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The Hollywood Insider Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 Review

Fans of the show have been continuously teased about the new season with stills, behind the scenes content and interviews ever since season 3 and its protagonists were announced. Will the love story of Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) and Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) measure up to the passion and angst we found in Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and Kate Sharma’s (Simone Ashley)? Part one of season 3 of ‘Bridgerton’ is finally upon us and it’s time to see whether or not this season was worth the wait – Or, at least if the first half of it was.

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What is Bridgerton?

Set in 1800s London, ‘Bridgerton’ tells the story of the Bridgerton family as they navigate high society in the Georgian Era (more specifically the Regency period). The Bridgerton family consists of widow Lady Violet Bridgerton and her eight children (Anthony Bridgerton, Benedict Bridgerton, Colin Bridgerton, Daphne Bridgerton, Eloise Bridgerton, Francesca Bridgerton, Gregory Bridgerton and Hyacinth Bridgerton). We mainly follow London’s aristocratic society (the Ton) during the annual social season of exclusive parties and balls as an exercise in controlling the pool of suitors and debutantes; and the Bridgerton family just might offer some of the best debutantes each year. From visits to the modiste and time at gentlemen’s clubs, to balls and calls at drawing rooms; the Ton led rather hectic lives during the wedding season. 

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Also known as the Regency Gossip Girl, ‘Bridgerton’ is based on the 8 part book series written by modern day Jane Austin, Julia Quinn and produced by television legend, Shonda Rhimes and Netflix, in association with Rhimes’ production company Shondaland. The Regency period has a reputation for steamy passion, as evidenced by several decades of romance novels, such as Julia Quinn’s Bridgerton book series. The show has followed the book series format in which each season is about one sibling and their love match, where each story tends to follow at least one specific yet classic romantic trope. Season one was about Daphne Bridgerton (Phoebe Dynevor) and her love story with The Duke of Hastings, Simon Basset (Regé-Jean Page). The Duke and Duchess’s story (The Duke and I, Book 1) combines the fake-relationship and the forced-marriage tropes, successfully incorporating the very typical miscommunication trope. The second season was the firstborn Anthony Bridgerton’s (Viscount Bridgerton) turn to find love with Kate Sharma (the “spinster sister”). The enemies-to-lovers and eldest-child tropes used in season 2 were quite effective in making the story extremely entertaining, keeping us all at the edge of our seats. The love story Lord and Lady Bridgerton (The Viscount Who Loved Me, Book 2) share is so beautiful and captivating, it brought many more members to the ‘Bridgerton’ fanbase. 

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What’s been building up to season 3

Even though Benedict Bridgerton is the next Bridgerton sibling to follow Anthony and find love in the book series order, the showrunners – Chris Van Dusen (showrunner for seasons 1 and 2) and Jess Brownell (current showrunner) – of the show decided that season three should focus on Colin Bridgerton’s love story instead (Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Book 4). This season is Colin’s time to shine, as we watch him fall in love with his very good friend, Penelope Featherington, who has had a lifelong crush on him. Although Colin has the Bridgerton name and he is supposedly the protagonist of the season, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Feartherington steals the scene completely in these first four episodes. Don’t get me wrong, Luke Newton’s portrayal of Colin Bridgerton is exceptionally honest and humbling, especially in the last two episodes of Part 1 (Episodes 3 and 4). Nonetheless, Penelope Featherington is our Lady Whistledown. She is the voice of the Ton, the embodiment of gossip, and she single handedly molds society to her whim each season. A power Queen Charlotte likes to believe she holds, but in truth only Lady Whistledown and her writing (and perhaps Lady Danbury, at times) possess the power to control and influence London’s 19th century high society. Now that she has the spotlight and focus on her life and love match, Penelope Featherington could never be anything but the better half of her own season and story. 

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Could Polin become the best Bridgerton couple yet?

From the bookish and extremely bright (and not at all insipid) wallflower revealed to be the most accomplished writer, to the center of attention; Penelope Featherington might just be the best female protagonist of the entire show thus far. There is nothing more satisfactory than to witness  Penelope reach her full potential, finally believe in herself and put herself out there. One’s beauty and character should come from and be worked on from the inside out but a makeover is not only a great way to help one get the confidence boost they need, but it is also very entertaining to watch. This season, Penelope Featherington makes the decision to not hide in corners anymore and stop being anything but herself (still keeping her Lady Whistledown hidden, of course). She invests in an entirely new wardrobe and hairstyles, as well as partake in flirty conversations in the prospects of finding a husband in her third season out in society. To help her navigate coquetry behavior and find a husband, Colin offers his services as a tutor to which Penelope agrees to being his pupil. Their efforts show quick results, as Penelope attracts Lord Debling’s attention and the desired effect of securing a proposal from him comes into reality, which triggers something in Colin. Colin and Penelope’s chemistry is off the charts, which makes their friends-to-lovers and tutor-and-pupil love story very much worth your while. As a matter of fact, Coughlan and Newton will leave you thanking them for their services and wishing June 13th would come faster. If you have been rooting for them both from watching the previous two seasons, if you have been rooting for Colin to come to his senses and see Penelope as more than a friend, or if you enjoy the tutor-and-pupil trope, this season is for you. The entire season has not arrived yet, but judging only from what we have been served in the first four episodes, I believe Polin’s (Penelope and Colin) story will not disappoint. In fact, it might turn out to be the favorite season of many. Let us hope part 2 will live up to everyone’s high expectations. 

Cast: Nicola Coughlan, Luke Newton, Julie Andrews, Hannah Dodd, Jessica Madsen, Claudia Jessie, Polly Walker, Luke Thompson, Bessie Carter, Ruth Gemmell, Florence Hunt, Will Tilston, Adjoa Andoh, Jonathan Bailey, Simone Ashley, Golda Rosheuvel, Martins Imhangbe, Harriet Cains, Emma Naomi

Cinematography: Jeffrey Jur, Philipp Blaubach, Alicia Robbins, Diana Olifirova | Editor: Jim Flynn, Gregory T. Evans, Kyle Bond, Bridget Durnford, Matthew Pevic, Eli Nilsen

Director: Tom Verica, Tricia Brock, Andrew Ahn | Writer: Julia Quinn, Chris Van Dusen, Jess Brownell, Geetika Lizardi, Daniel Robinson, Sarah L. Thompson, Eli Wilson Pelton, Azia Squire, Lauren Gamble | Producers: Holden Chang, Shonda Rhimes, Chris Van Dusen, Jess Brownell, Tom Verica, Betsy Beers, Scott Collins, Alison Eakle, Daniel Robinson, Sarah L. Thompson, Rebecca Wolfe, Michelle Wright, Simon Fraser, Sara Fischer, Julia Quinn, Annie Laks, Marco Esquivel, Azia Squire, Oliver Stotter, Eli Wilson Pelton.

By Julia Maia

Click here to read The Hollywood Insider’s CEO Pritan Ambroase’s love letter to Cinema, TV and Media. An excerpt from the love letter: The Hollywood Insider’s CEO/editor-in-chief Pritan Ambroase affirms, We have the space and time for all your stories, no matter who/what/where you are. Media/Cinema/TV have a responsibility to better the world and The Hollywood Insider will continue to do so. Talent, diversity and authenticity matter in Cinema/TV, media and storytelling. In fact, I reckon that we should announce “talent-diversity-authenticity-storytelling-Cinema-Oscars-Academy-Awards” as synonyms of each other. We show respect to talent and stories regardless of their skin color, race, gender, sexuality, religion, nationality, etc., thus allowing authenticity into this system just by something as simple as accepting and showing respect to the human species’ factual diversity. We become greater just by respecting and appreciating talent in all its shapes, sizes, and forms. Award winners, which includes nominees, must be chosen on the greatness of their talent ALONE.

I am sure I am speaking for a multitude of Cinema lovers all over the world when I speak of the following sentiments that this medium of art has blessed me with. Cinema taught me about our world, at times in English and at times through the beautiful one-inch bar of subtitles. I learned from the stories in the global movies that we are all alike across all borders. Remember that one of the best symbols of many great civilizations and their prosperity has been the art they have left behind. This art can be in the form of paintings, sculptures, architecture, writings, inventions, etc. For our modern society, Cinema happens to be one of them. Cinema is more than just a form of entertainment, it is an integral part of society. I love the world uniting, be it for Cinema, TV, media, art, fashion, sport, etc. Please keep this going full speed.”

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