Bridgerton Season 3, Part 2 review: steamy? This lukewarm series is struggling to deliver

Bridgerton Season 3, Part 2 review: steamy? This lukewarm series is struggling to deliver

We were promised things would get steamy in Bridgerton season 3, but so far it has all been a bit lukewarm with part one of the series offering us little more than an illicit fumble in a carriage.

And now the second half arrives – starting with Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) and Colin (Luke Newton) having freshly announced their engagement, to the bemusement of the Bridgertons, and the horror of Eloise (Claudia Jessie).

The will-they-won’t-they couple have finally sealed the deal, and although this is usually where most period dramas finish – at the happily ever after – part two shows that the road to the altar is still rocky.

Because of course, Penelope still hasn’t told Colin about her pen-pushing ways as Lady Whistledown, the ‘Ton’s local gossip monger and purveyor of salacious newsletters. And even early on (we were given two of the final four episodes to watch in advance) this causes all sorts of issues.

The Queen is offering a reward to identify Lady Whistledown, and Cressida Cowper desperately wants to cash in. Meawhile, Eloise is threatening Pen with an ultimatum to own up quick – or she’ll spill the beans herself.

So there’s a lot to be getting on with. Unfortunately, much of the ‘action’ involves lots of standing in busy rooms and polite conversation. However, there’s still more than enough time for Colin and Penelope to settle down and have the most PG pre-marital sex that Netflix will allow.


Steamy this is not. Watching it feels like seeing two teenagers fumbling their way through an awkward clinch, only this sex playlist has soaring strings instead of Justin Timberlake. Is Bridgerton losing its touch?

Fortunately, there’s more to the series elsewhere. Claudia Jessie and Jessica Madsen have by far the most interesting story arcs as the conflicted Eloise and the desperate Cressida.

This is good, because Penelope’s swooning, sighing and handwringing over whether or not to tell Colin all becomes a bit eye-rolling after a while. “You had a good run for a while. But it is just gossip. Let it go,” Eloise tells Pen when she refuses to give up her life as Whistledown.

She’s got a point, but there would be no plot if Pen agreed, and so naturally she doesn’t. Meanwhile, poor clueless Colin attends ball after ball with nothing much more to do than look concerned about why she’s being so anxious.

There’s also still time to shoe in a few more story arcs, which land with varying degrees of success. Francesca’s love affair with Lord John Stirling is snooze-worthy – all those painful silences! Yes, we get it, they’re shy! As is the Mondrich storyline, which concerns itself mostly with the pair’s attempts to enter society.

Yes, the costumes are still beautiful, and yes everybody talks like Colin Firth in Pride and Prejudice, but the gilt is wearing thin. Maybe it’s time to hand the crown to somebody else?

Bridgerton Season 3 is streaming now on Netflix