'Bridgerton season 3 is an ode to the perks of being a wallflower'

Season three of Bridgerton is here, and this series, wallflowers are blooming like never before. After much anticipation, the love story between Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton is finally unfolding on screen after three years, but while their budding relationship excites viewers, I'm more moved by side characters like Penelope, Francesca and Alice taking centre stage, giving main character energy like never before.

From the first episode, we see these often-forgotten characters fill our screens. Penelope decides to retire her citrus-filled wardrobe in favour of a new look that surprises the rest of the 'ton, as she embarks on the search for a husband. For the music-minded Francesca, she's entering society and finds a moment of solace with fellow wallflower, Penelope, while Alice begins navigating the new world of society.

While the Regency-era balls, gowns and marriage market may feel like worlds away, the themes of feeling out of place, battling societal expectations, difficult familial relationships, being undermined and bullied are all too familiar for most. This is why this season of Bridgerton feels that much more important, poignant and relatable to viewers everywhere, myself included.

bridgerton nicola coughlan as penelope featherington in episode 302 of bridgerton cr laurence cendrowicznetflix © 2023

Like previous seasons, we often find Penelope on the margins of society and stationed beside a window or wall, looking on at the rest of the 'ton. But this time, she's without her best friend, Eloise. Despite a new-founded desire for marriage, she's still secluded from society and made to feel like an outsider by everyone around her, including her own family.

Plus, Penelope's perils of finding a partner? I think we can all relate. While her shy nature might have served her well as a gossip columnist, she has to entrust the help of none other than Colin Bridgerton to aid her in searching for a husband this season. Despite the marriage market of Regency-era London feeling different, the realities of dating is something many viewers will no doubt see themselves in, unlike in other seasons.

As said by executive producer Shonda Rhimes, "This season is a beautiful tribute to the wallflowers of the world. It’s wonderful to watch Penelope become who she is and who she deserves to be. And Colin, he’s as much of a wallflower as she is, really." Nicola Coughlan says the same, "It's the first season in which the leads are not the cool ones... Colin and Penelope, they're nerds and I think all the nerds in the world are ready for their moment."

all about colin and penelope's sex scenes in bridgerton season 3

Aside from Penelope and Colin, Francesca and Alice enter society, and are also doing it for the underdog. As actor Hannah Dodd, who plays Francesca, put it "You will definitely understand who Francesca is. She is not very comfortable with the spotlight that she is thrust into. She has to step away from the shadows of her siblings and work out what she wants. She hasn’t had the courage to think for herself." And still, she finds her voice.

As for Alice, her and Will are joining the 'ton for the first time after a newfound fortune, but soon struggle to adjust to their new way of life and fit into society as those who were once pushed to the sidelines. From Will being looked down upon for continuing his career to their business being shunned, their struggle to be accepted in society is all too relatable. But that doesn't mean they'll go down without a fight.

From Penelope and Colin to Francesca and Alice, this season of Bridgerton shows you don't have to be the loudest person in the room to be worthy of love and acceptance, whether that be romantic, familial or from society. Penelope, Francesca and Alice are doing it for the wallflowers, and they're blooming brighter than ever.

Bridgerton is streaming on Netflix now.

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