How the Bridgerton Season 3 Ending Sets Up Season 4

Bridgerton season 3 part 2 concludes Colin and Penelope's big storyline while setting up even bigger seasons to come.

Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 308 of Bridgerton.
Photo: Liam Daniel | Netflix

This article contains spoilers for Bridgerton season 3 part 2.

Netflix has released the conclusion to Penelope and Colin’s love story with Bridgerton season 3 part 2. Bridgerton seasons tend to end on happy notes even if there’s a lot of drama to get there, but audiences may still have questions about the hows and whys of this particular finale. Thankfully, that’s where we come in.

Here’s how the ending of Bridgerton season 3 part 2 shakes out and what it means for the show going forward. As of publication, Netflix has not confirmed Bridgerton season 4 but the series will likely be renewed due to the soaring popularity of season 3 and previous seasons. 

Does Colin Forgive Penelope?

After Colin (Luke Newton) discovers that his fiancee Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) is the real Lady Whistledown only a week before the wedding, they have to contend with this secret being revealed changing how they feel about one another. Colin tries to separate Lady Whistledown’s actions from his feelings about Penelope but he ends up realizing Penelope is a witty and at times harsh author. Penelope defeats Cressida’s (Jessica Madsen) blackmail campaign by confessing to being the real Lady Whistledown and issues a public apology in front of Queen Charlotte. Colin and Penelope end the season reconciled and enjoying the beginnings of their life together.

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The final scene of the season features Penelope and Colin’s son, the future Lord Featherington. The show, in fact, moves Colin and Penelope’s romance a little further along than the Bridgerton novels do at this point. It doesn’t matter if Penelope’s son is younger than his female cousins. His birth secures the future of the Featheringtons. Colin will likely help Portia manage the Featherington estate affairs until his son is old enough to take over.

The second epilogue of season 3’s novel inspiration Romancing Mr. Bridgerton refers to Colin publishing his travel memoirs with Penelope’s editorial assistance. Season 4 will likely feature this as well in addition to Penelope’s pivot away from toxicity. The only difference between the show and the novel is that Colin had several years’ worth of travel stories to publish versus a four-month trip. 

Who Is Michaela Stirling?

Francesca (Hannah Dodd) and John (Victor Alli) are moving to Stirling Castle in Scotland for a quiet and cozy life. The final episode introduces a new member of the Stirling family, John’s cousin Michaela played by Masali Baduza. He’s happy to have her along for the ride along with a hungry-for-new scenery Eloise (Claudia Jessie). Season 4 will undoubtedly show Michaela bonding with Francesca and Eloise as well as John and Francesca settling into married life. 

Book readers will quickly recognize that John’s cousin in the book series was a man named Michael. It’s way too soon to tell how Bridgerton will adapt the bulk of Francesca’s novel It’s In His Kiss as those events take place several years after Colin and Penelope’s wedding. There’s a good chance the screenwriters will throw in a twist if show watchers turn to the book canon for answers.

Will Kate and Anthony Return From India?

Kate (Simone Ashley) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) are choosing to stay in India for an extended period so that Kate remains connected to her culture. Their child will grow up fully immersed in both sides of their heritage, which is a wonderful thing. Unlike the previous storylines mentioned, this has no precedent in the books because Kate and Edwina were white in the novels. 

Some fans may feel this storyline is further shortchanging onscreen development of the Kanthony relationship. Jonathan Bailey was filming Fellow Travelers and Bridgerton season 3 simultaneously but he prioritized Bridgerton. This means the writers may have considered his schedule when writing the Kate and Anthony story. The writers would have made an even bigger error not mentioning Kate and Anthony’s plans in episode 8. Now that several actors from seasons 1 and 2 have chosen not to come back for cameo or recurring roles, the writers have to plan for the possibility that other projects may affect Simone Ashley or Jonathan Bailey’s filming availability.  

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Who Gets The Featherington Fortune?

Some viewers may wonder why Penelope didn’t offer up the Lady Whistledown profits at the end of season 2 when their fraudulent cousin escaped with all their money. At that point in the story, chances were very high that Portia (Polly Walker) would have punished Penelope in some way for attempting any semblance of independence as an unmarried woman. There is also the possibility of Penelope losing editorial control of the Whistledown column or the column being used for political or social propaganda.

Penelope using the profits immediately after Queen Charlotte’s men were searching for Lady Whistledown at the end of season 2 would have resulted in the solicitor sniffing around even sooner. Penelope rightfully saved her earnings for the rainy day of making her sisters’ dreams come true and keeping Portia out of legal hot water with the crown lawyer. 

Why Is Benedict Still Single?

Season 3 skipped over Benedict’s novel An Offer from a Gentleman which depicted Benedict (Luke Thompson) finding love when he least expected a serious relationship. Benedict deciding to part ways with Lady Tilley as he’s not ready to commit to an exclusive long-term relationship is in line with the novel series showing Benedict having several casual relationships before he meets his future spouse at an unexpected moment. Season 4 focusing on Benedict’s romance is the most plausible scenario. 

Bridgerton’s alternate universe up to this point has only depicted queer relationships in private. However future seasons may use Benedict’s queer identity onscreen to move the ton towards depicting openly queer couples. Some viewers will likely be disappointed that the rumor that Masali Baduza was playing Benedict’s future spouse did not come to pass. Masali Baduza’s fans should take comfort in the fact that playing Michaela Stirling is still a great opportunity for her to gain more international attention as Michaela is not going to be a one-off character.

What Can We Expect From Season 4?

There are some obvious possibilities regarding the direction of season 4 if you compare the book canon to the television timeline. Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) will continue to rule the ton and there is also a possibility that showrunner Shonda Rhimes may revisit the prequel series Queen Charlotte or feature her adult children. It remains to be seen if any more major historical events from her reign will feature in Bridgerton. Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) has made her peace with her brother Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) but she is still concerned about Violet getting to know Marcus better as well. Will (Martins Imhangbe) and Alice Mondrich (Emma Naomi) are only just getting started with making their mark on the ton. 

What about the remaining Bridgerton siblings? Gregory and Hyacinth are still too young to do anything other than have playdates with their baby cousins and the Mondrich kids. Gregory could go to boarding school as he did in the novels but that still takes him out of the marriage market. Eloise’s book (which contains a future character spoiler in the title) follows the events of Colin’s book. Eloise’s trip to Scotland and her plans for social change may offer some space in the plot, however, there may still be a time jump or events occurring offscreen to realign Eloise’s story.

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All episodes of Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte are available to stream on Netflix.