‘Bridgerton’ Season 3 Part 1 Ending Explained: Does Lord Debling Propose To Penelope?

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“Dearest, gentle reader,” the long wait has finally paid off, and just as the ton is shocked by all the gossip written by Lady Whistledown, this season has left us gasping in shock more than once. And just for a mere four episodes! However, after watching Bridgerton‘s Part 1 ending, I suppose I can see why we’ve been left to wait yet another month to see where things lead. Colin and Penelope’s story is far from a whirlwind romance. In fact, it’s the complete opposite of that. What I worried about was whether Penelope and Colin would be able to keep us engaged even when we already knew the expected outcome of their perilous friendship. Another surprise is that this season is as focused on Francesca as it is on the third brother, Colin, and we also get to see more of Benedict’s exploits than expected, which is always great fun, though I guess we’re meant to be preparing for a rather grand fourth season. 

Season 3 begins with a new look for Penelope and a new mindset as well. She’s ready to put herself out there in the marriage market, thanks to the loss of a beautiful but dwindling friendship. On the other hand, her dear friend Eloise is as far from finding a suitor for herself as ever, especially now that her mother has another one of them to focus on, young Francesca. This season doesn’t see a diamond, but it surely sees “shimmer” in Violet’s 3rd daughter, Francesca Bridgerton, who impresses the queen through her pianoforte skills.  On Colin’s return from his traveling endeavors, where he visited 17 whole cities, he’s completely changed, and it seems the whole ton is after the transformed Bridgerton brother. They say this season is for the wallflowers, and it most certainly lives up to that reputation because the second-hand embarrassment one feels watching Penelope make a fool of herself is unbearable, to say the least. Yet she’s able to find her confidence and her true self and is willing to showcase them in society despite the odds not favoring her. 

As if that isn’t chaotic enough, Eloise has befriended Cressida, a sworn enemy whom she promised never to get along with. And more surprising is that Cressida is actually a decent person who has her own struggles to deal with. Also, why is nobody talking about how she’s been on the marriage market for as long as Penelope? Hasn’t she been around since Daphne? My math is bad, but I’m sure things aren’t adding up for her either. 


Who is Lord Debling? 

I suppose this season focuses on the oddballs in their families. It’s a season that is for those looking for their own purpose, for those of us who feel unseen. There’s Francesca, who doesn’t appreciate the attention, unlike her siblings; Penelope, the wallflower whose mother is certain she’s good for nothing; Colin, the man with no real identity; Cressida, who’s got it all but not really; and then Lord Debling, who is so in love with nature that he doesn’t like to be in society at all. Lord Debling is looking for a practical match, something that all the ladies of London talk about, but it is most certain that they’re, in fact, looking for a love match. Penelope included. In episode 4 of Bridgerton season 3, part 1, Lord Debling plans on asking Penelope to marry him; he’s even asked her mother for permission. When they’re on the dance floor, Penelope asks Debling if he thinks there is a chance for love between them, hinting at the thought that, despite agreeing to a practical marriage, she is indeed looking for love. Then they’re interrupted by Colin, who looks rather disheveled (only facially, of course) and determined to make sure Pen doesn’t end up with Debling. But why? Well, the answer’s obvious. He wants her now that she’s got somebody else’s attention. 

Well, not exactly. It seems Colin had to kiss Penelope for him to realize his feelings for her (ugh), and now all he can think to do is make excuses for why she shouldn’t marry Debling. On the other hand, Cressida takes the opportunity to shine a light on the fact that Penelope and Colin have been friends since they’ve been living opposite each other, allowing Debling to see why Penelope loved her little drawing-room window. Putting the pieces together, Debling realizes that if Penelope is in love with another man, he can’t just leave her alone for as many years as he plans to. He asks Penelope if she wishes for Colin to fall in love with her, and when she hesitates to answer, he leaves her. 


Who does Francesca choose? 

In the meantime, Francesca seems to be in her own love triangle with Lord Kilmartin and Lord Samadani (a suitor hand-picked by the queen). Though she seems like the most practical out of all the Bridgerton siblings, it seems she ends up finding the perfect love match in Kilmartin, a fellow outcast. At the end of Part 1, Violet realizes Francesca’s picked Kilmartin and is happy for her; however, we don’t know how the queen’s going to react to this situation, seeing as it is the second time her trying to play Cupid has not worked at all. 


How does Colin propose? 

Trying to fight back her tears, Penelope is ready to run out of the ball when her mother asks how she was at fault for getting rid of Debling. This hurts Pen’s feelings further, and she finds a carriage unchaperoned to go home. However, shockingly, Colin follows the cart and enters it, leaving them in very close proximity. Colin then admits that he’s been dreaming about Penelope ever since that kiss and can’t get her out of his mind. She’s quite uncertain as to what he’s saying at first, but ultimately, she confesses that she’d like to be much more than friends as well. They end up doing the nasty in the cart (Penelope Featherington!), and then, at the end of episode 4 of Bridgerton season 3, part 1, Colin asks Penelope Featherington if she’ll be his wife. 

Of course, Penelope doesn’t give an answer, but if you’re wondering why there are still four episodes remaining of the show, well, much is to be revealed! Specifically, Whistledown’s identity because Colin has vowed to ruin her life. Will Penelope get the happiness she deserves? Or will the ton that so loves her gossip sheet not accept her for who she truly is—the wallflower who got it all? 


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Ruchika Bhat
Ruchika Bhat
When not tending to her fashion small business, Ruchika or Ru spends the rest of her time enjoying some cinema and TV all by herself. She's got a penchant for all things Korean and lives in drama world for the most part.

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