‘Bridgerton’ leaves me wanting more

Photo: Contributed

This season of ‘Bridgerton’ will go down as the one that had no iconic or memorable lines.

Season one gave us “I burn for you”, while season two gave us “you are the bane of my existence and the object of my desires”.

Even the limited series ‘Queen Charlotte: A Bridgerton Story’, which exists within the Bridgerton universe and tells the backstory of the indomitable monarch, did its job in giving us a steamy and unforgettable romance that brought us to tears.

But season three just seemed to be lacking something. Penelope Featherington as a character is quite interesting. By day she is an average member of high society struggling to be seen and to find her footing, while by night she is the anonymous gossip columnist Lady Whistledown.

Over the years, she has been responsible for a weekly publication summarising all the scandals that have occurred in society. For a long time, she has wielded a great amount of power. She has made and broken reputations, revealed secrets, protected friends and, often selfishly, hurt those around her.

It was quite easy for me not to like her for a long time, but as we got to know her more in the second season and saw the motives behind her actions, she emerged as a more balanced and well-rounded character than she previously did.

This, of course, does not excuse her actions, but it does make her more believable as a real-life human being.

When it came time for her season, the occasion was not marked with the same depth as was the case with Daphne Bridgerton and Kate Sharma.

In previous seasons, it was clear that the path to love would not be an easy one, but that it was most likely something worth fighting for. Each of the two previous couples had their obstacles, but in the end, love was just so all-consuming that nothing could ever stop them.

Penelope’s character is too complex for us to focus solely on the romance or even to root for her fully as a legitimate love interest. Having spent so much time as the antagonist of the series has, in a way, sullied my impression of her.

On the flip side, Colin Bridgerton is no catch. Season one had the Duke of Hastings, while season two’s leading man was viscount Anthony Bridgerton.

Both men had their shortcomings; they definitely both had daddy issues and they both had been hardened by hardships and having to grow up early. This meant they were tough nuts to crack, but beneath the exterior was a man who craved deep and passionate love.

Colin has no such exciting back story. He has spent his time travelling the world and sleeping with everybody he could find and then suddenly felt like it was time to pull Penelope out of the friend zone. There’s just nothing exciting about the story line or about the lead characters.

I was more interested in the unravelling of Cressida Cowper’s entire world. The writers could have done more to show how tragic life could have been for women in the regency era who were not fortunate enough to come from rich families or marry into them. She was treated so badly by all of the characters – possibly deserved – but also by the writers.

Overall, the season was not too bad, but it is the mark of an inevitable decline. It ended with a time jump and Penelope getting her happily ever after, so it will be interesting to see where the fourth season carries on.

They did hint at the fact that Francesca Bridgerton might be either lesbian or bisexual (their second queer baiting stunt of the season) and Eloise, her older sister who does not want to wed, has decided to join her in Scotland.

So perhaps this would see ‘Bridgerton’ take a completely new angle and show us that chasing a man is not the only story that can be told.

  • Anne Hambuda is a poet, writer and social commentator. Follow her online or email her annehambuda@gmail.com for more.

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