'Bridgerton' revealed its gay love story and we’re SCREAMING!

Eloise and Benedict Bridgerton
Eloise and Benedict Bridgerton

Gentle readers, this is a SPOILER WARNING for Bridgerton season 3, part 2. If you haven’t watched the final four episodes (and you should) or you don’t like spoilers, get outta here.

For the rest of you, let’s get into it!

Back in April, PRIDE sat down with Bridgerton’s new showrunner. Jess Brownell, to talk about season three. At that time, we learned exclusively that after years of pining, our gay dreams were coming true and that a queer love story was coming to the ‘Ton.

“This is a show about love in its many forms and I think that it’s only right for us to foreground queer love and to tell queer stories,” Brownell told PRIDE. “I want to see more queer joy on my screens and that was definitely a priority for me when I stepped into the showrunner role.” We couldn’t agree more.

While this season has centered around the long-awaited love story between Colin Briderton (Luke Newton) and Peneople Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) — and the latter’s struggle to keep her identity as the ‘Ton’s number one gossip columnist Lady Whistledown under wraps — there are always a handful of brewing romances and dramas on the side.

This season saw another Bridgerton, Francesca (Hannah Dodd), falling into a very sweet if sedate romance with John Stirling (Victor Alli). Eloise (Claudia Jessie) struggled in the aftermath of the most painful kind of breakup — a friend breakup. Even Lady Violet (Ruth Gemmell) saw the stirrings of a new prospective paramour in Lady Danbury’s brother Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) — after all, as we learned in Queen Charlotte, that particular, ahem, “garden” is in bloom again.

So, yes, there was plenty of spicy action on the ‘Ton to go around but seemingly there was no queer love story to be seen. Good news: It was all a setup for what was to come in the final episodes. There is, of course, one more Bridgerton we haven’t mentioned, and that is the free-spirited Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson), who has spent two seasons on a journey of self-discovery, as an artist, a man, and this season as a lover.

When the news broke that there was a queer love story incoming, fans immediately suspected that either Benedict or Eloise would find some queer love (yes, Sapphic Eloise Bridgerton, give it to us Netflix!). After all, Eloise has never shown any interest in the marriage market and Benedict has run in artistic — and yes, queer — circles. He’s the only Bridgerton who has had direct contact with queerness — aside from the occasional brothel Ménage à trois (yes, Colin, we’re looking at you).

So, which of them did it turn out to be? Thank the gay gods, Benedict finally got the gay romance that we have been calling for since season one.

Here‘s how it all played out. This season sees Benedict striking up a casual but passionate romance with a young, beautiful, and thoroughly modern widow named Lady Tilley Arnold (Hannah New). Things immediately get hot and heavy between the two. As their romance goes on and continues to heat up, she introduces him to her very close — and hunky — friend Paul Suarez (Lucas Aurelio), with whom she has a similar casual yet intimate relationship.

The chemistry between Benedict and Paul is immediate and powerful — and terrifying to Benedict, who feels something awakening inside him. Tilley makes it clear that there’s an invitation implied for the three of them to share a close, intimate friendship.

Benedict kisses Paul
Benedict kisses Paul

Courtesy of Netflix

Benedict’s first instinct is to run away. However, with Tilley’s coaxing, he opens his mind to the possibility — and the surprising new desires that Paul has stirred in him. The duo becomes a trio, as they enter into a three-way romance.

Also a lot of three-ways.

Tilley, Benedict and Paul in bed
Tilley, Benedict and Paul in bed

Courtesy of Netflix

For creator Shonda Rimes, this arc has been a long time coming for Benedict. “[He] felt a little lost to me at the end of last season when his brother got married, and now he’s still trying to figure out that path between adulthood and being a devil-may-care kind of guy,” Rimes wrote in her notes on the season. “This season you watch him explore aspects of himself that he did not even know were there. I also think you watch him find the joy in the debauchery of life.”

Not only does this development serve as wish fulfillment for the fans but it’s also sweetly executed. Tilley walks Benedict through his attraction to Paul and embraces him both literally and metaphorically throughout it. As a result, she opens up his world like never before. We won’t say more about how it all plays out, except to note that it’s made very clear that this is a queer awakening and not a passing moment or phase for Benedict. No, it’s a profound, life-changing experience that will have implications for his character moving forward.

Much like the build-up to Colin and Peneolope’s romance, this long-game approach to Benedict’s identity made it all the more satisfying when he fell into bed with his first male lover. We can’t wait to see what happens next.

Maybe it’s just wishful thinking and rainbow-colored glasses, but we still have hopes for Eloise taking a Sapphic turn, and a new character introduced late in the season sure seems to bring a spark to her eye.

What can we say, we’re just hopeless romantics.