5 Questions the Bridgerton Season 3 Finale Raises for the Next Season

6 minute read

Warning: This contains possible spoilers for both the Bridgerton books and the Netflix series. 

At the end of Season 3 of Bridgerton, we’re left with a buzzing set of cliffhangers and questions about the future of the series, especially after showrunner Jess Brownell told the Hollywood Reporter that it might be another two years before Season 4 is released. Here’s what we’re holding onto from the finale as fans eagerly anticipate the next season. 

What will Benedict’s freewheeling romantic life mean for his love arc?

Bridgerton. (L to R) Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Hannah New as Lady Tilley Arnold in episode 307 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Luke Thompson as Benedict Bridgerton, Hannah New as Lady Tilley Arnold Courtesy of Netflix

Part two of Season 3 gives us more of Benedict Bridgerton venturing outside the rules of high society, this time in a bit of a polycule with widow Tilley Arnold and her boyfriend Paul Suarez. Though this appears to end when Lady Arnold asks him to be monogamous with her, he expresses to her that he is grateful that she opened up his world and that he’s not ready to close it again.

While that may be true for him now, the last few minutes of the episode include Eloise telling Benedict that she’ll see him next year at their mother’s masquerade ball, which book readers know is where Benedict meets his love interest. It seems to be a fairly clear hint that the next season may be all about Benedict.

Though his book plotline is distinctly different from his siblings’ in the extreme class difference between him and his love interest, who in the books is essentially a maid, it remains to be seen how the show will tie in his romantic exploration and his original plotline. The questions aren’t just with Benedict, but with his yet unknown object of affection. Benedict says he’s open to change and exploration—how will his person change him? And where on earth is his art?

Read more: Even Bridgerton Is Flirting With Polyamory

Will we see more of Cressida?

Bridgerton. Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper in episode 306 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper Courtesy of Netflix

Cressida’s plot for money and freedom has been foiled, after some remarkably excellent quips from her to Eloise and Colin Bridgerton, respectively, and by the end of Season 3 she has been shipped off to live with her aunt in god knows where (Wales). 

But is this the last of Cressida? It doesn’t feel like it. Why give us so much screen time exploring Cressida’s heinous home life if she isn’t going to return for, if not a happier ending, then at least an attempt at misguided revenge? Some book fans think that she will be folded into the Cinderella plot of Benedict’s arc, but that remains to be seen. 

Will Lady Whistledown keep writing about gossip…forever?

Bridgerton. Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in episode 307 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington Courtesy of Netflix

In the books, Penelope gives up Whistledown and turns to novel-writing after her secret is revealed to the ton. In the show, she’ll be publishing a gossip sheet under her own name. 

It does sort of make sense if Benedict’s arc is next, as the book version of Whistledown is fairly important to his romantic arc. But Whistledown is still a secret in his book, so the implications of publishing under her real name remain to be seen. How much can she really gossip without anonymity? And will she keep writing the sheet beyond the next season too? 

Read more: A Brief Synopsis of All Eight Bridgerton Books

What does Eloise still need to do to find her own way?

Bridgerton. Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton in episode 307 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Claudia Jessie as Eloise BridgertonCourtesy of Netflix

Finally, Eloise is really ready to leave home after so many siblings have coupled up. Book Eloise understands this too, but while she runs away to the English countryside to meet a man in her book, show Eloise is going somewhere different—to Scotland with Francesca. It is Colin and Penelope’s marriage that spurs book Eloise to make the leap into a love of her own, but it’s fitting that their wedding has launched show Eloise into a realm of self-discovery instead. 

Eloise’s book plot has no Scottish excursion, so her on-screen journey hopefully will provide some much needed introspection so she can finally figure out not just how to get what she needs, but also how to deal with others’ needs as well. On-screen Eloise’s Season 3, part two arc seems to be leading her toward this revelation. It’s also interesting to have a Bridgerton eye on Francesca’s married life; though Eloise swears she will keep to her own in Scotland, she has a way of wandering into other peoples’ business. Will the next season reveal what Eloise needs to get in order before finding her path to love?

How will Michaela complicate Francesca’s arc?

Bridgerton. (L to R) Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Victor Alli as John Stirling in episode 303 of Bridgerton. Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024
Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton, Victor Alli as John Stirling in BridgertonCourtesy of Netflix

In part two of Season three, Francesca gets exactly what she wants: a sweet, intimate wedding to gentle, quiet John Stirling, Earl of Kilmartin. She also reconciles with her mother, who tells her that while she, Violet, has grown to expect the kind of love like her own, in which she was so immediately enamored by the late Edmund Bridgerton that she could not utter her name when they met, Francesca has taught her that there are other, equally valid, equally rich forms of love. 

And then Francesca meets John’s cousin Michaela and can barely eke out her own name upon their introduction. 

In the books, it is John’s cousin Michael who falls in love with Francesca at first sight—notably in the book, Michael is a man. And unlike in other cases, his gender does actually hold some importance in the book; after John’s untimely death, Michael grapples with a lot of self-loathing about taking on the title of the man he loved like a brother, and then coveting his widow. The most interesting question for Franceca’s future is less “what does it mean that she’s bi” (though, to be sure, that’s a pretty interesting question, especially when it looks like Fran has fallen for Michaela first, instead of the other way around like in the book), but how will this change her original plotlines regarding succession of the Kilmartin title and the literal home she has always craved for herself?

Perhaps this is the reason Season 3 gave us Lady Tilley Arnold, a widow who appears to have no heirs and yet has seemingly kept her title and home intact. It might be that we haven’t seen the last of Lady Arnold, either. 

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