since he sealed his fate by telling Tilley he doesn’t want a committed relationship.

Characters make plans, and Shonda Rhimes laughs.

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But I do hope that Mr. Suarez will reappear at some point next season. I loved his central casting Lord Byron vibe and his chemistry with Benedict.

Benedict in Black Jacket Vertical - Bridgerton S03

Dampened Wedding Enthusiasm

It was hard to watch Colin and Penelope’s visible discord as they toured the wedding breakfast venue with their mothers.

The terse conversation they had while looking straight ahead had shades of the Duke and Daphne’s marital negotiations in Season 1.

Penelope: What will this marriage be?
Colin: That depends. I noticed there was no Whistledown this morning. Are you going to stop publishing?
Penelope: I… I do not know.
Colin: Let us get through this wedding and then we will decide what this marriage will be.

The mamas Bridgerton and Featherington took notice, but in an uncharacteristic move, they did not interfere.

At first, this didn’t make an impression, something I chalked up to the distractions of the wedding and their other children.

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But this was a huge moment for both women, one that snuck in under my radar.

They are loosening control of their children and themselves, all for the better.

Francesca & Lord Kilmartin Vertical - Bridgerton S03

Even the Architecture Experienced Growth

The breakneck pace of these final episodes still offered time to appreciate the grandeur of the characters’ settings. 

It’s not like we haven’t seen jaw-dropping ballrooms and gardens in this series before, even earlier this season.

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However, a few scenes were shot with a backstage pass sense of intimacy, such as when Colin returned home late to hear voices that turned out to be Kanthony.

The camera followed Colin upstairs, looking over his shoulder, which was much different from the usual setup, where we see characters disappear at the top of the stairs and then cut to them in the drawing room.

Francesca Bridgerton Vertical

Here, the mystery of the muffled voices is amped up as we are right there with Colin in a darkened hallway maze and come upon a half-closed door.

It was a great choice that rewarded loyal viewers with an almost “family-only” view of the familiar Bridgerton home.

Related: Bridgerton Recap: Midseason Wraps Up With A Deliciously Slow Build of Tension

The Featherington sisters’ ballroom was also a wonder, especially the reveal of the “bugs,” aka butterflies.

Unfortunately, the dialogue didn’t match the surroundings in this scene.

Penelope Saves Herself

Penelope Curled Hair Vertical - Bridgerton S03

The most satisfying development in these last episodes was how the bond between Colin and Pen changed and deepened.

The scene on the deserted street outside Madame Delacroix’s shop was gorgeously shot and acted.

Using the step so Pen could look Colin in the eye when she spoke and the reversal when he took back the “high ground” by getting on the step himself underscored where each of them was in the argument.

And, of course, there was some welcome making-out in an otherwise chaste pair of episodes.

The most affecting part was Colin asking why Pen needed him, if not to save her.

Colin Pink Sugar Headshot Vertical - Bridgerton

This came back in the final ballroom scene when Pen offered him an annulment, and Colin declared himself.

It’s everything Pen (and just about anyone) wants to hear, but it’s almost too much of an about-face compared to Colin’s recent struggles with reconciling the persona of Whistledown with that of his new wife.

Related: Bridgerton Season 3 Recap: A Crowded Dance Card of Potential Couples

However, it does make sense in retrospect when you think of how Cressida’s blackmail attempt (and Colin’s making that situation worse) brought Colin and Penelope back together as partners.

Colin: But I do know this. Miss Cowper still hangs over us. And as long as you live with this secret… there will always be something between us.
Penelope: I know. Perhaps that is the key.

It’s still a bit too big of a bow for this season’s wrap-up that already strained credulity with the Queen’s appearance and judgment of Pen.

Happy (and Not) Ever Afters

Other plot points hastily dispatched were Lady Danbury mending fences with her brother (yay), blessing his courtship of Violet (YAY), and putting to rest any ire between them from her affair with Violet’s father (whew).

Lady Violet Bridgerton Vertical

Lady Featherington’s solicitor troubles were quickly resolved (fingers crossed) by the reveal of Pen’s writing money, and our dear not-so-gentle reader Cressida was banished to Wales.

But this season’s most significant and happiest resolution was Eloise and Pen becoming friends again. It happened at a slow, believable pace and involved an appropriate amount of groveling on Pen’s side. Huzzah!!

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There were enough events that the space afforded by another episode or two would have been welcome.

But of course, I ultimately loved everything about this end of the season, even the epilogue with three babies, one book, and a re-branding of Lady Whistledown.

How did the end of Season 3 measure up for you? Let us know!

Paullette Gaudet is a staff writer for TV Fanatic. You can follow her on X.

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