Do we actually need more Cressida Cowper in Bridgerton season 4?

The character's story was left open-ended in the final moments of Bridgerton season 3, and that was intentional. But is the continuation of Cressida's story really necessary?
Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

Cressida Cowper's role in Bridgerton season 3 honestly ended up surprising me. At first, I thought she was just going to be Eloise's new friend now that the outspoken Bridgerton and Penelope had a falling out after Eloise found out her best friend is actually Lady Whistledown. But Cressida's role became so much more in the third season, and it really did make for some of the best high-stakes situations in the story. Though now that the season is over and the way this plotline ended, do we really need more Cressida Cowper in Bridgerton season 4?

The Netflix hit has already been renewed, though we don't know who the next leads are just yet. In the third season we saw Cressida become friends with Eloise, under pressure from her parents to find a suitor of her choice or she'd marry one of her dad's friends, almost getting stuck with tying the knot with Lord Greer, pretending she's Lady Whistledown, failing at that, and then finally getting sent away to live with her strict aunt in Wales. So, yeah. A lot happened with this character.

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper, Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 308 of Bridgerton.
Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

It's a bit of a tragic ending for Cressida, even though she was a big bully in the first two seasons. While I don't feel particulary bad for her, I can kind of understand the desperation and where she's coming from. She's a young woman who's told by everyone around her that she isn't smart, and the only opportunity she has in life is to marry. She was looking for some independence and freedom, and I can't really fault her for that.

Unfortunately, she just went about everything the wrong way. Including blackmailing Penelope. After all of this and because we do still remember she was a bully, I don't really think we need more of Cressida in the fourth season. But apparently showrunner Jess Brownwell and executive producer Shonda Rhimes don't not feel the same. Here's what Brownwell told Entertainment Weekly:

"We shot an alternate ending where her mother gets in the carriage at the end and actually chooses her daughter. It was a really beautiful moment. But in the edit, [Shonda [Rhimes] and I talked about the fact that it felt like an ending for Cressida. It felt like it wrapped up her story and we intentionally wanted to leave it so that we can tell a bit more story with Cressida next season."

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper, Joanna Bobin as Lady Cowper in episode 307 of Bridgerton
Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024 /

In fact, Cressida's scene in the carriage may not be what we think it is. While it seems to hint that she does indeed go off with her aunt, Cressida actress Jessica Madsen told EW that she herself doesn't know "whether she is going to her aunt's because we actually don't see her aunt in the carriage. So, it could be that she's off somehwere by herself." What does that mean? Where could she go? She has been shunned by the ton for her actions and her parents are clearly as unsupportive as ever.

With the Bridgerton season 3 finale, aka episode 8, being an episode that portrayed so many reconciliations, including two with mothers and daughters (Penelope and Portia, Francesca and Violet), it would have been so nice to actually see Lady Cowper choose her daughter and get in the carriage with her. It would have fit into one of the themes of the episode. Honestly with it being kept open-ended now and the creative team's plans for more Cressida next season. I really don't think it's necessary.

I wish they'd just leave it the way they did, or had just given us an ending for the character, no matter what direction they chose. But really Lady Cowper choosing her daughter would have been best and this is a missed opportunity. I think the inclusion of Cressida in season 3 with the blackmail and the Lady Whistledown claims were genius, but now the character has served her purpose and there's no reason to bring Cressida back in Bridgerton season 4. What do you think?

Bridgerton season 3 is now streaming on Netflix.

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