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‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Finale: Is the Show Stuck?

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'Bridgerton' Season 3 Finale: Is the Show Stuck?

The future of television is a big, scary question mark in 2024, but if there’s one thing we know for sure, it’s that Netflix is committed to making as much Bridgerton as possible.

 

Just a day after the second half of Season 3 was released, it’s the most-watched series on the platform. A fourth season was confirmed way back in 2021—although showrunner Jess Brownell recently suggested that fans would have to wait around two years to see it. And yet, the third season’s finale kind of felt like a series finale, tying up too many of the show’s most compelling storylines.

Following a penultimate episode that saw recovering wallflower Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) finally marry Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), while he was still seething over his discovery that she was Lady Whistledown, the finale brings Bridgerton’s enormous ensemble cast together at a fabulously gaudy party thrown by Penelope’s ridiculous sisters. Suddenly, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) bursts in to announce that she’s deduced Whistledown’s identity—and demands that the woman with the poison quill pen reveal herself to all of Mayfair. So Penelope does. “No one has ever taken any part of me seriously,” she explains in an emotional monologue. But the column gave her power. “Gossip is information. It forges bonds.”

And just like that, the Queen—who’s devoted three seasons to tracking down her nemesis—is satisfied. “What is life without a little gossip?” she chuckles. So is Colin, who tells Penelope that he now understands “there is no separating you from Whistledown” and abruptly abandons his need to be the genius writer in the marriage. As for the rest of the ton, families whose darkest secrets Whistledown has aired, they barely seem to care. A minute after Penelope’s speech, they’re back to dancing. This all seems a bit unlikely—a moment of crisis smoothed over in order to give the couple that shippers call Polin an unequivocally happy ending. What’s more worrisome, though, is what the outing of Whistledown might mean for future seasons of Bridgerton. After all, what is a debutante season without a Regency Gossip Girl to chronicle it?

When Penelope retires Whistledown, in the finale’s closing scene, she writes: “Hopefully, dear reader, you will stay on to enjoy [my future] with me, as we begin this next part of our journey.” But it isn’t just the Polin storyline that the season resolves. Whistledown intrigue has been a crucial ingredient in the show’s love potion since the very beginning, when the author’s identity was still a mystery to viewers, as well as after we were let in on the secret, in the Season 1 finale, and got to follow Penelope’s publishing adventures, fingers crossed that she wouldn’t get found out. Meanwhile, the hunt for Whistledown has occupied the majority—and by far the most amusing moments—of Queen Charlotte’s screen time, outside of her eponymous spin-off.

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