Although Society Has Changed, “Bridgerton” Reminds Us Women Will Always Want These Two Things

What has occurred of late, dearest reader? Indeed, let us examine the latest tidbits of news and scandal that have fluttered about the ton!

By Anna Hugoboom4 min read

It’s amusing to see the guilty pleasure, love-hate relationship so many girls have with Bridgerton. Many enjoy it because it’s refreshing to have a show of pretty dresses and elegant language that shows off a woman’s dignity, so to speak, and Bridgerton makes it entertaining with plenty of comic relief. With the complications of our dating world, all the apps and hookup culture, some might think they had a simplified approach to making a match back then. And, of course, we girls do love the suspenseful thrill of a dramatic plot slowly unraveling! It’s so much more intriguing for our female psyches than the guy movies of nonstop fighting and gunfire with little to no dialogue (no offense, Terminator). 

Most of all, even though plenty of girls will joke about “marrying rich” or wanting to find someone with a good resume, deep down, women love a romance like Bridgerton because women seek two specific things, regardless of time period. Bridgerton may be set in another century and show a different approach to life, but we still want these same two things: love and stability. It’s ingrained in the feminine psychology to seek a mate who will love her and protect her (providing for her is included). For men, the priority is to feel respected; for women, the priority is to feel loved. We want meaningful connection – in friendship as well as romance – to love well and to be loved well, and we want stability in love as well as in practical life. When this is lacking, there’s the very real fear of rejection and loneliness. 

Recap: A Return to Society

After a brief pause following the dramatic curtain on Penelope and Colin and their passionate episode in the carriage, we return to our characters and their dilemmas of life. The “Polin” plot is thickening, and we knew from the teaser trailer that the big question remained: Would Penelope gather enough courage and humility to reveal her alter-identity to the man of her desires?

Everyone’s tittle-tattle isn’t helping, and Penelope’s fears are wearing on her. If she becomes the public laughingstock, she will be alone, single, and ostracized forever, doomed to a life of spinsterhood in poverty. Not to mention, she will lose the love of the man she adores. We see that Eloise would never let her brother marry into a lie. And not only that, but the Queen herself has declared a substantial reward for whoever discovers the identity of the notorious Lady Whistledown. Eloise gives an ultimatum: Penelope must tell Colin “by midnight at the ball,” or she will tell him herself. What to do, indeed!


Penelope’s Crisis

After leaving Lady Featherington’s bluster, Pen and Colin end up prematurely consummating their love by having sex in their future house while Colin was giving her a peek into their future life (quite the peek, Colin). Afterward, Pen almost tells him about Whistledown, but her efforts are interrupted. In the following scene, we see that the Queen puts out a reward for Whistledown’s identity. 

Later, Penelope has a a panic attack at party charades and faints just as Cressida claims she is Lady Whistledown (desperately thinking she wouldn’t have to marry the elderly Lord Greer and can live off the Queen’s reward). Once recovered, Pen and Eloise reunite in their mutual upset over the lie, and in the process, they realize how much they have missed each other. Penelope emphatically refuses to let Cressida take credit for her work. Pen adores Colin, who has found himself in love with her, but she cannot marry Colin without being honest, even though she knows he detests what Whistledown has done. Eloise advocates for Pen to put down her pen and take this way out without breaking Colin’s heart.


Cressida is marched to the queen, who instantly catches that there’s foul play at hand. Pen is determined not to let Cressida have the last word, but Colin discovers her in the night outside the printer shop and is outraged that she lied to him. Pen is torn and in tears but feels she cannot shut down this part of herself. However, Colin is a man of his word and is still set on getting married – out of honor, if nothing else, especially since they were intimate together. But in the days that follow, the estranged lovebirds raise questions of concern in those close to them.

Who Wins?

Although Penelope debates whether or not to lay down her pen, with Cressida’s blackmail, Colin seeks to protect his wife and tries to solve the issue, to only make things worse. Penelope decides honesty is the best policy, especially since her alias is costing her the happiness of marriage and estranges her from her best friend.

The final showdown at the ball of Penelope against the world is endearing to see. After an introduction from the Queen, who is over the moon she finally has Whistledown down at her whistle (pun intended), Penelope emphatically apologizes for her abuse of power and stinging words of the past and is committed to using her pen for the good of society.


Her heartfelt statements win Colin back to a place of understanding and respect, not to mention awe at her skill with words. His humble admission of envy, as well as his desire to protect her, brought a smile to my face. Penelope and Colin reconfirm their love for each other and happily embrace their marriage. You can’t help but sigh with contentment at seeing Penelope finally where she deserves to be: happily married to the love of her life, reunited with her best friend, at peace with her family, and praised for her skill. She has her love and stability. 

Life Then & Now

Even though this show gives fairytale vibes with its vibrant colors and perfectly picturesque sets, some problems of that historical time are still very real today, which also makes it relatable. Society has changed, but humans haven’t. For instance, all those in romantic relationships know that it’s more than sparkles and butterflies; life becomes very real when we meet the other person’s faults, approach toward life, and even possibly some secret skeletons in the closet. You have to decide what you can compromise on regarding the question of compatibility for love’s sake. And, of course, there are the ever-present opinions of those in society.

Let’s face it, though. In the end, all the little side plots and fluffy additions of numerous characters add to the entertainment of Bridgerton. If it were just one couple in the spotlight per season, perhaps audiences would grow bored. And the different side characters do contribute to the main plot. We sympathize more with Penelope after seeing how ridiculous and superficial her family is. Eloise has her frustrations but is brought back into friendship with Pen after Cressida’s selfish antics. Lady Featherington has her money schemes, Francesca her quiet love (turned doubtful, as we see at the end), and Lady Bridgerton has to balance her thoughts as a mother with those as a woman.

It was so disappointing that the show put Benedict in the middle of a threesome and turned him bisexual, as if his character wasn’t already “floating, purposeless, with no discernable path forward,” to use his own words to his brothers. Even if this was not historically inaccurate, this seduction to a new sexual orientation was a huge deviation from Benedict’s original character in the book. The show has done its best to slip in a liberal agenda at any opportunity, so it’s hardly surprising. However, Tilly’s belated self-realization of wanting a serious relationship, that she actually loves Benedict and is not fulfilled by casual sex, only proves the point further that women do want quality connections and true love over hookup culture

Closing Thoughts

We will see in the next season what happens with Lady Bridgerton’s admirer, which sex is Anthony’s baby, and whether or not Francesca actually finds her peace in Scotland. It’ll be interesting to see Penelope’s comeback after discarding her alias and how she will juggle the notoriety with her mission towards positivity (as well as her life with her charming husband, of course). In the end, you can’t help but feel happy for “Polin.” Colin has embraced his manhood, Penelope has peace in her life’s work, and their love is united.

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