Bridgerton Season 3’s Villain Was Secretly Set Up By This Season 2 Storyline
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Bridgerton Season 3’s Villain Was Secretly Set Up By This Season 2 Storyline

Warning! SPOILERS about Romancing Mr. Bridgerton ahead.




  • Colin’s actions in Bridgerton season 2 inadvertently lead to the setup of a future villain.
  • Netflix’s Bridgerton enriches secondary characters’ stories, impacting future protagonists’ stories’ starting point.
  • Cressida’s blackmail of Penelope in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton sets up a villainous turn for season 3.

Adapting Colin and Penelope’s book story, Bridgerton season 3 can turn a long-term antagonist into one of its biggest villains – however, the transformation was secretly set up by a Bridgerton season 2 storyline. Skipping Benedict’s book to adapt Romancing Mr. Bridgerton, Bridgerton season 3 is set to focus as much on Penelope and Colin finding their place in the world as on their romance. However, one particular storyline in the fourth Bridgerton book saw Penelope’s Lady Whistledown fortune threatened by a character who figured out her secret and tried to blackmail her, or her Lady Whistledown secret would be revealed.

Despite being generally faithful in its adaptation, Netflix’s Bridgerton often explored various secondary characters’ stories along with the main Bridgerton sibling’s romance. This way, the series enriched the world Bridgerton is set in, but it also inevitably changed the starting point of future protagonists’ stories. This is especially true for Penelope, whose family wasn’t focused on with such depth in the books, leading to Lord Featherington not dying because of fixed boxing match debts before her story is told in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. This development greatly changed the Featheringtons’ story in season 2, similarly impacting Bridgerton season 3.

Colin’s Ruby Plot Reveal Used Cressida Faking Interest In Her

Colin played to Cressida’s vanity

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 2, episode 8

Jack Featherington’s arrival in London to inherit the late Lord Featherington’s estate in Bridgerton season 2 was one of the big changes the Netflix series introduced to the Featherington book story. This was made all the more prominent once Portia Featherington coaxed the new lord into scamming the ton with the promise of a return from their investments in a nonexistent gemstone mine in America. Colin investing the Bridgerton money in the venture made him a victim of the scheme, but it also inadvertently made the setup of another future villain possible in his mission to prove he was defrauded.


Bridgerton Season 3’s Missing Character Creates A Huge Challenge For Colin & Penelope’s Romance

Netflix’s Bridgerton not including one key character from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton makes one part of Colin & Penelope’s story much more difficult.

To get his hands on the gemstones Lord Featherington promised to all investors, Colin charmed Cressida Cowper in the Bridgerton season 2 finale. The Bridgerton siblings are considered a good catch in the series and the books, and Cressida herself had tried her best to push Colin to dance with her in the Bridgerton series premiere. By charming her and dancing with her when he had never done so before, Colin essentially played to Cressida’s vanity and her persisting wish to be noticed by a Bridgerton, only to acquire the ruby necklace so that he could prove it was fake.

With Lord Featherington’s whole story arc being nonexistent in the books, the reasons behind Cressida’s machinations are different, relating directly to the enmity between Cressida and Penelope. Instead, by charming her only to destroy her necklace and prove a point, Colin made an enemy out of Cressida. Indeed, his actions not only weren’t moved by a genuine interest in Cressida but also put her in a difficult situation, highlighting the Cowpers’ gullibility in believing in Featherington’s scam despite having the means to prove his misdeeds, as they kept the fake ruby necklace.

Cressida Cowper’s antagonism was established early in the Julia Quinn Bridgerton books, with her hostility toward Penelope appearing well before Romancing Mr. Bridgerton. While many detested Cressida’s meanness in the novels, Penelope had even more reasons to despise her. One particularly vicious moment in The Viscount Who Loved Me had Kate witness Cressida first highlighting how Penelope wasn’t “in demand,” making her presence at that function “surprising,” then making fun of Penelope’s yellow dress and even involving a gentleman who also rudely commented on it, only to finish by negatively commenting on her body in front of all guests.

The Bridgerton books detailed particularly well the instances when Cressida bullied Penelope, and the times only the Bridgertons came to Penelope’s help, defending her and supporting her, unlike anybody else when Cressida picked on her. Cressida also proved her meanness in Netflix’s Bridgerton, showering Penelope with her drink so that she would appear clumsy in Colin’s presence as early as in the series premiere. Cressida’s unkind comments went on in Bridgerton season 2, when she dubbed Penelope an “insipid wallflower,” continuing the book feud between the two also in the series, despite the show toning down Cressida’s most hateful comments.

What To Expect From Cressida Cowper In Bridgerton Season 3

Cressida blackmails Penelope for her role as Lady Whistledown in the book

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington, Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper, and Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in Bridgerton season 1

Cressida and Penelope’s history in the books guaranteed an epic showdown in Romancing Mr. Bridgerton after Cressida made her move by blackmailing Penelope. Were the show to follow this book story, Bridgerton season 3 would detail Cressida’s villain turn as well. To make her into an even more fearsome villain, Bridgerton season 3 could include past book scenes as flashbacks, before showing Cressida’s path in the main timeline.

Whether Bridgerton season 3 enhances Penelope’s story with flashbacks or not, the material from Romancing Mr. Bridgerton could still make the two openly face each other in the show’s season 3. This could also include Penelope briefly considering using her hard-earned money to buy Cressida’s silence or asking Lady Danbury to lie and tell everybody that she was Lady Whistledown. Finally, were Bridgerton season 3 not to change the book story, it would involve a big ball for the reveal of Penelope as Lady Whistledown, planned by Colin to help Penelope and nullify Cressida’s threats.

season 3’s part 1 releases on Netflix on May 16, with part 2 following on June 13.


From Shondaland and creator Chris Van Dusen, Netflix’s Bridgerton is based on the romance novels of the same name by author Julia Quinn. The series follows the eight Bridgerton siblings, Anthony, Benedict, Colin, Daphne, Eloise, Francesca, Gregory, and Hyacinth, as they search for love during the social season and navigate life in Regency-era England.

Will Tilston , Rege-Jean Page , Ruth Gemmell , Luke Thompson , Isabella Cortese , Martins Imhangbe , Julie Andrews , Phoebe Dynevor , Ruby Stokes , Ruby Barker , Claudia Jessie , Adjoa Andoh , Nicola Coughlan , Golda Rosheuvel , Charithra Chandran , Ben Miller , Jonathan Bailey , Florence Hunt , Polly Walker , Shelley Conn , Joanna Bobin , Luke Newton , Simone Ashley

Release Date
December 25, 2020


Julia Quinn , Chris Van Dusen , Jess Brownell , Abby McDonald , Joy C. Mitchell

Tom Verica , Tricia Brock

Chris Van Dusen

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