*Warning: This article contains full spoilers for Bridgerton season 3 part 1.*


The first half of Bridgerton's third season has landed, treating fans to a slow burn romance between Nicola Coughlan's Penelope Featherington and Luke Newton's Colin Bridgerton.

Season 3 part 1 kicks off with a heartbroken Penelope setting out on a quest for love, and enlisting the help of none other than Colin to do so.

Cue Lord Debling (Sam Phillips): a charming bachelor who seems serious about courting Penelope - that is, until Colin starts growing jealous and finally realises he has feelings for her.

Colin and Penelope aren't the only ones getting romance this season, with the newly cast Hannah Dodd as Francesca also getting her own love story in the latest instalment.

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All of this takes place in stunning surroundings, including Bridgerton's Chelsea Garden, leaving us desperately scrambling to turn our own gardens into a Ton-inspired paradise, and is accompanied by a brilliant soundtrack.

Wondering how the characters' love stories wrap up at the end of part 1 and what it means for Colin and Penelope going forward?

As we wait for season 3 part 2, read on to find out.

What happens at the end of Bridgerton season 3 part 1?

Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton sat at a piano in Bridgerton season 3.
Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix

The final episode of part 1 kicks off with Lord Debling visiting the Featherington home to gift Penelope a plant, much to her family's surprise.

Everyone else is also in good spirits, as we see Benedict (Luke Thompson) call on Lady Tilley Arnold (Hannah New), and even the queen is in a happy mood as she reads Lady Whistledown and sees she is in good favour with the anonymous writer.

To celebrate, the queen vows to throw a lavish ball in celebration of Francesca and her impending relationship with Lord Samadani.

Back at the Bridgerton home, Violet's (Ruth Gemmell) preparations for Lord Samadani's (David Mumeni) arrival are paused when Francesca gets a surprise visit from John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin (Victor Alli).

The pair obviously met briefly at the Hawkins Ball and seem to have hit things off, much to Violet's confusion. But when Lord Samadani eventually arrives, it's clear Francesca is left thinking of Kilmartin as he makes a hasty exit.

Will Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe) is also faced with the dilemma of whether to keep his club or not, now that his family is in good standing and the question of owning such a business brings their name down.

Later that day, at the opening of Lord Fuller's collection with the rest of the Ton, Debling and Penelope get speaking, and Debling talks of how he is searching for a "practical" match so that he could go off for months for his research. He's happy that Penelope is clearly someone who can be kept preoccupied with her own passions. During their chat, however, Colin spots the pair talking and leaves.

At the Cowper residence, Cressida (Jessica Madsen) is left in silence, as no men have visited her during calling hour. Eloise (Claudia Jessie) visits to check on her new friend, but is interrupted by Cressida's father, who tells Cressida she is no longer allowed to hang around with Eloise.

At the ball, however, Cressida tells Eloise that will ignore her father's request, clearly very happy that she has found a new friend in Eloise.

Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3 wearing regal attire looking concerned
Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 3. Liam Daniel/Netflix

As for Colin, he's clearly going through a reckoning of sorts, talking to his friends about loneliness and seeming to struggle with the idea of finding a wife.

The next day, Lord Debling asks Portia (Polly Walker) for Penelope's hand in marriage, and she is obviously very happy at her daughter's prospects, which means the Featherington family will also rise up the ranks of society.

But Penelope simply wants a love match, something her mother can't understand as she wants her daughter to be sensible and think of the benefits of marrying a man like Debling.

That night, on the eve of the queen's ball, Violet has a conversation with Colin that skirts around the true topic of conversation: his growing feelings for Penelope. In a bid to get him to act despite his desire to stay home that evening, she mentions Debling's impending proposal.

At the ball, Violet and Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) get to chatting and discover they are both widows, clearly having a lot of chemistry as Marcus describes his jealousy at Violet having had a love match. He intends to find one for himself the second time around.

Although Marcus tries to tell his sister, Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh), of his fondness for Violet, she will hear nothing of it and dismisses him as simply wanting to find a fleeting relationship.

Francesca also makes a hasty exit from the ball after receiving a gift from Lord Kilmartin, and her exit only ruffles the feathers of the queen, who is taking a vested interest in Francesca's affairs as her sparkler this season.

But back at the Bridgerton house that evening, Francesca is busy playing the piano, and tells her mother that Kilmartin had gifted her sheet music that he got rearranged from the music they'd heard in town earlier that day, but this time as Francesca had imagined it to sound.

Violet simply smiles as she realises that Kilmartin has won her daughter's affections through such a thoughtful present.

Elsewhere, it's clear that the Featherington sisters, Philippa (Harriet Cains) and Prudence (Bessie Carter), are both displaying pregnancy symptoms having been tasked with producing an heir by their mother over the course of the season.

Do Colin and Penelope get together in Bridgerton season 3 part 1? Carriage scene explained

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton sitting on a sofa and leaning forward to write a letter using a quill.
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix

On the dance floor at the ball, Penelope quizzes Lord Debling about whether he could ever imagine falling in love with each other, and he doesn't seem as keen as she is.

Interrupting their dance - much to the surprise of onlookers - Colin takes Penelope to dance with her, and tries to dissuade her from marrying Debling. Cressida swoops in to dance with Debling, telling her about how close Penelope and Colin are, which only angers him - and he quickly leaves the ball.

Penelope and Debling have a frank conversation about the fact that Penelope clearly has feelings for Colin, but Penelope swipes away the accusations, saying that Colin would never fall for her. He bids her a good evening and leaves her tearfully there when Portia comes over to see what's going on.

Penelope's carriage is riding away when Colin halts it and asks if he can come inside. Once Penelope allows him to do so, Colin says she cannot marry Debling and that he's not right for her. But Penelope tells Colin that Debling actually rejected her because he thought she had feelings for Colin, an idea she finds preposterous.

"What if I did have feelings for you?" Colin asks Penelope and he kneels before her, telling her that he's been trying "to feel less" for a while now but he can't stop thinking about Penelope and the kiss they shared.

Penelope admits that she'd "very much like to be more than friends" and the pair eventually kiss, going on to share quite the steamy scene together.

But just as they're getting into the throws of everything, they arrive at the Bridgerton house. After Colin fixes Penelope's dress and hair, he steps down from the carriage and puts out his hand to Penelope to ask whether she's coming with him.

"For God's sake, Penelope Featherington, are you going to marry me or not?" Colin says, and the camera pans to a very happy - but surprised - Pen, who is left somewhat breathless by the big question.

Did Colin find out that Penelope is Lady Whistledown? How the carriage scene compares to the book

No. Fans of Quinn’s romance novel, Romancing Mister Bridgerton, will know that it contains a carriage scene much like the one at the end of season 3 part 1, in which Colin follows Penelope into a carriage.

In the book, he ends up discovering that Penelope is Lady Whistledown. An argument ensues, but it eventually turns into a kissing session and a proposal.

In Bridgerton season 3 part 1, Colin follows Penelope into a carriage because he’s ruined her chances of being engaged to Lord Debling - not because of Lady Whistledown.

So no, Colin hasn’t found out Penelope’s Lady Whistledown-sized secret as yet, but judging by the tense part 2 trailer that has been released, the truth might be about to come out in the next set of episodes (read more on this below).

What else will happen between Colin and Penelope in part 2?

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton wearing a blue dress and stroking her hair while looking at her reflection in the mirror.
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton. Liam Daniel/Netflix

The trailer for season 3 part 2 begins with the Bridgerton family being informed of Colin and Penelope's nuptials.

However, Eloise (Claudia Jessie) soon puts a spanner in the works when she pushes Penelope to tell Colin about her double identity as Lady Whistledown. Might this get in the way of Penelope's wedding plans?

Showrunner Jess Brownell recently teased that "a lot more romance" is in store for the couple in the second half of the season.

Chatting exclusively to RadioTimes.com, she revealed: "The drama definitely notches up in the back half."

She continued: "I think Penelope’s secret is weighing really heavily over her, and I think you’re also going to see a lot more romance in the back half.

"You know, Pen and Colin are figuring things out, and there’s some time to just live in that for a bit."

Speaking previously to Today.com, Brownwell revealed the second half of episodes unfold at a "much more tense, thrilling pace", while also hinting at plenty of obstacles on the horizon for the couple.

"Once Pen and Colin move into being a couple, the conflict comes more from the fact that Penelope is holding this giant secret in the form of Whistledown," she said. "And also, you have Eloise’s reaction to these two getting together to come."

Bridgerton season 3 part 1 premiered on Thursday 16th May 2024, part 2 will then be released on Thursday 13th June. Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming now on Netflix. You can buy the Bridgerton book series on Amazon.


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