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Part 1 of "Bridgerton" Season 3 tells Polin's Love Story. TV Review: Delivers Glow-Ups, Deceit, and Some Extremely Attractive Moments

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The first half of Netflix's third season of the critically praised show "Bridgerton," which is set in the 19th century, is back, and fans will find it even more opulent and alluring than before. As a fresh batch of debutantes hit the marriage market, Season 3 begins. Distributing the newest gossip brochure featuring Julie Andrews' character Lady Whistledown, the young women are getting ready to wow Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel). Part 1 of Season 3 has a number of returning characters, developing friendships, and burgeoning romantic relationships that give the program a new lease on life. Nicola Coughlan's outstanding performance as Penelope Featherington sets off the chain reaction that causes all of this transformation.

Penelope is back in London, where we last saw her following a summer spent in the countryside. All around her, though, has changed. Pen is a lone wolf who is still at odds with her former best friend Eloise (Claudia Jesse) after their dramatic blowout at the conclusion of Season 2, and who is furious at Colin (Luke Newton) for his derogatory comments about her. Even if she had previously relied on her role as Lady Whistledown, the idea of being at the whim of her cunning mother Portia (Polly Walker) or her nasty and shallow sisters Philippa (Harriet Cains) has grown intolerable. Penelope concludes that finding a husband is her only option as a result. Unfortunately, it won't work to enter the marriage market for a third season while sporting a ton of awful ringlet curls stacked on her head and loud, gaudy clothes.

Penelope's first chore is to redesign her clothing. She discards her immature citrus dresses. Rather, she dresses in exquisite baby blue and seafoam green silks (made by "Bridgerton" costume designer John Glaser), with hairstylist Erika Ökvist skillfully creating gentle waves and meticulously swirling baby hairs in her red hair. Pen can't buy the moderator's ability to strike up conversations with potential suitors, even with her new appearance.

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Colin is completely at peace with himself and the ladies clamoring for his attention, while Penleope wallows in self-doubt. After traveling around Europe for several months, he has returned to London with a toughened appearance. Colin offers to teach Pen how to flirt with gentlemen out of desperation to win back her favor. Colin, however, begins to see Penelope in a different perspective after witnessing her confidence soar and her attraction to the quirky yet alluring Lord Debling (Sam Phillip).

There has been much admiration for the chemistry between the leads in "Bridgerton" and "Queen Charlotte." Nevertheless, there's something that makes this trip more poignant—watching Colin and Penelope's relationship change from comfortably platonic to lustful and intense. Although Coughlan and Newton have always had a lovely relationship, Part 1's sparkling tension almost explodes from the screen as Colin discovers he has a sexual desire for Penelope, which is demonstrated by his obsession with her lips and his newfound fascination with everything she does. In reality, it almost does toward the end of "Old Friends," Episode 4, during a carriage journey following a ball.

Diversity is the main focus of "Bridgerton," as always. Alice (Emma Naomi) and Will (Martins Imhangbe), the Mondrichs, are no longer confined to the sidelines this season. Additionally, members of the Ton with varying disabilities are included, such as a wheelchair-bound Lord and a deaf debutante. This diversity demonstrates Shondaland and Netflix's dedication to showing the love stories of all six Bridgerton brothers on television while speaking to and reflecting a 21st-century audience of viewers.

Additionally, new showrunner Jess Brownell and her writers deliver some interesting subplots while maintaining Polin as the main focus. They take their time exposing some of the nuances of personalities that were previously just mentioned in passing. The sixth Bridgerton sibling, Francesca (Hannah Dodd in place of Ruby Stokes), is also making her debut as a bride-to-be. Despite having the same grace and beauty as her elder sister Daphne (Phoebe Dynevor), Francesca has different views on relationships and love.

Similar to Pen, Jessica Madsen's blonde and stunning Cressida Cowper is attempting to find a husband for the third consecutive year. Audiences discover that Cressida is more complex than her sarcastic remarks and competitive demeanor. The course of her life, like that of every other woman in the Ton, hinges on her receiving an acceptable marriage proposal, which is no easy task. While Queen Charlotte and Lady Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) continue to control the Ton in the background, this season Ruth Gemmell's Lady Violet Bridgerton gets to do much more than just be a mother.

The beginning of Polin's electrifying romance is marked in "Bridgerton" Season 3, Part 1, however it is only the central plot point. The overarching subject of these first four episodes is pursuing your dreams. Even if different people tackle this strategy in a variety of ways, it is incredibly encouraging to see Penelope select herself and Lady Whistledown even when she is unsure of the result. It serves as a reminder that getting exactly what you want may not always come without a price.