Bridgerton season 3, episode 1 recap "Out of the Shadows"

Colin Bridgerton returns to London, Francesca Bridgerton makes her debut, and Penelope decides to make a change in the Bridgerton season 3 opener.
Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix © 2024
Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Laurence Cendrowicz/Netflix © 2024 /

The long-awaited and highly anticipated Bridgerton is back on Netflix with season 3 part 1. In the first episode, a new season for the ton begins which means Colin Bridgerton's return, Francesca Bridgerton's debut, and Penelope's decision to free herself from her family and herself.

But how will she fare when her ex-best friend Eloise is seen being buddy-buddy with the insufferable Cressida? How will she survive her heartbreak once Colin so obviously becomes the most wanted man of the ton? Let's not waste another second and find out.

Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

Colin Bridgerton returns

As mentioned, with the dawn of a new season for the ton, Colin Bridgerton returns home immediately finding himself admired and desired by nearly every eligible woman. Although Penelope is still feeling the sting of heartbreak from last season, she can't help but have strong feelings for the handsome Bridgerton son.

Penelope and her family returned from a holiday, unfortunately with her two sisters and their husbands in tow. Penelope's mother, Portia Featherington, managed to tell a barely passable fib about their fortune. However her daughters still need to produce a male heir, which hasn't happened yet.

As per usual, Penelope is either teased by her sisters or neglected by her mother and thus makes the decision to find a husband this season to escape her family. She foregoes her signature yellow color and decides to appear more Parisian in dark green, as Colin had spent most of his time in France.

Speaking of Colin, he can barely move without a young woman practically throwing herself at him, but he has yet to speak to Penelope, who would rather avoid him altogether. Although he has no intention on finding himself a wife this season, that may change.

Bridgerton. Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

A new season

Francesca Bridgerton is making her debut this season, but is unable to impress Queen Charlotte who, even by the end of the first episode, does not choose a Diamond. Unfortunately, we as the audience do not know much about her aside from her interest in the piano and that she exudes shyness and innocence.

She doesn't argue with her mother Violet Bridgerton about delaying her debut like Eloise did, but it's clear she is not ready. She does not fit in with the other eligible young women who already know what they desire in a husband (I did find it interesting not one of them said they wanted a loyal husband).

Eloise doesn't fit in either, finding conversations boring while tagging alongside Cressida. Unfortunately for Penelope, while her writing skills are truly to be envied, her social skills are severely lacking. She is able to draw some attention, especially from eligible bachelors, but is unable to converse without panicking or nervously talking too much. Her frustrations are apparent as she connects briefly with Francesca, both feeling at odds about the season and relationships.

But it is with her brief interaction with Lord Debling that shows a slight sign of promise, until Cressida purposely ruins the bottom of Penelope's dress. Upset and embarrassed, Penelope decides to leave the infamous Lady Danbury ball early when Colin finally speaks with her. Bitter, Penelope all but chews him out and goes home where she writes her next Lady Whistledown paper. She will later regret her choice of words when Colin offers to help her find a husband.

She accepts, but the damage is done. Lady Whistledown manages to tear into Colin a bit about how much he changed and adores the attention. His distaste for Lady Whistledown only grows as a result, but Eloise has not revealed Penelope's secret to anyone. Time will tell how this will affect Colin and Penelope's supposed romance this season.

Bridgerton. (L to R) Emma Naomi as Alice Mondrich, Martins Imhangbe as Will Mondrich in episode 301 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

What of everyone else?

Firstly, Eloise and Penelope's strained friendship is extremely obvious yet the two got along better than even I expected. As much as Eloise is upset with Penelope she hasn't revealed her secret to anyone and even attempts to spare Penelope pain from Cressida.

Eloise and Cressida have a rather strange friendship where Cressida opens up about her struggles to find a man and a true friend. She acknowledges her cruelty and how she feels as though it was brought out from within her (I'm sorry I eyerolled so hard at this).

Next, we do have the return of Anthony and Kate who remain just as in love with each other as last season. The two can't keep their eyes or hands off each other but find themselves stuck in a predicament. Kate has not begun her role as Viscountess and is afraid to broach the subject with Anthony's mother Violet. She and Anthony agree to prolong their honeymoon and postpone their duties for a little bit longer. Perhaps long enough to expect a child? We'll have to see.

We have the return of Will and Alice Mondrich, who may have just found themselves to be the luckiest of them all. After a relative of Alice's passes away, her eldest son inherits the family estate. He is now considered a Lord and the family will begin living a true life of luxury. But will they be prepared for all that comes with it?

Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

Thoughts on Bridgerton season 3 episode 1

Aside from the occasional odd scene transitions and a few rushed scenes at that, the season 3 opener truly covers all the bases while setting up a rather interesting new story. I am relieved that Penelope and Eloise's strained friendship has cooled from the last time they saw each other.

They both had time to process and although Eloise still refuses to listen to Penelope's side, she has been doing everything possible to protect her both from Cressida and from exposing the truth. As for Francesca, I may be overthinking things a bit, but I find it strikingly confusing as to why Francesca isn't upfront with her mother about her debut.

Violet has been nothing but a most devoted, loving, and gracious mother to all of her children. And yet they often avoid confiding in her about anything. I understand that Francesca would rather hide her true intentions to please her mother and avoid being seen as a complainer. However, that doesn't excuse her reluctance to open up to her.

The sudden decision to make Cressida likable, dare I say redeemable, was unfortunately too forced to be remotely believable. If this was the intention for her character all along, she shouldn't have been written to be so cruel and wicked as she has been.

All in all I, like most, look forward to seeing Penelope and Colin rekindle their friendship and watch it grow into something more. I only hope her secret doesn't destroy their lives in the process.

I'm also curious if all the money Penelope has been making writing as Lady Whistledown will somehow be given to her mother to save the family from their continued money issues. Portia can never truly get a break, can she?

You can watch Bridgerton season 3 part 1 now on Netflix.

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