Bridgerton-Tick Tock, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, Joining of Hands, Into the Light-Review: A Time to Swoon

Spoilers

Was splitting Bridgerton season three into two parts a good idea? Viewers had four weeks to float theories, pick apart characters, and grow impatient with anticipation. The gamble worked, and absence definitely made the heart grow fonder. 

Part one took its time setting up the scenarios and generally felt overstuffed, but that meant that part two started like a barreling train and didn’t let up until the very end. Part two also captures everything that made that first season of Bridgerton so successful—the beautiful costumes, string versions of popular music as needle drops, attractive people in impossibly romantic situations, and the occasional treatise on the importance of female friendships. If part one had a theme of pursuing and defining kindness, then part two is all about truth. 
Starting where part one left off, Colin and Penelope have discovered that they are both ready to move out of the friend zone, and their easygoing chemistry makes this development feel natural. Colin is protective of Penelope and finally sees how she’s been treated all her life—invisible and dismissed. He shines when defending Penelope to her mother. Forget the winking and hand kissing from part one; Colin ready to throw down to protect Penelope is swoonworthy. He’s all in. Snarky, romantic Colin is the best Colin. 

“Tick Tock”- BRIDGERTON, Pictured: Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton, Victor Alli as John Stirling, Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury, Ruth Gemmell as Lady Violet Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix ©2024 Netflix. All Rights Reserved


As a nod to the books, Colin and Penelope’s first time together starts with him extolling her attributes while they look in the mirror. The scene is Bridgerton-level explicit but romantic. Penelope wonders if she’s a mess, and Colin replies, “You are my mess.” 
Speaking of things getting a little messy, we get our first throuple! Benedict was never going to follow the prescribed path for him, but finally finding happiness with Tillie and Paul added a new dimension to his development. I hope Benedict’s realization plays into his love story, which is hinted at by mentioning his mother’s upcoming masquerade ball. Fans of Julia Quinn’s series know this scenario from Benedict’s story in An Offer from a Gentleman
Francesca’s love story also gets a wonderful change from the books. Her courtship and marriage to John Stirling is different from her siblings because she craves a slower, quieter courtship versus the thunderbolt, loss of words version that her mother reveres. We see Francesca bewildered when meeting John Stirling’s cousin, Michaela. This trip to Scotland should be really interesting. 
Eloise, our pragmatic guide through this world, finally reconciles with Penelope and, like Colin, can see that part of her anger toward Penelope involves being jealous of Penelope’s determination to create something that’s her own. Eloise is no longer content to wield witty remarks and talk about making the world better; she needs to leave her bubble and decides to accompany Francesca to Scotland. 
Lady Danbury is the MVP of this season. Whether she’s nudging Violet to accept Francesca’s pick for husband, eventually reconciling with her brother Marcus, or trying to pull Queen Charlotte away from her Lady Whisteldown obsession skillfully, she is expertly moving through the ton. Lady Danbury and Violet have a lovely exchange during which they both acknowledge Lady Danbury’s relationship with Violet’s father. It’s less sordid than it sounds. Through Lady Danbury’s reconciliation with Marcus, she shares that her anger with him stems from thinking he thwarted her attempt to escape before her wedding. It’s hard not to see the parallels between her and Cressida’s predicament. 
Oh, Cressida. What are we going to do with you and your enormous sleeves? Really, there’s one scene where the sleeves resemble a dilophosaurus. We go back and forth between hate and pity for her. On the one hand, she plays the mean girl role with perfection, but every time we see her parents, it’s clear they molded her into this role. Cressida’s father is cruel (nice touch adding a brief scene with Aunt Joanna to show cruelty runs in the family) and her mother is weak and misguided. Not wanting to be married off to an older man (not a little bit older, like ancient old) who states that he’s interested in having four or five kids. Cressida’s desperation to escape her fate drives her plan to claim to be Lady Whistledown and use the $5,000 bounty and get far away from the ton. Unfortunately, Queen Charlotte smartly demands proof from Cressida by writing a new issue of Lady Whistledown. The common consensus from everyone is that Cressida is not clever or observant enough to be Lady Whistledown. 

“Romancing Mister. Bridgerton”- BRIDGERTON, Pictured: Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper. Liam Daniel/Netflix ©2024 Netflix. All Rights Reserved

As an aside, if we didn’t get the Queen Charlotte spin-off, she might have been entirely insufferable this season. Instead, we see that she’s bored and more than a little lonely. 
Part two of this season of Bridgerton is highly bingeable and finally balances the enormous cast. Penelope’s family gets a redemption arc, although Prudence and Phillipa’s knowledge of anatomy continues to be lacking. Even Anthony and Kate get more substantial storytime, with Kate doling out marital advice to Colin, and Anthony telling Kate that they should travel to her town in India to have their first child. 
Which Bridgerton sibling will find love in season four and will that season be shot before Gregory and Hyacinth are completely grown? Is Cressida gone for good?
Meredith Howell
Meredith lives in Chicago where she and her husband made sure their two boys were fluent in all things pop culture. She loves talking about all things GG- Gilmore Girls, Gossip Girl, and Golden Girls and indulges in a yearly viewing of Pride and Prejudice (the Colin Firth version is the only one recognized).

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