Bridgerton season 3 part 1 summary and ending explained

The first part of Bridgerton Season 3 follows Penelope and Colin’s romance, as well as Francesca’s society debut. The first part of the third season is now streaming on Netflix.

Warning: This article contains heavy spoilers

Plot summary

After spending the summer in the countryside, Penelope returns to London just in time for the season.

Penelope’s older sisters, now married, face pressure from their mother to bear a son as soon as possible because she has forged a document in Jack Featherington’s name. 

According to this document, the estate will go to the Featherington girl who produces an heir first. Eventually, both of Penelope’s sisters get pregnant at the same time.

Lady Featherington has also made up a story about a spinster aunt leaving her fortune to the family to explain their newfound wealth.

Penelope is now determined to find a husband to get away from her mother and sisters, one of whom will soon own the estate. 

She decides to get new clothes of her choice instead of wearing the ones her mother prefers. With these new clothes, Penelope is no longer invisible at balls. 

Just when she attracts the attention of a man named Lord Debling, Cressida embarrasses her, leading to Penelope rushing out.

Colin, who has just returned from his travels across Europe, is more charming than ever and now has the attention of every girl except Penelope. 

When he tries to comfort Penelope, she confronts him about being embarrassed by her, as last season she had overheard him saying that he would never court her.

Penelope finds herself all alone, without friends or family to rely on, now that she is no longer friends with Colin or Eloise, who has surprisingly found a friend in Cressida. 

As Lady Whistledown, an upset and angry Penelope writes a scathing piece about Colin’s changed personality. 

However, she regrets it the next day when Colin comes to apologize to her and tells her how much he appreciates her. In fact, he offers to help her find a husband.

Colin teaches Penelope how to be charming, and under his guidance, she gains confidence and is able to interact with more men at balls.

Eloise tells Cressida about Colin and Penelope’s arrangement, and soon the whole ton finds out about it, as someone overhears their conversation. 

This causes utter embarrassment for Penelope, worsening her chances of finding a husband. Penelope then has to report this as Lady Whistledown because it would be suspicious if she did not.

When Colin comes to comfort her, Penelope, who now fears that she might die a spinster, asks him to kiss her, and he does. 

This interaction changes the way Colin sees Penelope. He realizes that she is not just a friend to him and that he is attracted to her.

Eloise also visits Penelope to apologize for inadvertently spreading the rumor about her and Colin. While she wishes Penelope well in finding a husband, she is still not willing to rekindle their friendship. 

Eloise has changed quite a bit herself. She tries to interact more with women her age and be less radical after what happened last season. 

Furthermore, her friendship with Cressida changes Cressida for the better, making her kinder.

This season is Cressida’s last chance to find a husband before her father marries her off to one of his elderly friends. 

Both Cressida and Penelope set their sights on Lord Debling, a wealthy man who does not fit into society because of his peculiarities. 

Both women get along well with Lord Debling and start competing for his attention. Seeing Penelope with Lord Debling now bothers Colin.

Due to the rumor, Colin is no longer giving Penelope lessons, but thanks to his previous advice, she is able to be herself with Lord Debling. 

Ultimately, it is Penelope who wins Lord Debling’s heart. As Lord Debling starts courting her, Colin realizes that he likes Penelope.

Meanwhile, Lady Danbury’s estranged brother, Marcus, comes to live with her in London. Marcus, a widower, wishes to remarry and finds Lady Violet charming. 

Lady Violet has not yet moved out of the Bridgerton estate because Kate and Anthony, who are happily married, decided to extend their honeymoon.

Then there are the Mondrichs, whose lives change overnight when, after the death of an aunt, their son becomes the Baron of Kent. 

Will soon realizes that there are limits to the freedom of the nobility when he is told that he must give up his club now that he is a member of the ton. 

While Alice accepts her new life and is willing to let go of her old one, Will is reluctant to do so, refusing to give up working at his club even if it means being shunned by society.

Ending explained:

Francesca finds her match

Francesca Bridgerton makes her debut hoping to find a sensible and practical match. She is not looking for true love, but rather for quiet and peace. 

Despite her best efforts to avoid attention, she impresses Queen Charlotte, who, after initially refraining from choosing a diamond, selects Francesca as the season’s diamond.

Queen Charlotte plans to get her married to Lord Samadani, and Francesca is willing to marry the man chosen for her until she meets John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin. 

Like Francesca, John Stirling does not like attention and prefers silence over unnecessary chatter. He further impresses her by perfecting the music she found flawed. 

While Violet is happy that Francesca has found someone she likes instead of settling for the man chosen by others, it is to be seen how Queen Charlotte will react to another of her matches not working out.

Feelings and hesitations

Now that Colin has feelings for Penelope, he speaks to his mother about her relationship with his father, as they too started off as friends. 

His mother tells him that confessing to the friend one loves is the only way to find out whether their feelings are reciprocated, but Colin is hesitant to do that.

During this time, Lord Debling, who accepts Penelope as she is and supports her passions, makes his intentions to marry her very clear. 

However, he is also upfront about the fact that he will be traveling for years after their wedding, leaving Penelope to take care of his estate. 

This would be very convenient for Penelope, who wants space and privacy after marriage to continue writing as Lady Whistledown.

Although Lord Debling would make a suitable husband, Penelope cannot help but hope for the kind of love she always wanted from Colin.

The proposal Penelope always wanted

Colin cannot stop thinking about Penelope. He no longer enjoys philandering and now seeks something meaningful. 

Lady Violet, noticing his predicament, advises him to stop pleasing others and be honest about his feelings.

Colin finally makes up his mind to confess his feelings and rushes to stop Penelope from accepting Lord Debling’s proposal. 

He interrupts Penelope’s dance with Lord Debling just as Lord Debling is about to propose. Cressida takes this opportunity to talk to Lord Debling.

She implies that Colin and Penelope are more than just friends, and Lord Debling realizes that Penelope is in love with Colin. He then decides against proposing to her. 

Enraged and heartbroken, Penelope leaves the ball, but Colin accompanies her in her carriage and confesses his feelings. 

Penelope reciprocates his feelings and admits that she wants their relationship to be more than just friends. The first part ends with Colin proposing marriage to Penelope.

Also Read: Lord Debling: Bridgerton season 3 character explained

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