DISCLAIMER: This recap of Bridgerton Season 3 Episode 6, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton,” contains spoilers. Proceed at your peril.

Dearest Gentle Reader, 

Juicy scandal hits the fan in “Romancing Mister Bridgerton” as Colin finally learns about Pen’s alter ego. The other storylines start to heat up, too. Episode six sets the stage for what’ll undoubtedly be two exciting final installments packed to the brim with drama. Of course, we’ll also probably get a better idea of who’s leading Season 4. My guess is Eloise or Benedict, although I’m leaning more toward the former at the moment. 

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The Devil and Cressida Cowper

We open with members of the ton in confusion — Lady Whistledown hasn’t published her morning scandal sheet. We hear Lady Whistledown’s voice (Julie Andrews) as Penelope Featherington (Nicola Coughlan) attempts to write a pamphlet calling out Cressida Cowper’s ludicrous declaration. However, Pen doesn’t like what she writes, so she crumples up the parchment and tosses it aside. Lady Portia Featherington (Polly Walker) pops her head into Pen’s room to reveal the latter has a visitor.

Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton) checks in on Pen, ensuring she’s okay after she fainted at the engagement party. Pen reassures him she’s fine. She attempts to conceal her ink-stained hands as Colin gives her a proper engagement ring. It’s gorgeous. Meanwhile, Lord Cowper (Dominic Coleman) informs Cressida (Jessica Madsen) at the Cowper household that Lord Greer has rescinded his marriage offer. She tries not to look too excited. Cowper reveals he plans to send her to her Aunt Jo in Wales. She can write gossip about the sheep there. Ouch. 

Colin and Eloise Bridgerton sit across from each other -- Colin at his desk in his study, Eloise on the other side. They have a deep conversation.

BRIDGERTON Season 3 Episode 6, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton.” Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

After Lord Cowper storms out, Lady Cowper (Joanna Bobin) urges her daughter to walk back her Lady Whistledown statement. She believes Cressida possesses gifts, but “writer” isn’t one of them. Ouch. 

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Let’s Throw a Ball 

Next, Will and Alice Mondrich (Martins Imhangbe and Emma Naomi) inform Lady Agatha Danbury (Adjoa Andoh) that Will plans to sell his club. Agatha rejoices, revealing the queen will be most pleased. She suggests the Mondrichs do what they can to stand out from the ton. Perhaps throwing a lavish ball will do the trick? 

Then, Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) stops by Lady Violet Bridgerton’s (Ruth Gemmell) home to retrieve his hat. He thanks her for co-hosting (with Kate) Polin’s entertaining engagement party. Violet asks Marcus about the tension with his sister. He states it’s merely “childhood grievances,” and they’ll work it out.

An Engagement 

After he departs, Violet returns to the drawing room where Benedict (Luke Thompson), Gregory (Will Tilston) and Hyacinth (Florence Hunt) fight over macarons. Violet sits beside Eloise (Claudia Jessie), who’s reading a book. Eloise sets her book aside when Colin enters the room, wondering how he feels about the Whistledown thing. Meanwhile, Francesca (Hannah Dodd) and Lord Kilmartin, aka John Stirling (Victor Alli), try to make an announcement to the family. John’s joke about having the plague and them not responding is cute. I love these two. 

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Francesca gets her family’s attention and announces her and John’s engagement. Aw. Everyone embraces the happy couple. Eloise follows Colin into his study, where he asks her if she knew Cressida was Lady Whistledown. Eloise lies, claiming she didn’t. However, she plans to break things off with Cressida now. Eloise asks Colin what he intends to do about Whistledown. Colin reveals that everything has “softened” him lately, so his only concern is Pen’s well-being. Aw. 

Later, Eloise visits Pen to update her on what Colin said. Cressida is running with the LW thing. Pen insists she must write an issue that puts Cressida in her place. After all, Pen is Whistledown. This is her life’s work, and she won’t let Cressida take it away. Eloise pivots, discouraging Pen from revealing her identity to Colin. Why muck things up now? Perhaps Pen should let Cressida take the credit. 

Penelope Featherington sits on her bed in her room while holding a quill in one hand and parchment in the other. She looks out into the distance, lost in thought, on Bridgerton Season 3 Episode 6, "Romancing Mister Bridgerton."

BRIDGERTON Season 3 Episode 6, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton.” Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

A New Issue 

Then, Cressida and her mom arrive at the palace to meet with the queen. Brimsley (Hugh Sachs) ushers them into the throne room. Queen Charlotte (Golda Rosheuvel) asks Cressida why she’s finally come forward as Lady Whistledown. Cressida states she wants to claim her reward and help the queen however she can. The queen counters that the real LW wouldn’t make such an easy offer of assistance. Her Majesty urges Cressida to print a “convincing” issue, or she’ll kick the latter out of her court. Uh-oh. 

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Meanwhile, Francesca, John and Violet have tea together. John understands he wasn’t the queen’s first choice for Fran. The couple wants to declare their intent to marry to Queen Charlotte, but they’d rather Violet do it. After all, she’s met the queen before. Violet looks uneasy. 

Elsewhere, Portia and Varley (Lorraine Ashbourne) plan Pen’s wedding and reception, commenting that gilt flowers should be on the carriage. At the same time, Philippa (Harriet Cains), Mr. Finch (Lorn Macdonald), Prudence (Bessie Carter) and Mr. Dankworth (James Phoon) are on the other side of the room. Philippa and Prudence are envious. Their mama didn’t spend this much time planning their weddings. Portia remarks that they didn’t marry men with unlimited funds. 

Pen’s Love Match 

After that, Portia chats with Pen for a spell. She tells her daughter that the late Lord Featherington was a cruel, weak man. He mistreated her. She’s glad that Pen has found a love match because it’s a rarity. I love that we’re seeing a softer side to Portia here. It doesn’t excuse her past behavior; perhaps Portia has turned a new leaf. 

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Meanwhile, Benedict and Lady Tilley Arnold (Hannah New) enjoy each other’s company (and some breakfast). Tilley reveals her plans to throw a dinner party with them and her friend Paul. Paul is very important to her. That night, Benedict, Colin, John and Will sit in the latter’s club on its final night. Closing time is nigh. Will pours them some drinks. Everyone jokes about their “misfortune.” Benny talks about his directionlessness. John teases that he’s lucky because he spotted another bottle. Colin reveals he’s writing a manuscript about his travels. I love this scene, especially seeing John bond with his future brothers-in-law. 

Next, Pen, Portia, Violet, Colin, Agatha and Marcus attend church, where Polin are officially announced as a soon-to-be-wed couple. Thankfully, nobody objects to their impending nuptials. We learn they’ll be married in three weeks. After everyone clears out of the church, Polin share a dance in the place where they’ll tie the knot. It’s utterly adorable. Pen confesses she’s loved Colin since they met. 

Lady Danbury and Lord Anderson sit in a pew in a church filled with people while looking attentive on Bridgerton Season 3 Episode 6, "Romancing Mister Bridgerton."

BRIDGERTON Season 3 Episode 6, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton.” Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Eloise Ends It 

Outside the church, Agatha introduces Marcus to one of her widowed friends. She wants him to stay away from Violet. Meanwhile, Eloise and Cressida reunite. Eloise asks why Cressida came forward. She states she lives a lonely life. She’d like Eloise to join her. Perhaps they could write future Lady Whistledown issues together. Eloise reminds Cressida what she (well, Pen) wrote about her last year. She reveals she can’t be Cressida’s collaborator or friend anymore. Cressida lashes out in pain. 

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Elsewhere, Violet tells Agatha about Fran and John’s wish for her to speak to the queen on their behalf. Violet respects the match but worries that if the queen presses too much, she’ll see that Violet has doubts. Agatha adds that Queen Charlotte might then feel emboldened to reject the match. Then, Pen and Colin join the conversation. Violet embraces them wholeheartedly while Fran watches, looking sad. Her mother seems more excited about Polin than she and John. 

Later, at the Featherington house, Pen conceals her writing implements underneath the floorboards of her room. Then, the Mondrichs prepare to host their first ball. Pen visits the modiste for fabric samples for her wedding dress. She reunites with Madame Delacroix (Kathryn Drysdale), who congratulates Pen on her upcoming nuptials. Delacroix assumes that Pen will continue writing as Lady Whistledown and tell Colin about it.

Let Cressida Take Credit 

However, Pen reveals she plans to let Cressida take credit. She’ll no longer write as LW. Delacroix admits she loves working as a modiste so much that she isn’t sure she can give it up. MD is trying to subtly persuade Pen to keep writing. 

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Later, Lady Cowper sees Cressida at a desk. Cressida reveals she’s writing a full issue as Lady Whistledown to persuade the queen to give her the 5,000-pound reward. Lady Cowper discloses her husband’s intention of releasing Cressida’s dowry. Cressida’s unmasking got Lord Cowper kicked out of his club. So, she encourages Cressida to write that scandal sheet. The reward money isn’t much, but it might be enough for Cressida to live on until she can secure a husband in the countryside. 

Lady Cowper asks Cressida to read what she has so far. It’s not very good, though. We see the wheels turn in Lady Cowper’s head. That evening, Tilley and Benedict have dinner with Tilley’s friend, Paul (Lucas Aurelio). Paul asks Benedict what he likes to do for fun. Does he paint? Write? Benny occasionally attends balls and performs his duties as a member of the ton, but other than that … not much. 

An Impressive Display

The conversation turns to the first time Tilley and Paul met. After Benny cracks some jokes, Paul warms up to him more. My boy Benny is charming as hell. Meanwhile, the Mondrichs throw a gorgeous ball. Agatha introduces her brother to more widowed women, and he looks thrilled about that. Suddenly, the queen arrives. She seems unimpressed until the giant centerpiece on the dancefloor opens up to reveal stunning floral arrangements. Now, Her Majesty approves. She nods at Alice. 

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Next, Fran pushes her mother to address Queen Charlotte now that she’s here. Violet insists she’ll talk to Agatha about setting aside time at court to speak with the queen. There’s too much going on right now. However, Fran interprets this as Violet not approving of John. She storms off. Violet takes a second before leaving the dancefloor herself. Marcus excuses himself from his circle of widowers to follow her, but Agatha intercepts him. 

It’s here we finally learn why there’s tension between these two. Agatha almost escaped her arranged marriage to Lord Danbury all those decades ago. However, Marcus told their father about her plan to escape so Agatha couldn’t flee. She had to go through with the marriage. Adjoa Andoh is electrifying in this scene. Lady Danbury is such a great character, and I’ve been waiting for her to get a scene like this. (Side note: this scene makes more sense if you’ve watched Queen Charlotte.)

Tilley and Paul and Benedict

Then, Benedict and Paul enjoy some fresh night air on the balcony. Paul not-so-subtly flirts with Benny. Paul heads inside to tell Tilley that Benedict seems like he’s game for it. Benny catches Tilley and Paul kissing. The pair invite Benedict to “join” them. A flustered Benny makes an excuse about having to be somewhere before he leaves. Hmm. I wonder if he’ll later change his mind and partake in the threesome. 

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Later, Cressida and Lady Cowper arrive at the Mondrichs’ ball. Gasps and murmurs are heard from the ton. Lady Cowper encourages Cressida to hold her head high. Pen and Colin take to the dancefloor, where the latter tells Pen he’s working on a manuscript. She offers to edit it for him. After telling her he hopes to prove himself worthy of her, Colin abruptly stops dancing. He and Pen watch as Cressida chats with the queen. 

Cressida Cowper wears an extravagant red glittering gown with bell sleeves and her hair in an elaborate updo. She stands on the dancefloor of a lavish ball.

BRIDGERTON Season 3 Episode 6, “Romancing Mister Bridgerton.” Cr. Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024

Then, Cressida lets her work speak for itself as servants barge onto the dancefloor with a missive from Lady Whistledown. It sounds similar to something Pen would write. We see ink stains on Lady Cowper’s arm as she pulls up her glove. So, she stepped in to help her daughter. Queen Charlotte looks impressed. She declares they can discuss her reward once Cressida publishes a full issue. 

Whistledown Is Power 

Next, Pen follows Eloise off the dancefloor. Colin observes them both leave. Eloise panics, believing this will bring more scandal to the Bridgertons. Pen vows not to let Cressida take it any further. She’ll publish another issue before Cressida posts hers. “Whistledown is power,” Pen says. Pen rides to her publisher that evening as she scribbles out a new Whistledown sheet. After turning it in to be published, she runs into Colin. Colin realizes his fiancée is really Lady Whistledown, not Cressida Cowper. 

D-r-a-m-a!

Bridgerton Season 3, Part 2 is now streaming on Netflix

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