book spoilers

What to Expect in Bridgerton Season 3, Based on the Novels

Here’s looking at you, Number Two. Photo: LIAM DANIEL/NETFLIX

Okay Kate and Anthony, we love you, but it’s time to get the hell out of here! I mean, don’t go too far, but enough to make room for another couple and another Bridgerton to step into the spotlight for season three.

As you must know by now, Netflix’s steamy Regency era romance series Bridgerton is based on a series of novels by Julia Quinn, and each of those books focuses on just one Bridgerton sibling and their great love story. Season one of the show was based on the first novel, The Duke and I, which told the story of Daphne Bridgerton’s successful foray into high society London’s marriage mart in which she gained a whole lot of life lessons — and an affinity for spoons — from the dashing Duke of Hastings. Season two then put the spotlight on eldest Bridgerton, Anthony, who is the main protagonist in the second of Quinn’s novels, The Viscount Who Loved Me, where he has a whole Pride and Prejudice–type deal with Kate, who has excellent taste in both pall mall mallets and corgis.

The TV series is very much an adaptation of the novels and makes changes, or pulls from future novels, as needed, but the powers behind Bridgerton have made clear that they’d like a new sibling to take the lead each season. They’ve yet to announce which Bridgerton will be headlining season three, but if they follow the novels, book three is An Offer From a Gentleman and it’s all about Benedict Bridgerton finding true love. Bridgerton Number Two does seem like a likely suspect for the hot seat after the events of this past season — and I’m not talking about him getting high out of his mind off of spiked tea, but I’m also not not talking about that — but they’ve been a bit coy and withholding about making it official (how very Regency era of them). Perhaps the show will dive a bit deeper into Romancing Mister Bridgerton, the fourth novel, which tells the story of Colin falling for a certain gossip queen. Who knows? Only time and an official press release will tell. Until then, let’s once again talk about a few possibilities of things that could grace our screens in next season based on what we know from the novels.

Is it true? Could it be? Will we get to see how Bridgerton throws a masquerade ball?? We are not worthy.

Masquerade! Paper faces on parade! Okay, that’s from Phantom of the Opera but I don’t care. The mere possibility of getting to see how the team behind Bridgerton would throw the Bridgerton Masquerade Ball that kicks off Benedict’s novel has me hyped. The show is already a spectacle and now there’s going to be costumes?? And not just any costumes, baby. In An Offer From a Gentleman’s masquerade we get Eloise as Joan of Arc (so on brand!), Penelope as a very sad leprechaun (unfortunately, also on brand), and the other Featheringtons as pieces of fruit (sure, why not!). If that’s the book’s take, you know the show’s will only be bigger and better. And since a masquerade ball seems ripe for the Bridgerton world, what with its excess and hidden identities and unmasking, I can only assume they’ve held off on doing one thus far so that they can do right by Benedict’s big meeting with a mysterious woman. Don’t let us down, Bridgerton, we all need this!!

Benedict Bridgerton will get the fairy-tale treatment.

If season three does put Benedict in the hot seat, you should brush up on your Cinderella. An Offer From a Gentleman is pretty much a Regency era retelling of the classic fairy tale, right down to the evil stepmother and stepsisters. (Okay, one of the stepsisters isn’t so bad.) Benedict’s love interest in the novel is Sophie Beckett, the bastard daughter of an Earl, who ends up taking her in when her mother, a maid, dies. Things are fine until he gets remarried to a woman named Araminta and she and her two daughters, Rosamund and Posy, move in. Araminta hates Sophie from the start and when the Earl dies, she keeps Sophie around but as a servant. As you might have guessed, Sophie ends up at the Bridgerton masquerade, in costume and mask, and Benedict mistakes her for a lady of the ton. They dance and make out and in a little over an hour, Benedict is head over heels for her. And then she’s gone. He searches for years and doesn’t want to marry anyone else lest she show up, but has no luck finding her. He ends up running into Sophie under different circumstances when she’s a servant at a new house and he doesn’t recognize her at all as the woman he loves, but does recognize that he would still like to have sex with this new, other woman. There’s all this stuff about Benedict offering to make Sophie his mistress, which I don’t remember from Cinderella, and hopefully the show makes that whole aspect a little bit more palatable. Anyway, true love reigns!

At the end of season two of Bridgerton, we watch as Benedict, who has just learned that Anthony bought his spot at the Royal Academy rather than Benedict earning it with his own artistic talents, seems to toss aside his dreams of becoming an artist for good. (Like, he literally puts away all of his art tools.) It’s actually a great setup in order for TV Benedict to get into the headspace where we find Book Benedict before he falls for Sophie. In the book, at one point Benedict remarks that he loves Sophie because she is so sure of herself, who she is, and what she does and doesn’t want, whereas Benedict, who has lived so much of his life being “Number Two” and treated accordingly, is insecure about who he is and who he wants to be. He’s scared to go after what he wants (in the books, he keeps his art a secret from his family for a while). So, who knows? Maybe Bridgerton’s comic relief is ready to seriously fall for someone.

Or will things start to get serious for Colin and Penelope?

Here’s the thing: Season two of Bridgerton also does a nice job of teeing up Colin for his big romantic turn, which in the books, happens in book four, Romancing Mister Bridgerton. In that novel, Colin has just returned from his travels in Greece and Cyprus — and won’t stop talking about it — and feels adrift without any kind of purpose. That’s our Colin, right? Moreover, that devastating scene in the finale in which Penelope overhears Colin saying he’d never marry her? That happens in the books before those two crazy kids finally get together. In the books, Colin actually says that to his brothers in An Offer From a Gentleman and instead of running away, Penelope responds that she never asked him to marry her and it is extremely awkward for everyone involved. Penelope carries that moment of humiliation with her for a while — the entire scene is replayed in Romancing Mister Bridgerton — and uses it as a way to push aside her silly crush (for a while). So really all we’d need now is for Colin to begin to see Penelope in a new light, as more than “just Pen.”

On the flip side, it’s hard to see TV Penelope as ready for her big moment just yet. There’s that heartbreak over the Colin conversation she overheard, of course, and also with how things went down with both Queen Charlotte and Eloise, it seems like Pen is going to have a lot of Whistledown drama to deal with the next time we see her. In the novels, it does take Penelope and Colin over ten years to finally get together, so if the show does want to wait a little longer to pull the trigger, there is precedent.

This one’s for the horndogs: There will probably be more sex.

Benedict’s horny on main, we know this. While the other Bridgertons are out worrying about what is proper and what is not and/or becoming obsessed with opera singers, Benedict is out there living that sort-of bohemian lifestyle (as much as a lord from a distinguished family can). In season one, he was down for a three-way and a casual relationship with Genevieve Delacroix. In season two, he was off to art school where his favorite course was Model Humping 101. While Anthony had repression baked into his character, Benedict does not. So, yeah, Benedict and Sophie have some pretty sweaty scenes together. Are you happy now?

It might be time to formally introduce Francesca Bridgerton.

With two of the eight Bridgerton siblings now officially off the Marriage Mart, it could be time to tag in Bridgerton number six, Francesca, for a more prominent role. In the TV series thus far, she’s the Bridgerton we’ve seen the least: In season one, she’s visiting family in Bath until she appears in the final episode, and in season two, she’s around for the first few episodes before disappearing for the rest of the season (this was apparently due to a scheduling issue with Ruby Stokes).

Sure, the Francesca-focused novel When He Was Wicked is, like Frannie herself, the sixth in line, but it feels like it’s time to start developing her story for several reasons. For one, it plays out over several years and that’s because technically, Francesca has two love stories. In the novels, she is happily married for two years before her husband tragically dies, and years later she ends up in an interesting entanglement with a somewhat complicated figure (well, I don’t want to give it all away). Because her story covers several years, her book, Colin and Penelope’s book, and Eloise’s all end up intersecting. Obviously, the show doesn’t have to follow suit with any of this, but if it is moving forward with any of those characters’ stories, there’s opportunity to toss Francesca in the mix and at least get the first part of her story going soon. Lastly, Francesca has a different vibe than her siblings. In the books, she’s sort of an outlier in the Bridgertons — she’s more reserved, and though she loves her family, she isn’t one for all the commotion that seems to follow them wherever the Bridgertons go. It would be interesting to see how she interacts with her siblings. The girl’s gotta make her debut sometime, right?

What to Expect in Bridgerton Season 3, Based on the Novels