What happens at the end of 'Bridgerton' Season 3? Read a recap

Warning: This story contains major spoilers for "Bridgerton" Season Three.

In true "Bridgerton" fashion, Season Three saw another happy ending for one of the eight Bridgerton siblings.

Third son Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) was up next to the marriage mart, and Season Three follows his love story with Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan).

Over the course of the season's eight episodes, he realizes the one who understands him has been there all along, and they dance at their wedding to an acoustic version of Taylor Swift's "You Belong With Me."

To recap, Part One saw Penelope find a new confidence and sudden interest in marrying, leading her to receive “courting lessons” from Colin. But the lessons only bring them closer, forcing Penelope to stifle her longtime feelings for him. At the same time, he realizes his own attraction to her.

Part One ended with a marriage proposal. But the next four episodes prove that Penelope and Colin were far from their true happy ending. In Part Two, the primary conflict takes the stage: Penelope’s secret identity as Lady Whistledown, the Ton’s notorious gossip columnist.

Meanwhile, Colin’s sister Francesca grows closer to John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin, Eloise’s newfound friendship with Cressida hits rocky terrain and Benedict pursues an interesting new relationship.

How does it all unfold? Read on for spoilers.

How does Penelope and Colin's romance end? 

After Episode Four’s proposal cliffhanger, Penelope is introduced to the Bridgerton clan as Colin’s fiancée, bringing the new couple’s first obstacle — Eloise.

Eloise confronts Penelope and gives her an ultimatum: She must tell Colin about Lady Whistledown, or Eloise will. Meanwhile, Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) is hoping to catch the gossip columnist once and for all and announces a sizable reward for the person who unmasks her.

Penelope manages to evade the ticking clock until the end of Episode Five. As she’s about to tell Colin, Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen), hoping to cash in on the queen’s reward and escape an unfortunate engagement, stands up and declares herself Lady Whistledown. Penelope promptly faints.

Eloise feels betrayed and fears for what Cressida could do with the newfound power of claiming the Whistledown moniker. She and Penelope briefly reconcile after their blowout fight in Season Two to scheme a solution: Penelope will take up her pen again. Underneath the hood of her cloak, Penelope hitches a carriage ride to her printer and gives the latest publication of Whistledown.

But Colin had been following her, and Episode Six ends with him confronting her in an alley.

Their fight ends in tears, but Colin, being a gentleman, refuses to take back his proposal of marriage. They go through the motions of planning a ceremony. Colin lashes out at Penelope for her earlier praise of his writing, now interpreting it as a mockery, and her recklessness in putting herself in danger.

But the chemistry between the two is still present, and passionate anger gives way to a steamy kiss. They get married at the end of Episode Seven, but the reception is interrupted by the queen, who has narrowed her search to a member of the Bridgerton family.

Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)
Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)

Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) sticks up for the family, holding off Queen Charlotte for now, but Penelope refuses to give up writing, realizing that her and Whistledown are inseparable identities. So Colin and Penelope start their marriage not speaking and sleeping in separate rooms.

It all comes to a head in the extended 70-minute finale, when Penelope takes the center of the floor at her sisters’ ball to announce that she is Lady Whistledown to both the queen and the Ton.

She gives a passionate speech apologizing for abusing her power and her admiration for the people she writes about who “live a life out in the open.” A chastened and humble Penelope asks to be allowed to be keep writing with the caveat that she will “aim my quill more responsibly.” The queen accepts this, and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) encourages Penelope to keep writing.

Penelope then tells Colin she understands if he wants an annulment. He rejects this offer and admits that he had been feeling envy. He declares that he loves Penelope and wants to “soak up even a little bit” of her light.

In an epilogue scene, Penelope and Colin hold their newborn son, the new Lord Featherington (Penelope’s sisters both had girls).

Hyacinth (Florence Hunt) runs into the room holding the latest edition of Lady Whistledown. The narrator of Lady Whistledown Julie Andrews’ familiar voice plays out scenes of the happy Bridgerton-Featherington family but gradually blends into Penelope’s.

Coughlan delivers the season’s final line: “Hopefully dear reader, you will stay on to enjoy them with me, as we begin this next part of our journey. Yours truly, Penelope Bridgerton.”

What happens to the rest of the Bridgertons in the Season 3 finale?

While Penelope and Colin's love story was full of highs and lows, the rest of the Bridgertons also had an eventful season.

Anthony and Kate

Season Two leads Anthony and Kate (Simone Ashley) return for several episodes in Season Three, primarily basking in the glow of newlywed bliss. In the first episode, they decide to go on an extended honeymoon, and they aren't seen again in Part One.

They return in part two with joyful news: Kate is pregnant.

But instead of settling into leading Bridgerton house, Kate and Anthony decide to travel to India, where a newly-married Edwina has been living. They plan to welcome their child in India and vow to return to London eventually.

Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)
Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)

Benedict

Benedict's relationship with Tilley Arnold (Hannah New) culminates in a major turning point for the character: his first onscreen kiss with a man. Tilley invites Benedict to have a threesome with her and her friend, Paul. After first running from the offer, Benedict returns and strikes up a casual relationship with Tilley and Paul.

But soon Tilley finds herself falling for Benedict and implies she wants to settle down into a traditional relationship with him. Benedict declines, realizing he enjoys his newfound freedom outside of traditional society.

Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)
Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)

He seemingly cuts things off with Tilley and returns home, telling Eloise that he'll be ready for the start of next year's social season — his mother's masquerade ball, which marks the start of the events of his Bridgerton book, "An Offer from a Gentleman."

Eloise

Eloise had struck up a genuine friendship with Cressida in the absence of her close bond with Penelope. But that comes crashing down with Cressida declares herself Lady Whistledown.

This leads to a reconciliation between Eloise and Penelope, who share a tender hug as Penelope reels from Colin's rejection of her identity as Whistledown.

Still, Eloise appears wounded and holds back from the close friendship they once had.

When Francesca declares she is leaving London to move to Scotland and live at the Kilmartin family estate, Eloise asks to join her. The final moments of the season see Eloise and Francesca in a carriage on their way to Scotland.

Francesca

Speaking of Bridgerton marriages, Francesca also finds her match in Season Three. Francesca marries John Stirling, the Earl of Kilmartin, in a quiet ceremony at the Bridgerton home in Episode Eight.

At the ceremony, they share their first kiss, but Francesca appears briefly confused afterward. She later tells her mother her plans to reside in Scotland.

Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)
Bridgerton (Liam Daniel / Netflix)

In the finale, she meets her traveling companion for the journey north — John's cousin, Michaela Stirling. (Click here for spoilers on the important role John's cousin serves in the books.)

Francesca is speechless meeting her, seemingly due to attraction to Michaela.

Violet

The Bridgerton matriarch, Violet (Ruth Gemmell), declared at the end of 2023's "Queen Charlotte" prequel that her garden is back in bloom, implying she is ready to pursue a new relationship after the death of her husband.

This comes to fruition with the introduction of Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis), a widower and Lady Danbury's estranged brother. In the Episode Eight finale, the two share a dance and seemingly strike up a courtship.

Lady Danbury and Lord Anderson have a heart-to-heart about the breakdown of their relationship, which goes back decades. She ran away before getting married and her brother is the one who tracked her down and brought her back home. (“Queen Charlotte” followed Lady Danbury’s unhappy marriage and her rise in society after her husband’s death.)

This article was originally published on TODAY.com

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