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Benedict, Anthony, Eloise, and Violet in 'Bridgerton'
Image via Netflix

Review: ‘Bridgerton’ season 3, part 2 is a thoughtful thrust and a series high for the Shondaland darling

Nicola Coughlan finishes what she started last month, and the whole ton is flourishing around her.

We found the first half of Bridgerton‘s third season to be in as fine a form as we’ve come to expect from the Shondaland Regency drama, as you may recall. But it had its stumbles; an over-saturation of storylines and under-served portion of Benedict were the main sore thumbs.

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The second half of the “Polin” season could have held its head high even without patching up those weaknesses, but these final four episodes deliver flash after flash of dramatic, resonant, and utterly disruptive brilliance.

Rejoice, Bridgerton fans old and new; even if you haven’t tuned in to Netflix‘s indisputable darling yet, somehow, you’re in for four incredibly delightful surprises.

Fresh off the marriage proposal heard around the world, Bridgerton plops us right back into the laps of Colin and Penelope, as they break the news and drink in the warm reception from everyone in the Bridgerton household — sans Eloise. A quick moment between the two girls sets up that the game is afoot — one which, Eloise makes very clear, is a very dangerous one for Penelope to play.

It feels almost unfair to muse on the talent of Nicola Coughlan, yet again — it’s a sort of critical free real estate. The Irish actress is in stunning, sharp, and vulnerable a form as ever as Penelope, who has long since proven to be the best and most authentically dynamic protagonist the ton has ever seen, despite some spectators immaturely opining otherwise.

Also of note is the business-as-usual brilliance of Adjoa Andoh as Lady Danbury, whose shrewd puppeteering provides an inner tension that we’ve really yet to see from the doyenne. Unsurprisingly, it’s a shade of the character that Andoh brings to rousing, poignant life, particularly when she’s playing off of Ruth Gemmell’s Violet Bridgerton.

The storytelling of this second half of Bridgerton‘s third season is as tightly wound as the first, and twice as effective; where before it visibly struggled to keep its characters effectively sorted, now Colin and Penelope’s dynamic has gelled in the way we’ve been waiting for, giving the writers an ironclad anchor around which to streamline secondary but still-important story arcs, such as that of Eloise, who Claudia Jessie ropes into the Whistledown game with the exact mercurial attitude that makes the character such a fan-favorite. The writers have also let go of yarns that just weren’t serving the show’s whole all that well, such as Will Mondrich’s misgivings about no longer being a working man. The biggest beneficiary of this narrative pruning, however, is Benedict.

Ranking just under Penelope and Colin, he becomes the tertiary heart of Bridgerton‘s third season. Luke Thompson absolutely relishes thrusting Benedict into some unforgettable insights on the human condition. That, plus the promise of what lies ahead for the mirthful second-born, will leave viewers impressed with how he was ultimately handled — and frankly, we should have trusted this would happen all along. Francesca’s plight, meanwhile, chugs along softly in the background before serving up a viewer-engrossing promise of its own.

Many times throughout this last half of the season, characters geek out about their striking surroundings; it’s possible that none of this was in the script, because Bridgerton is every bit the eye candy it’s always been. The production design is top-class, with a special nod to the ballroom that houses the season’s biggest moment (when you know, you know). Viewers will be left with such a yearning to be in the middle of it, that they likely won’t even care that there’s no Wi-Fi in the Regency-era U.K. Ditto costume design.

All in all, the Bridgerton brain trust should take a big, bold bow; it is not possible at this time to imagine these episodes will be eclipsed in future seasons; from the plotting, to the performances, to the utterly gorgeous kaleidoscope of love-centric philosophy on display, the second part of season three of Bridgerton is pure Netflix royalty.

Bridgerton season three, part two
All hail Nicola Coughlan! 'Bridgerton's third season has come from behind to be its most dexterously nutritious yet.

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Charlotte Simmons
Charlotte is a freelance writer for We Got This Covered, a graduate of St. Thomas University's English program, a fountain of film opinions, and probably the single biggest fan of Peter Jackson's 'King Kong.' She has written professionally since 2018, and will tackle an idiosyncratic TikTok story with just as much gumption as she does a film review.