Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 review: Penelope Featherington finally has the spotlight and she ain't done!

Shachi Lavingia
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Bridgerton Season 3 part 2

Scripted by Shondaland, the focus throughout this season remains solely on Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) and via her, on fat women like me who want it all.

Bridgerton Season 3 Part 2 review: As hard as it is to simply exist in society as a woman, you're also observed, fawned over and sought out - you're the diamond of most seasons. But exist as a fat woman and watch yourself become invisible. As unfortunate as this reality is in the world of Bridgerton and our own, atleast in fiction we come across fat women who indeed do get it all; like a makeover that helps Penelope embrace herself better, a steamy romance with Colin and the attention from society that both of these factors bring her. While part 1 was all about her overcoming her discomfort of making conversation with the Lords of Mayfair and the way she carried herself, barring one hot and steamy carriage scene, part 2 focuses on her identity as Lady Whistledown and how she struggles with the idea of letting this part of her go and be content solely as Mrs. Colin Bridgerton. This is highlighted in a scene where Penelope asks her mother, "What about my dreams?" and Lady Featherington says, "What dreams? Ladies do not have dreams. They have husbands." Oh man, did this hit home! Mayfair or India, women aren't allowed to want more.

But this season and more importantly, part 2 makes sure that Penelope is seen for all that she is - a clever, quick witted, fierce, sexy, kind, independant and fat woman who always has something to say. She's finally seen in equal measure as Lady Whistledown while the whole ton makes it their mission to uncover her identity. Pen's journey has been wrapped up rather remarkably this season; it's almost like the attention on her is meant to make up for being thought of as invisible. Even when the storyline progresses onto the other characters, it's effortlessly brought back to her to accentuate everything she is - the good, bad and the ugly. Her ambition, her need for wanting to hold on to her identity, her frustration when she isn't heard, all of it reflected my own.

Having said that, Bridgerton season 3 really did Colin dirty; there isn't enough of him for the audience to anchor themselves to. And it leaves you wondering what traveling across Europe got him. Throughout this season, he's seen lost in thought while he makes impulsive decisions. He's also heavily missing from Penelope's life. And as much as the feminist in me loved living in Penelope's world, I also yearned for their relationship to unfold before me. Episode 5 shows one of the hottest and sexiest scenes I've ever watched onscreen where Penelope is standing in front of the mirror and Colin makes her look at herself the way he sees her. This and the scene where he asks her to lie down are scenes that will be remembered for years to come because they feel like they're written for women. Sometimes discomfort comes from truly seeing yourself for the first time and that's what I experienced when I watched this scene and part 2 as a whole. But that's all that this season gives you from Polin! The angst and sexual tension that you're used to expecting from Bridgerton and from a plot like this is left hanging in the air, between you and the screen. 

Also Read: Bridgerton Season 3 Part 1 review: Nicola Coughlan shines in a not so angsty first half

While the plot of these four episodes is more or less disclosed in the trailer, part 2 also has tons of surprises. Penelope's mother, Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) stops us in our tracks with her new found warmth towards her daughter. Not knowing how to relate to one of your children because they're so different from you, is all too familiar for quite a few of us. Portia is able to notice Penelope for probably the first time ever, only when a man, no, a Bridgerton was interested in her because that's the only way she was taught to see someone's worth. What initially looks like, and is possibly, her sucking up to the Bridgertons, the further you go into part 2, you see her confiding in Penelope while she talks about what she had to do to take care of her family. Openly admitting her wrongs brings her closer to her daughter and they're able to be each other confidants, albiet briefly. This relationship was so wholesome to watch that, for a second, it almost made up for Colin's absence this season.

What this season lacks in the Polin department, it tries to make up by showing Benedict's journey of coming to terms with his sexuality as he allows himself to explore this side of him. Lady Violet Bridgerton, too, is seen being taken in by Lord Marcus Anderson, Lady Danbury's brother and a fresh face this season. Watching her infatuation grow in scenes where she takes notice of his lips to taking the lead by inviting him to balls, this is the first time in three seasons that Bridgerton has shown a mother also yearning for more. Part 2 did leave me wondering what a season dedicated to Francesca would look like given how this one already showed her be the diamond of the season and get married. But that moment when she pulled back after her first kiss with her husband and the even weirder interaction with his cousin has me excited for her own season.

Friendship too has been realistically portrayed in this season. Eloise and Pen didn't make up overnight just because Pen was getting married, even though they were atleast talking to each other. Their friendship took time, just as most do. Watching Eloise understand why Pen took on the alias of Lady Whistledown was rather wholesome as someone who perpetually roots for female friendships. As annoying as Cressida Cowper was, her helplessness was easy to relate to. While being raised in a man's world, sometimes desperate times do call for desperate measures.

If you're a Bridgerton fan, you cannot possible miss the background score and every other pop cover this series covers. Imagine Dragons' Thunder, Coldplay's Yellow and Taylor Swift's You Belong with Me were just was this season needed and boy did they make you swoon!

Bridgerton season 3 part 2 is currently streaming on Netflix! Not sure about you but I'm surely looking forward to season 4!

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