Home TV Shows Reviews Netflix ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Part 1 Review - New leads, No chemistry

Netflix ‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Part 1 Review - New leads, No chemistry

In the third season, Penelope is finally ready to let go of her long-held affection for Colin. However, this does not imply she is finished with love. Instead, Penelope has decided it is time to marry.

Leigh Doyle - Thu, 16 May 2024 07:49:51 +0100 3670 Views
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The new showrunner, Jess Brownell, brings back Bridgerton for its third season, with Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) taking over as lead, trying to get over her crush on Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) after hearing him speak so cruelly about her last season. She has decided it is time to find a husband but lacks the confidence and skill to do so. Colin has returned (again) from his summer travels with another new look and an attempt at swagger and charm, upset to get Penelope’s cold shoulder. Aside from being the season rake, his other plot is to help Penelope find a match so that he can prove how much she means to him but he must grapple with his realized feelings for her. Complicating it all is the rift between Penelope and Eloise (Claudia Jessie), who is torn between helping her new friend and trying to stay out of Lady Whistledown’s crossfire.

Fans wanting to see more of Kate (Simone Ashley) and Anthony (Jonathan Bailey) will be sorely disappointed with the minimal scenes they have in the first episode before they are carted away. It could be to make room for the new leads, but their presence is sorely missed. Instead, the main Bridgerton of the season is Colin, but with his one-note expression and exact same tonal inflection, there is nothing to captivate or draw you in with this Bridgerton. Extra effort is made to see the new lead as a rake (regency-era slang for player) and the catch of the season, but no matter how much exposition Brownell must have insisted on, it does not translate into the reality of the scene or season. There are many instances where Colin in his new pirate get-up and overly styled hair has swarms of ladies drooling over him in an over-the-top manner; it feels like a cruel joke to how uncharismatic he is. Often, the show will force him into a shirtless situation just to show off the much-talked-about "glow-up,"  but the dull presence cannot be helped by the overuse of skin being put on display. There is one moment at the beginning of the season where Colin picks up a glove for a lady, slowly kisses her hand, and then gives a comically cringe-inducing wink almost to the camera that can be used as an example of how the rest of his season will go: he gives nothing, and the extras have to do the work by over-the-top acting whenever he walks in the room.

As Penelope, Nicola Coughlan makes for a good lead as she navigates the marriage market more seriously than she has in the past to secure her independence. She is a delight to watch, taking on a lead role with the ease of the spotlight that her character lacks. It’s relatable, and she carries the wallflower personality with her even though she goes through her own metamorphosis both physically and mentally. When a scandal rocks her, she shows her strength, becomes more at ease, and acquires the attention of the most eligible bachelor of the season. Unfortunately, she throws it away for Colin in the friends-to-lovers trope.

At many Bridgerton events, Brownell promised a more risqué season and hyped up many moments between the new leading pair. We see them touch hands after Colin cuts him, we see them kiss after Penelope begs him to do so, dream of each other, and we see the much-anticipated carriage scene that book fans have longed to see and excitedly awaited. However, there is nothing there in terms of sparks or anything other than over-the-top moans and strained expressions that look painful and awkward—the opposite of what anyone wants from a romance drama.

Other characters do make up for the clunky, forced feel of "Polin,” such as the Featherington plot and race for a male heir to guarantee their survival and the friendship formed by Eloise and Cressida. There are new dynamics in the supporting characters that make up for the lack of sparkle with the leads and maintain Bridgerton’s quality, but it feels like two plots are going on, and not in a good way. It is interesting to note that neither Penelope nor Colin have friends or family they can speak to about their respective situations. In fact, the series tries to push Anthony’s friends onto Colin in yet another attempt to make him Bailey’s failed replacement.

Unlike other seasons of Bridgerton, season three gives minimal sparks between the leads, even though they have been showing Penelope’s long-held crush at every moment they can. Penelope has more agency, the very thing she craves, when she is away from Colin, who sucks the life, fun, and spark out of the season. It is a hope that Bridgerton continues their trademark of relegating the current seasons to a background role for the future, as any further showing of Colin would be a detriment to the series. Since he is fond of traveling and makes a point to have that as his entire personality, it is a hope that is what he will do in the future. Too much time was spent on the “glow-ups” over character development or making a performance salvageable in terms of Colin as if the show thought a new look would be enough for his lack of personality and inability to act more than pursed lips and one-tone voice.

Final Score- [4/10]
Reviewed by - Leigh Doyle
Publisher at Midgard Times



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