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Culture > Entertainment

The season of the wallflower: The Return of “Bridgerton” 

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at SLU chapter.

The highly-anticipated third season of “Bridgerton” will premiere in May. I decided to revisit the previous seasons and books to prepare for the show’s return. During my rewatch, I remembered how much I love the character Penelope Featherington. 

“Bridgerton” is set during the Regency era, when women did not hold much power. However, distinctively, Penelope creates a loyal following to her “Lady Whistledown’s Society Papers,” pamphlets where she reports on gossip in the London community. The rich and titled members of society hold respect for the anonymous Lady Whistledown but don’t revere Penelope in the same way. 

Penelope has spent her whole life disregarded by her community, and no one sees her beauty and intelligence. Even her own mother does not have faith in her to succeed and find a husband; thus, Penelope spends much of her time on the outskirts of the balls, keeping to herself. She is, in other words, the epitome of a wallflower. 

Many people, myself included, see themselves in Penelope’s character. She is a unique example of a romantic lead and will be refreshing to see represented in the media. Nicola Coughlan, the actress who plays Penelope, said in an interview with The Hook, “[The new season is] about people who don’t feel seen and have to learn to love themselves in order to find love in one another.”

In the show, Penelope has been in love with Colin Bridgerton, and the upcoming season will focus on their courtship and relationship. So far, he has been painfully oblivious to her infatuation with him, but he still dances with her at parties when other girls scoff at her. In the season two finale, Penelope overhears Colin talking about her with other men at a party. When one man asks if Colin is romantically interested in Penelope, he asks, “Are you mad?” His response enraged many viewers, especially considering the new season is about them.

As a viewer and reader, I know that Penelope and Colin end up together, and I am excited to see their story adapted, but in light of this brutal rejection, I am curious to see how he redeems himself. 

In the clips released from the new season, Penelope has drastically changed her appearance. She has ditched the yellow dresses her mother made her wear and has a more mature look. Normally, I find that makeover scenes send the wrong message to women, suggesting you must change your appearance to be worthy of love. In Penelope’s case, it is necessary to have a makeover scene—she is adapting this new look to signify her independence. However, I hope Colin does not fall in love with her based on her newfound style and confidence, and instead I would like to see him grovel and profusely apologize for how he treated her, since falling in love with her over a makeover would be extremely problematic and unsatisfying.

The new season of “Bridgerton” will be for those who feel like a wallflower in their own lives. Hopefully, the message of this season will be that you do not need to change your appearance and personality to be worthy of good things. 

Hi! I'm a sophomore at SLU majoring in Communication with a focus in Journalism and Media Studies. I love to read and watch movies, usually in the romance genre. I also love to do my own nails, hang with my cats, and go to concerts! Thanks for reading <3