Cressida Cowper had an alternate ending on “Bridgerton” season 3

Jessica Madsen discusses Cressida's rash actions, her sexuality, and whether she'll truly be banished to Wales.

Warning: This article contains spoilers about Bridgerton season 3, part 2.

Bridgerton's resident mean girl received quite the send off this season.

After falsely claiming she was the author behind Lady Whistledown, Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen) spun into a desperate frenzy, hoping to avoid marriage to a dismal elder suitor and a chance to seize a new life of her own devising.

But Cressida's attempts to blackmail Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) didn't exactly go as planned — and in the final moments of season 3, we saw her riding off in a carriage, seemingly resigned to her banishment with a spinster aunt in a remote corner of Wales.

Though it turns out, Cressida may not be disappearing to the Welsh fens after all. In fact, they shot an alternate ending that suggested a different future for her. "We did shoot a different ending," reveals Madsen. "I don't know whether she is going to her aunt's because we actually don't see her aunt in the carriage. So, it could be that she's off somewhere by herself."

<p>Liam Daniel/Netflix</p> Jessica Madsen on 'Bridgerton'

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Jessica Madsen on 'Bridgerton'

"[In the first ending we shot], Lady Cowper actually came to save her, and got in the carriage with her and they left together," Madsen continues. "I had a caged bird in my hair with a little door and Lady Cowper had the key."

Showrunner Jess Brownell confirms the moment, but she explains that they decided to go a different direction to leave the door open for what might await Cressida. "We shot an alternate ending where her mother gets in the carriage at the end and actually chooses her daughter," Brownell says. "It was a really beautiful moment. But in the edit, Shonda [Rhimes] and I talked about the fact that it felt like an ending for Cressida. It felt like it wrapped up her story and we intentionally wanted to leave it so that we can tell a bit more story with Cressida next season."

In addition to discussing her open-ended conclusion, Madsen also spoke to Entertainment Weekly about Cressida's bold lie, her regrets, and fan theories that Cressida has romantic feelings for Eloise (Claudia Jessie).

Related: Bridgerton turned to famous New Girl and Felicity kisses for Polin first kiss inspiration

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: Cressida announces that she's Lady Whistledown, and we hear her ponder it a little bit before, but do you think it's something she thinks through at all, or that she just blurts it out?

JESSICA MADSEN: I don't think it's something she's thought through at all. She intends to out Whistledown, but not as herself to begin with. She's aware that if she speaks out the reward money will be hers. That's what she's focused on. Then, when she sits there and she hears everyone else talk about it, she's like, "Oh my gosh, everything they're saying is exactly what I want for myself." Wouldn't have to marry, would have money. She would be free to do what she wants and that's an ideal for her. So she just is like, "it's me," and then fully commits to it, bless her. But it's not thought through.

How much does it hurt when Eloise rejects her after this reveal?

Hugely. Of course, it is a tactic to try to convince her to help her write it because she thinks Eloise would be the perfect fit, but it's also something she thinks would be exciting to do with her as well. She so badly wants to hold onto her friendship. I don't think she sees it coming when Eloise says, "I can't be your friend anymore at all." Her natural response is to go on the defense and to go on the attack. So that's what happens when she says, "I can't be friends with you." She attacks and responds, "You are just jealous that I've made something of myself." Inside, she is deeply hurt and doesn't really have the time to compute all of that because there are so many pressing things, like having to write a Whistledown, that she has to deal with. A lot of that will come in the aftermath of everything that happens.

Does she regret taking credit for the column?

At the end, she is left with a lot of regret. I know we don't get to see a lot of it at the end before she exits and is off wherever she is going. But it's a heaviness that she carries with her as she goes. I think she looks back and she's like, "Wow, I didn't see it as stealing from the Queen. I didn't realize quite how heavy it was to be blackmailing somebody." She's left with a lot to process at the end of it, and that's not something she's had any time to do. It's really thinking on her feet and trying to save herself.

Related: Bridgerton showrunner spills the tea on that popped question, the Lady Whistledown of it all

<p>Liam Daniel/Netflix </p> Jessica Madsen on 'Bridgerton'

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Jessica Madsen on 'Bridgerton'

It feels like she's desperate at every turn.

And really none of it comes from a place of malice. She's so limited and suffocated with how the society works and what she is and isn't allowed to do in her position. We see someone really trapped. She's this caged bird who's trying to get out. I don't think she intends to hurt anybody in the process.

In this scene with Colin where he confronts her, he says, "Imagine being so ignored, you feel invisible." People don't realize she feels the same way because she is this mean girl in the ton. How did you balance that?

That was such a great scene to shoot with Luke. It was one of my favorites of the season because it has such an arc within that one moment. We do see him almost get her on board and to have compassion for Penelope, which would be to have compassion for herself as well, because they are similar in that respect. But the minute he mentions her father, that's it. She shuts down again and realizes, "You know what, we are not the same. You have the love of your family. And I don't." And she doesn't. We do see in that moment she doesn't have another option. It's the option to step off the battlefield and succumb to her fate or carry on trying her best. I don't know what I would've done in her situation. I really don't. It's desperation. It's the end of the line for her and she's hopeful that she can get herself out.

Related: Why Bridgerton opted for Colin's rippling forearms as his 'moment of thirst'

If she actually did secure this money, what do you think she would've done? Would she have been able to find happiness or continued being miserable? 

She would have left the country. She likes the idea of going to Vienna and starting a whole new life. But if she carries on the way she's going right now, I don't know what life that will be for her. I like to think that she will open up again. I so hope that she can return to remaining in that safe space where she feels she can be herself. I think she would've tried to leave the country, but that's her wishful projection of what she can do. The reality of it is, I don't even know what's possible. I don't know if she can even afford to live off of that amount of money. Then you get yourself in that position where you're constantly chasing something, which is sad, but it's quite similar to how people function in today's world. The chase of what is it that we really want in life and how far are we prepared to go? What will we do? It's risky.

Related: Bridgerton star Jessica Madsen says she's 'in love with a woman' as she celebrates the start of Pride Month

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You've had outlandish wardrobe before, but your sleeves were out of control this year. How difficult was that to manage?

It was comical. I found it tricky to get through doors. There were a lot of doors I had to sort of crab walk into. And the one issue I had was there wasn't a coat big enough to fit any of my sleeves in, so they very kindly made me special arm warmers and neck warmers, and I had little attachable pieces to keep me warm. I did actually end up wearing a sleeping bag with a big buckle around my waist. But the costumes were amazing. I loved the energy that they gave me and the bravery. It's a huge moment for her. There's a lot of bravery in what she's going through and those costumes really reflect that.

The internet has been abuzz. So, does any part of you think Cressida is queer? Because a lot of people are seeing a vibe between her and Eloise.

I love that and I appreciate it so much. I didn't expect it. Neither did Claudia. We were surprised. But I think what we see is two girls having a really wonderful connection and chemistry, and it's unexpected. It was really important for Claudia and I to make sure that that connection was authentic and real because we didn't want there to be any discussion about whether it's manipulative or if they're trying to get to Penelope or anything like that. We wanted it to be really authentic. Luckily, we have such a wonderful friendship, and it's cool for us to see that that shines through on screen. We didn't expect it to come across romantically. But what I do love is that there's a hunger for queer romance on the show. Being queer myself, I am in full joy that there's so many people who want to see it. The audiences will not be disappointed by the end of the season. Queer romance [will be] explored, but as far as Cressida and Eloise, it is just a friendship.

This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

All episodes of Bridgerton season 3 are now streaming on Netflix.

Read the original article on Entertainment Weekly.