Does This Greek Myth Predict How “Bridgerton” Season 3 Will End? Showrunner Jess Brownell Reveals Connection (Exclusive)

PEOPLE caught up with the 'Bridgerton' boss about the famed Greek myth of Eros and Psyche, and the clues it has for what's in store for the second half of season 3

<p> Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix</p> Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton Season 3 part 1

Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix

Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton Season 3 part 1

Bridgerton viewers know that the hit Netflix series always includes several easter eggs that reference different story lines relevant to each couple at the center of the action. But in season 3, part 1, the writers took it a step further, connecting the love story between Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington to the classic Greek myth of Eros and Psyche.

PEOPLE sat down with Bridgerton showrunner Jess Brownell to discuss the connections between the fated love stories, including what clues to the second part of season 3 fans might be able to find from the historic tale.

For those not familiar with the myth, the story follows a human princess named Psyche who begins to be worshipped and praised for her beauty over Aphrodite, the goddess of love. Jealous, Aphrodite sends her son Eros — the god of love and desire — to make Psyche fall in love with a beast. But before he can shoot his arrow at Psyche, Eros falls in love with her and pricks himself with his arrow.

The two then marry, under the condition that Psyche would never know his true identity. But driven by her own curiosity, she breaks her promise and finds out Eros' identity.

Discovered, Eros runs away and Psyche, while searching for him, asks Aphrodite for her help. The goddess agrees to help Psyche if she completes a set of impossible tasks. To her dismay, Psyche is able to successfully accomplish those tasks and is eventually reunited with Eros.

That story, as Bridgerton viewers know, has parallels to Colin and Penelope story.

The characters, played by Luke Newton and Nicola Coughlan, are at odds at the beginning of season 3 following his comment about never courting her at the end of season 2. But to make up for hurting her, Colin agrees to teach Penelope how to best charm a potential suitor. Through that process, they find their friendship turning into something more — though Colin has yet to discover Penelope's true identity as Lady Whistledown.

So how did it come to be? Brownell tells PEOPLE that one of the Bridgerton researchers initially pitched the idea to use the myth of Eros and Psyche.

As they looked into the story, they realized “the incredible parallels between the myth and our story," including the similarities between Psyche's jealous sisters and Penelope and her own relationship with her sisters, as well as the way Psyche and Lady Whistledown are both revered in society, but both Psyche and Penelope struggle to find someone to marry.

Brownell says that each ball in season 3 is connected to the episode’s theme.

For episode 4 in particular, "the theme of the episode is really about the heart versus the head," says Brownell. "So we wanted to find a myth that would connect to the theme, while also providing a dramatic ballet based on the love affair that could play on our lovers as they were watching it."

She also confirms that Bridgerton production designer Alison Gartshore even included a fresco of Eros and Psyche on the floor, where the ballet performance took place. 

In episode 4, the Eros and Psyche ball is hosted by Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel), who has her eye on securing a match between Francesca Bridgerton (Hannah Dodd), her diamond of the season and Lord Samadani (David Mumeni). During the ballet performance, she voices her hopes that the ballet will “inspire [her] lovers,” and viewers see that play out especially between Penelope and Colin.

<p>Liam Daniel/Netflix</p> Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Season 3 of 'Bridgerton'.

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Season 3 of 'Bridgerton'.

Before the ball, Lady Featherington (Polly Walker) implores to Penelope that security in a marriage is more important than love, and this dynamic especially plays out in their conversation after Colin interrupts her dance with Lord Debling (Sam Phillips). 

For Penelope, the theme of head versus heart was “really about Debling versus Colin; the perfect choice," explains Brownell.

<p>Liam Daniel/Netflix</p>

Liam Daniel/Netflix

Related: Bridgerton Author Julia Quinn Reveals Season 4 Love Story Has Already Been Chosen (Exclusive)

The impossible tasks Psyche must complete in order to be with Eros could also be pointing to the looming conflict that will take place in part 2. In Bridgerton, the obstacle that will truly test Colin and Penelope’s love is Lady Whistledown.

Throughout season 3, Colin makes his distaste for the gossip columnist well known to Penelope, especially after Lady Whistledown had ruined the reputation of Lady Crane (Ruby Barker) and almost did the same to Eloise Bridgerton (Claudia Jessie) in season 2.

Related: The Cast of Bridgerton: Everything to Know

Brownell explains that in part 1, “Colin is the one who's had to prove himself to Penelope. But when you get into part two, Penelope is the one who's holding secrets. So when those secrets come into play, she may have a little bit to prove to Colin.”

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Fans will have to wait to see how Penelope’s impossible task of revealing the truth to Colin will end part 2. 

The first part of Bridgerton season 3 is now streaming on Netflix. Part 2 drops in full on June 13.

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