DISCLAIMER: This recap of Bridgerton Season 3 Episode 5, “Tick Tock,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril. 

Dearest Gentle Reader,

Season 3, Part 2 is finally here. “Tick Tock” sees Polin getting a beautiful sex scene full of consent and equal participation (and female pleasure!). We’re also blessed with the mirror scene. The quest to identify Lady Whistledown really takes flight as Cressida unmasks herself as the scandal sheet writer to wriggle out of an unwanted engagement. Oh, and that ultimatum. Eloise isn’t playing. 

All in all, it’s a solid outing for the series that plays with the romance tropes Bridgerton does so well—sweet love, steamy bodice-ripping and juicy drama. 

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An Engagement 

We open with narration from Lady Whistledown (Julie Andrews) as Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) leads Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) inside his home after their steamy carriage ride. You remember the two fingers… Of course, now they’re engaged. Penelope is in a daze as Colin announces their engagement to Lady Violet Bridgerton (Ruth Gemmell), Francesca (Hannah Dodd) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt). Hyacinth embraces Pen as Violet and Francesca give Colin a squeeze. Eloise (Claudia Jessie) enters the room, looking less than thrilled. 

Eloise excuses herself, with Pen hot on her heels. She can’t believe Pen is engaged to her brother. She wonders how long Pen has had feelings for Colin. Then, Eloise states that Colin can’t truly love Pen if he doesn’t know her inside and out. That means Pen must reveal she’s Lady Whistledown. Pen insists she plans to tell him soon. 

Eloise Bridgerton sits on a couch in her living room while looking nervous during a party. Alice and Will Mondrich sit to her left on Bridgerton Season 3 Episode 5, "Tick Tock."

BRIDGERTON Season 3 Episode 5, “Tick Tock.” Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Dearest Readers

Pen sits in her room that evening, writing the latest edition of her scandal sheet. The following morning, Benedict Bridgerton (Luke Thompson) has an early roll in the hay with Lady Tilley Arnold (Hannah New). Tilley picks up her copy of Lady Whistledown’s pamphlet. After taking a cursory glance, Tilley reveals Benedict might take an interest in this particular edition. 

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Meanwhile, Mr. Dankworth (James Phoon) recites Whistledown’s words to the Featheringtons — Lady Portia (Polly Walker), Philippa (Harriet Cains) and Prudence (Bessie Carter) — and Mr. Finch (Lorn Macdonald). Finch is the only one who looks excited for his sister-in-law. Pen eavesdrops on the group to gauge their reactions. Elsewhere, Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) and Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) sit at the breakfast table while absorbing the news. Agatha is pleased with the match. 

Brimsley (Hugh Sachs) reads Lady Whistledown’s pamphlet to Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) at the palace. Not only does it mention Polin’s engagement, but Francesca and Lord Kilmartin are also in courtship. Once again, a Bridgerton didn’t pick the queen’s intended match — the poor marquess. However, LW doesn’t besmirch the queen’s name for this failure. It’s as if the gossip columnist has bitten her tongue. The queen smiles. 

Kanthony Comes Home 

Later, Viscount and Viscountess Bridgerton (Jonathan Bailey and Simone Ashley) arrive home after an extended honeymoon. We learn they’re expecting and plan to share the happy news with the family. Of course, the Bridgertons have happy news aplenty on their hands. Once they reunite, Colin shares his engagement, sparking excited reactions from his brother and sister-in-law. Kanthony is glowing. I love it. 

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Elsewhere, Eloise vents to Cressida Cowper (Jessica Madsen) about Polin. Since Pen met Colin before her, Eloise wonders if Pen used her to get to her brother. Cressida admits her mind is somewhere else. Her parents have arranged for her to marry Lord Greer, who’s no spring chicken. However, Cressida tries to look on the bright side — perhaps she can go shopping all the time and throw fabulous parties. 

Next, the Bridgerton bros have a chinwag. Anthony and Benedict ask about Pen. How did it all start? Has Colin told her he loves her yet? Upon learning that it all happened quickly, Benedict teases Anthony, asking if he plans to duel his own brother. I love this callback. Also, I love my Benny. Anthony encourages Colin to tell Pen how he feels. 

Polin Becomes One 

Meanwhile, Pen finds her mother staring silently out the window. Portia can’t believe she learned about her daughter’s engagement from a scandal sheet. She’s incredulous that this is a love match, implying that Colin couldn’t possibly love Pen. She also reminds Pen about what transpired with the Marina situation. Thankfully, Colin overhears this. He swoops in, putting Portia in her place and her obsession with social standing. He declares his love for Pen, too. Aw. 

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Then, Colin shows Pen their new home after they wed. Book readers, it’s here the highly anticipated mirror scene takes place. Colin wants to show Pen his favorite parts of her. Things get hot and heavy as garments are removed. Colin checks in with Pen, making sure this is what she wants. We love a man who’s all about consent. Colin asks if she’s ready. She urges him to tell her what to do. He gives her instructions as they get it started on a chaise lounge. Side note: Pen’s reaction to seeing Colin’s Mister Bridgerton — that exhale — sent me to the Moon

If you’ve been keeping up with Luke and Nicola’s interviews, you know they broke a piece of furniture during one of Polin’s steamy scenes. Could this be said steamy scene? Hmm…

Pen asks if they can dive in for round two as they bask in that post-coital glow. Colin jokes he needs at least 10 minutes to recuperate. They giggle. I love Giddy Polin. 

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Sitting on the News 

Meanwhile, Kate and Anthony lie in bed together. They’re in cuddle mode. Kate wonders if they should sit on their happy news a bit longer. Violet already has so much on her plate. Anthony wants to get frisky (I get it; his wife’s one of the most beautiful people alive), but Kate doesn’t want Newton to watch. He’s a sensitive little doggo. 

Elsewhere, Violet walks behind Francesca and Lord Kilmartin, aka John Stirling (Victor Alli). They go for a promenade through the park. Francesca regales him with a story from her childhood, about Anthony hiding her piano stool for a week so she wouldn’t wake him with her early morning playing. Upon learning Anthony is back in town, John ponders about chatting with him. John reassures Fran that he will never hide her piano stool. These two are precious. 

Much-Needed Advice 

Later, Kate plans Polin’s engagement party. She dismisses the servants to chat with Eloise when she sees the latter sitting in a corner, looking forlorn. Kate advises Eloise to tell Colin how she feels about him marrying Pen. I’ve always liked Kate and Eloise together. I hope we see their bond blossom. Side note: Eloise talking about everyone “pairing off” makes me more certain she’ll be the center of Season 4. This loneliness drives her to chat with a certain plant daddy.

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Next, Varley (Lorraine Ashbourne) informs Portia about the solicitor, Walter Dundas, poking around again, asking about Jack Featherington. Varley told Dundas that Portia was out. She advises Portia to warm up to the Bridgertons, especially if Dundas brings the family legal trouble.

Portia is still stuck on Colin accusing her of being fixated on social standing. Varley reassures her that she’s only trying to protect her family. Portia stresses that it’s challenging for any woman to find a love match, and she didn’t know that was the case for Pen. Varley believes Portia should communicate this to Penelope. 

The Afterglow 

Later, Pen and Colin lay entwined on the chaise lounge in the aftermath. Pen tries to persuade Colin to let her read his writing. He’s still considering it. Suddenly, someone knocks on the door, so our pair scramble to get dressed and depart before anyone spots them. 

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Meanwhile, Agatha visits Queen Charlotte. The queen reveals they’re celebrating. Lady Whistledown’s latest pamphlet proves she’s defenseless. She didn’t write any scathing barbs about Her Majesty. Now’s the time to strike, to hit LW where it hurts. 

While in the carriage, Colin reads aloud a missive from the queen. Anyone who knows the identity of Lady Whistledown will receive 5,000 pounds as a reward for disclosing it to the Crown. Colin rejoices in this. He hopes she’ll be unmasked soon. Of course, little does he know that his darling Pen is LW. Pen looks panicked. 

Colin and Eloise 

Later, Eloise stops by Colin’s office to find her brother deep in his writing. She asks if they can talk. Eloise feels hurt that Colin knew they were at odds and he still went behind her back to get engaged to Pen. Colin apologizes. He states he loves her deeply and knows Eloise loved her once, too. He wants his sister to give them her blessing. Before Eloise leaves the office, Colin gives her the queen’s message with the reward. 

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Next, Cressida and Lady Cowper (Joanna Bobin) chat with Lord Greer (Richard Durden), Cressida’s soon-to-be husband. Greer is all sorts of fun — he hates music, balls and Cressida’s Effie Trinket apparel. Greer claims he and Cressida will attend one ball per month. Oh, and he expects her to crank out at least four or five babies. Cressida looks crestfallen—poor girl. 

Then, Philippa and Prudence ask Pen how she managed to snag Colin. Portia urges her pregnant daughters not to tease Pen. In fact, the Pen Hate Train stops here (as it should). Portia reveals she and Pen will attend the engagement party at the Bridgerton house. Elsewhere, Alice Mondrich (Emma Naomi) watches while her son names all the different utensils one uses during dinner. Will (Martins Imhangbe) pores over the ledgers for his club. Alice asks her husband to take a week off. Step away from all this. 

Lady Violet Bridgerton holds Penelope Featherington's hand while they stand in the lavish living room of a home during the Regency era. Penelope looks nervous while Violet smiles on Bridgerton Season 3 Episode 5, "Tick Tock."

BRIDGERTON Season 3 Episode 5, “Tick Tock.” Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Engagement Party 

That evening, everyone gathers for the engagement party. Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth play with the Lord of Kent (the Mondrichs’ son). Colin and Portia mend fences. Kate meets Tilley and takes a shine to her. Danbury, Violet and Marcus marvel at Polin as a perfect match. Meanwhile, Eloise gives Pen an ultimatum: if she doesn’t tell Colin she’s Lady Whistledown by midnight, Eloise will. Tick tock. 

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Then, Francesca and John chat with Anthony, Agatha, Marcus and Violet. Fran persuades John to tell them the story about his muddy boots. However, John gets nervous, and his story peters out before it concludes. Next, Colin delivers a lovely toast to his bride-to-be. Eloise adds on, toasting to everyone genuinely getting to know each other. Oof. Portia follows with a toast to the joining of the Bridgertons and Featheringtons. Benedict asks Tilley if the alcohol is hitting too hard or if they need more. 

Kate encourages everyone to play charades in the drawing room. Pen kicks off the game. Anthony’s competitive side rears its head. I love my unhinged viscount. Pen and Eloise compete for a spell, correctly answering all the riddles. Finally, other guests participate, including Benedict, Portia and Will. Cressida tells Eloise she intends to collect the queen’s reward for unmasking Lady Whistledown. She and Eloise get into a brief spat. 

Tick Tock 

John returns with Fran to finish his boots story. Violet is quite touched by it, especially John’s clear affection for her daughter. They’re a perfect match. Meanwhile, Kate tells Anthony she wants to reveal their baby news that evening. She’s changed her mind. While everyone talks about the queen’s missive and Lady Whistledown, Pen runs to the safety of an empty room. She’s hyperventilating. Eloise’s ultimatum hangs over her head as the clock ticks. 

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Meanwhile, Cressida hears Portia claim that Lady Whistledown has it made — she’ll never have to wed and can revel in her fame. Cressida decides to identify herself as LW. Pen emerges, still shaking and breathless. Colin checks in on her. Kate and Anthony inform Violet and Agatha about their baby news. Then, as Kanthony tries to announce their news to the room, Cressida grabs everyone’s attention. She states she’s Lady Whistledown. Gasps and murmurs overtake the room. Portia looks incredulous. 

Completely overwhelmed as the clock strikes midnight, Penelope collapses. Everyone encircles her as Colin tries to wake her up. 

Bridgerton Season 3, Part 2 is now streaming on Netflix

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