‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Part 1 Recap: What to Remember for Part 2

As the second half of Bridgerton Season 3 approaches, the events of Part 1 might already seem distant. Very much indeed happened in the first four episodes of the Netflix series’ third installment, which ended with a climactic carriage scene and cliffhanger that has left viewers longing for the rest of the season.

Below, find episodic recaps as to plotlines such as the Featherington fronts — Penelope’s (Nicola Coughlan) search for a suitor and her sisters’ attemps to get pregnant — as well as Colin’s (Luke Newton) attempts to help Penelope until he had some realizations of his own about his feelings toward her. Francesca Bridgerton also entered society at the beginning of Season 3, and of course, Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell) and Lady Danbury (Adjoah Andoh) have attempted to shepherd the Bridgertons and mold society in their own ways.

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Lord Kilmartin and Lord Marcus Anderson made their debuts in the Bridgertonverse as of Season 3’s launch as well. Here’s what to remember for Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2.

Episode 1 – “Out of the Shadows”

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton
Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton

Set to Lady Whistledown’s narration and welcome back to viewers, the ton is once again buzzing ahead of another marriage season. Hannah Dodd’s Francesca makes her debut in more ways than one. The sixth Bridgerton daughter doesn’t seem too eager to enter the marriage market, but she is more eager than Eloise (Claudia Jessie) was last season to secure a match. Hannah Dodd was recast in the role after Ruby Stokes portrayed the piano-playing sister in the first two seasons of the Netflix show.

Colin Bridgerton also returns home from his travels with a major glow-up. Penelope Featherington has again taken to her escritoire to write Lady Whistledown’s missives. She witnesses Colin’s homecoming from afar. As the new flock of eligible ladies walks down the palace aisle, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) does not seem very impressed by them — yawning and remaining overall dismissive of each presentation. As the first half of Season 3 unfolds, it becomes clear that she is looking for something extra special in a diamond she would name this time around, especially after her only other declared diamond  Edwina Sharma (Charithra Chandran) didn’t end up making a match in Season 2. Phoebe Dynevor’s Daphne was named the first ‘Diamond’ by Lady Whistledown in Season 1.

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Penelope’s sisters Prudence (Bessie Carter) and Philipa (Harriet Cains) are happily married to men without titles. Prudence got married at some point between Seasons 2 and 3 to Mr. Harry Dankworth (James Phoon). Philipa is with Albion Finch (Lorn Macdonald). Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) has masked the large sum of money she took from the new old Lord Featherington’s counterfeit ruby mine fortune as an inheritance from their late Aunt Petunia. Portia also forged a document declaring that the sum would go to the next Lord Featherington, which means Prudence and Philippa need to get to work producing an heir.

Penelope and Eloise are at odds because Eloise discovered last season that Penelope is Lady Whistledown, and now the fifth Bridgerton sibling is friends with Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen). Colin asks Eloise what happened, and she merely declares that they grew apart. They have a run-in at the modiste, but it’s going to take more than that for them to mend their relationship. Penelope sets her cap at a suitor of some sort this season, and with Madame Delacroix’s (Kathryn Drysdale) help, she alters her dresses and color scheme, which proves successful when she stands out at Lady Danbury’s first ball of the season set to an orchestral version of Gayle’s “abcdefu.”

Francesca gets overwhelmed as she feels “poked and prodded” by potential suitors at Lady Danbury’s ball. Penelope also has a difficult time speaking with the men in attendance. The two share a cute moment “on the wall” as they bond over attracting notice. When Francesca gets asked to dance, she encourages Penelope to abandon her wallflower status, repeating the scribe’s words back to her. Lord Debling (Sam Phillips) makes his debut this first episode as well, and he strikes up a conversation with Penelope only for Cressida Cowper to cleverly yet cruelly tear Penelope’s new emerald green dress with her heel, and Penelope runs out of the party, followed by Colin. He then tells her he misses her, and she counters with the fact that she overheard him say he would never court her in Season 2. She bids him goodnight.

Bridgerton Season 3 episodic photo of (L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton
(L to R) Simone Ashley as Kate Sharma, Jonathan Bailey as Anthony Bridgerton

Viscount Anthony Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey) and the new Viscountess Kate Bridgerton (Simone Ashley) are back this season as well to help shepherd Francesca into the marriage market and also manage the Bridgerton affairs. Violet promises Kate to move out as she is officially now Dowager, but Kate suggests she and Anthony delay returning to duties to make an heir.

Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) and Alice Mondrich’s (Emma Naomi) son Nicholas has inherited a title — the Baron of Kent, and a solicitor who informs them of this also comes sniffing around the Featherington house because he is suspicious of Portia’s forged document.

Episode 1 concludes with Colin making a pact to help Penelope find a suitor, right before her scathing issue about him gets published. She immediately regrets it. Colin and Eloise touch base about the latest column, and he swears that Lady Whistledown will meet her ruin soon, especially with this, a seeming third strike after she wrote about Colin and Marina in Season 1 and then Eloise and Theo in Season 2.

Episode 2 – “How Bright the Moon”

After much hesitation, the Queen still intends to choose a diamond “by some other name” in the words of Lady Danbury, though she cannot be rushed.

Colin helps Penelope strategize about finding her a suitor at first publicly, but when her flirting comes across as unsettling, he offers her a private lesson at the Bridgerton residence while Eloise, Francesca and Violet are at the modiste. Pen has to hide when Eloise comes back from The Modiste early, and she reads Colin’s journal in the study where she remains concealed. In his rage, Colin knocks a lantern off his desk and cuts his hand as he tries to hastily pick up the shards. Penelope wraps the cut in one of their first flirtatious moments.

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Portia Featherington realizes her two married daughters haven’t been having intercourse with their husbands, and she instructs them how it is done. In their new home, the Mondriches have to sleep in different rooms, and they don’t prefer it, though that is the way “things are done.”

After he is confident in Penelope’s flirting, Colin suggests she talk with Lord Basilio, who flees the scene pretty quickly after he gets emotional because his horse died. Whispers start to spread about Colin helping Penelope and associating with her as she is technically “a spinster,” and she corresponds with Lady Whistledown, who criticizes Penelope for thinking she could achieve a match with Colin’s help.

At another evening social event, the Queen, who wants to be dazzled, happens upon Francesca playing the piano upstairs (with Lady Danbury’s help guiding her to the piano), and she becomes impressed that Francesca “has her own pursuits” that brought her to take a break from the dancing.

Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 302 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 302 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Colin visits Penelope at night after she leaves from the scandal and embarrassment of the gossip, and she begs him to kiss her outside. She worries that she may die before being kissed, and while he first argues with her, he eventually complies, and sparks fly!

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Episode 3 – “Forces of Nature”

Following that kiss, Colin has a steamy dream about Penelope at the beginning of episode 3, but viewers don’t know that until a few minutes in when he wakes up.

Queen Charlotte sits with Lady Danbury mulling over potential suitable and wealthy matches for Francesca. Lady Danbury admits she is distracted because she received news last episode that she would be having “an unwanted visitor.” The Queen decides to introduce Francesca to her close family friend Lord Samadani (David Mumeni), a Marquess.

Eloise visits Penelope to check on her after the scandal and gossip Lady Whistledown delivered, and their conversation is veiled because they both know Penelope’s secret identity. Eloise encourages Penelope to find what she is looking for (a husband) with Colin’s help after Pen asks her if she would like to stay.

Bridgerton. (L to R) James Phoon as Harry Dankworth, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Harriet Cains as Philipa Featherington, Lorn Macdonald as Albion Finch in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Bridgerton. (L to R) James Phoon as Harry Dankworth, Bessie Carter as Prudence Featherington, Harriet Cains as Philipa Featherington, Lorn Macdonald as Albion Finch in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Varley, the Featherington housekeeper, brews Prudence and Philippa a strange-smelling potion to increase their fertility. The concoction makes them both nauseous. Later on, Philippa has to run off to vomit again, but she and Prudence have stopped drinking the potion, which means she could be pregnant.

The main event of the third episode involves the launch of a hot air balloon with aeronaut Mr. Hawkins. To avoid eager mamas looking to connect him with their daughters, Benedict ducks into a tent and makes a snide comment about it to a woman, whom he doesn’t realize is a woman until he turns to look at her. This is how he meets Lady Tilley Arnold (Hannah New), with whom he later shares a dance at the Hawkins Ball.

Lord Debling — who is known for his love of nature and travels — begins a conversation with Cressida Cowper, who has set her sights on him. Eloise reluctantly helps Cressida with an offhand comment about the Great Auk, a bird that Debling is invested in saving from its endangered status. Penelope walks toward Lord Debling before she realizes he is speaking with Cressida, but he welcomes her over, and it becomes apparent that she cannot relate to Lord Debling’s love of nature.

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In a sneaky kissing moment, Prudence and Lord Dankworth accidentally untie the hot air balloon from its anchors in the ground, and Colin becomes a hero as he runs toward the contraption, calling other men to help him haul the ropes back so that the vessel doesn’t strike Penelope. Lord Debling also comes to her aid, but then Cressida acts injured and he caters to her fake condition.

Later at the Hawkins Ball, a mysterious man picks up Violet Bridgerton’s (Ruth Gemmel) dropped glove, and they seem to have a moment. He is later revealed as Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis), who turns out to be Lady Danbury’s brother. Francesca also makes a connection with a man, who offers to share silence with her in a quiet moment by a fire.

Colin asks his mother about friendship as a basis for love under the guise of being hopeful for his sister Francesca, and Violet tells him that she and the late Viscount Edmund Bridgerton (Rupert Evans) began that way, and that they only figured out they could be more when Evans got up the courage to ask! Colin rushes to Penelope in an attempt to tell her something, but Lord Debling cuts in and asks her to dance before Colin can get the words out.

Episode 4 – “Old Friends”

Lord Debling brings Penelope a plant so that she can enjoy nature from her windowsill. Benedict decides to call on Lady Tilley Arnold, who doesn’t want a serious relationship because she has been married before. Lord Marcus Anderson reveals to Lady Danbury that he returns to London to seek a new wife and a second chapter. He bonds with Violet over her late love match, something he has not yet experienced.


The man who Francesca met at the Hawkins Ball briefly appears to call on her, introducing himself as Lord John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Alli). He sits again with her in content silence before Lord Samadani, the expected caller, arrives to call on Francesca. Francesca sees John on the street in town, and she attempts to make conversation with him, but things seem a bit awkward, and when he asks her about a fellow playing music nearby, she criticizes it and says that the melody is hard to pin down. He withdraws from their conversation.

At the hot air balloon show, Will Mondrich was invited to join the hunt. A Lord of society later informed him that he should close down his club because the social elite do not work. A man attending the establishment informs him of this after Will mentions the hunt. He does not wish to do so, while Alice thinks it might be for the best.

Another elaborate set for a social gathering is Lord Fuller’s collection of books that began in 1790, where the Bridgertons and Featheringtons go, to the delight of bookworms Penelope and Eloise. Lord Debling talks more with Penelope, asking her what her hopes are for a marriage and couching the premise in that of a fictional love story. He subtly warns her that he will be gone a lot with his travels, and she responds by saying that she has her own interests to keep her busy. He even gets as far as the hypothetical proposal, for which he will have to ask Portia’s permission, and Penelope tells him that he will have to read the book to find out if she will say yes. After the library music, Lord Debling goes to chat with Portia, who tells Penelope he intends to propose, and she can tell Penelope is hesitant because she desires a love match.

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Colin has a moment of debauchery with two women, but he decides he is not in the right headspace for that kind of activity, he later echoes the same feelings when he joins his friends for a night of revelry, and he no longer takes joy in telling raunchy stories from his travels. His head later hurts the next day, and he tells his mother he would like to stay home from the night’s soirée. Violet, in one of her motherly moments, tells him that he should put himself first as one of her more sensitive children, and she warns him of Penelope’s impending proposal from Lord Debling.

Encouraged by Lady Whistledown’s praise of Francesca as the Queen’s Sparkler, Charlotte arranges to host another evening party. A pair of dancers perform a dramatic lover’s routine while the Queen watches from her perch, adorned with the most elaborate wig yet — which has crystal swans floating on the pool inside of it. Alice attends and stands on the platform alongside Lady Danbury because Will did not attend the event. She is happy that Francesca, her Sparkler, is getting to know Lord Samadani, until he goes to fetch her lemonade and Lord Kilmartin gifts Francesca sheet music, which, upon her hasty departure from the soiree, she later discovers to be the same melody from their earlier encounter rearranged to her specifications. The Queen and Brimsley freak out that she “refused to drink the lemonade!”

Bridgerton. (L to R) Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 302 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Lord Debling swoops in to dance with Penelope during the orchestral rendition of Taylor Swift’s “Snow on the Beach,” but before he can propose, Colin cuts in and asks for her attention. Lord Debling almost leaves the dance floor, but Cressida offers to dance with him and save him, for he is “too handsome for social ruin.” She informs him that Penelope and Colin are the oldest of friends, and she reveals that the view that Penelope loves so much to see from her window is the Bridgerton house, because they have known each other since the Featheringtons moved in across the street. Lord Debling tells Penelope that he knows she has feelings for Colin, and he abandons the proposal.

Penelope is furious at Colin for interrupting the proposal, and he suggests it might be good that he could have just ruined her potential match. She departs the event, but he follows her and pursues her, entering the carriage to confess his newly realized feelings for her. Things get a bit hot and heavy in the carriage after she confesses that she shares the desire to be more than friends with him. Part 1 of Season 3 ends on the ultimate cliffhanger of Colin proposing marriage to Penelope!

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