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Bridgerton Stars Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton Explain Polin Ending

Bridgerton Stars Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton Explain Polin Ending

[This story contains major spoilers from Bridgerton season three.]

Dearest gentle readers, Bridgerton season three (part two) has come to a satisfying end.

After spending a big chunk of the second half of the new season (which dropped its final four episodes Thursday on Netflix) on the outs following Colin’s (Luke Newton) much-anticipated discovery that Penelope (Nicola Coughlan) is in fact Lady Whistledown, the final moments of the finale revealed that the couple has remained happily married and gave birth to their first child — a son, who will be the heir to the Featherington estate. Not to mention, Colin has published his first novel, thanks to help from his wife, the prolific writer.

Part two kicked off right after Colin proposed to Penelope following their steamy carriage scene, and, to start the new episodes, they announced to the Bridgertons that they are betrothed. The couple spent almost the entirety of the first two episodes in utter bliss, as Colin turned into a full-blown lover boy whose happiness seemed like it would go on forever.

However, Pen’s big Whistledown secret loomed, as Eloise (Claudia Jessie) pressured her former best friend to tell her future husband the truth about her alter ego. At the same time, Cressida (Jessica Madsen) was put in a difficult situation and felt her only way out was to claim that she is the notorious gossip columnist, before Pen got the chance to tell her fiancé. But, of course, he found out anyway, and in the worst possible way.

While Pen considered giving up Whistledown after Cressida’s grasp at being Whistledown, she ultimately decided she couldn’t do it and rushed to her printer late at night to get out an issue to contradict Cressida’s false claim. Colin followed her to make sure she was OK, and that’s when he found out the big secret.

“He likes to pretend that things that are written about him don’t cut deep,” Newton tells The Hollywood Reporter of why the news hits Colin so strongly, ushering in two episodes where the pair are on the outs. “He’s a sensitive dude, and it does hurt him. But also he carries the weight of so many other people that are affected.”

The actor says his character also may be struggling with his pride, after just discovered he may want to be a writer. And here’s his soon-to-be wife, who happens to be a secretly successful, published author.

Below, Newton and Coughlan unpack the famous mirror scene; how, unlike many women at the time, Pen doesn’t need Colin but wants him in her life; and what comes next for them, as well as Pen and Eloise.


Penelope and Colin take their relationship to the next level in part two with their first fully intimate scene after that mirror scene from the book. He tells her everything anyone would want to hear.

NICOLA COUGHLAN Oh, please. Don’t I know it? Tell me about it.

Bridgerton season three’s poster alluded to the mirror scene.

Courtesy of Neflix

What was it like for both of you to be able to tell this love story about desire for any type of woman?

COUGHLAN I didn’t think about that. I just wanted to do it justice because it was so beautifully written, and it felt like such an earned moment for these characters. It felt like a time when they truly see each other — and also the lead-up to it is so gorgeous. When she finally tells him that she’s loved him for so long. The audience has known that forever, and then she finally gets to say it to him. And then, like you said, that gorgeous moment of him just saying everything that everyone deserves to hear: that someone sees you and loves you. Actually, it’s a real Mandela Effect thing. And that scene doesn’t exist in the book. It’s very confusing. He says to her, “I want to do it in front of a mirror.” They don’t do it. So actually, the show goes many steps further than the book. I was like, “Hope the mirror scene’s in it.” And we spoke to Jessica [Brownell, showrunner] about it in our Zoom call, and she was, like, “It’s actually not in the books. But it’s definitely in the show.”

I spoke to Jess about a month ago (and again after part two), and she talked about how Pen and Eloise’s friendship is the secondary love story this season. Why was it important for Pen and Eloise to mend their friendship?

COUGHLAN It’s such a relatable story. When you’re young, but really, any time in life, a friendship breakup can be as devastating as a romantic breakup. It just shows you that the show does explore so many different types of love, whether it’s the passion of the Duke and Daphne, or loss of Violet and Edmund, or this deep, platonic love that Pen and Eloise have. I love that love story.

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington and Claudia Jessie as Eloise Bridgerton in Bridgerton season three, part two.


Colin finds out Penelope’s Whistledown secret in perhaps the worst way. I didn’t realize it would be so hard on him when he found out. Why do you think it affected him so strongly?

LUKE NEWTON I think he likes to pretend that things that are written about him don’t cut deep. He’s a sensitive dude, and it does hurt him. But also he carries the weight of so many other people that are affected. He’s the one out of the Bridgertons who takes on that responsibility, because they all have their different responsibilities. Anthony’s the head of the family and is less in tune with the emotional trauma that everyone is going through. He’s like, “I’m keeping the books going. I’m getting people married. I’m organized with that.” Benedict’s a very free spirit, kind of exploring his sexuality. Colin is like that older brother to the others who wants to feel protected, but he also feels that for Pen. So, even in that moment, that’s why it’s so frustrating. Because he’s like, “You’ve written stuff about yourself, and me, and Marina, and Eloise.” There’s been so much drama around that. It just cuts him that extra bit deep, and particularly it’s stuff that’s recently happened. I do think he’s far removed from the Marina thing now, after seeing her last season and seeing that she’s content and happy. I think it’s mainly between these two of why it hurts so much, and Eloise.

COUGHLAN Then the latter element of her being this famous writer, who’s really successful, and she’s like, “Maybe I can edit your stuff,” and he’s like, “Oh, I don’t need to do that.” And then you’re like, “Shit.”

NEWTON He’s hurt because he’s like, “I let you read my silly little diary entries, and you’re the most famous writer in London.” So, his pride has been knocked back as well. But for that part, I might get over it very quickly. She’s successful. She slays.

Toward the end of the season, Colin and Pen have their last big fight before making amends. He asks: “What am I supposed to do for you if you don’t need me?” And she says, “I just need you to love me.” What was it like to bring that story to life at a time when a financially independent woman was so rare?

COUGHLAN I was so happy to do it, because I think that is a really big thing in modern relationships. I certainly feel — and my friends feel as well — I am really self-sufficient. I don’t need someone to take care of me. I can take care of myself. But it’s a difference between needing someone and wanting them in your life. Also, the freedom that it brings to be like, “I can be perfectly happy on my own, but if you make my life better, great.” And also, I think it’s interesting, because — unfortunately I know a lot of people would have experienced it — but within couples, it’s terrible when there’s jealousy between couples like professional jealousy. It’s really wild. And it’s a horrid, horrid thing. I think a lot of women have experienced that, and men feeling maybe insecure that their partner earns more than them. Who gives a shit? Who cares? It so doesn’t matter. It’s not who the person is. And I love that because, yes, it’s a show set in sort of an imagined past, but it’s a very modern struggle that a lot of people deal with.

NEWTON It also feels like the one thing that Colin needs to hear. The bit that always kind of plays on my mind is when the Cressida drama starts to happen, with the threat of that, and it kind of ignites a spark in Colin where he feels like he has a purpose again. He’s almost pleased with the drama, because he’s like, “I can fix this. I can do something. I have the purpose.” But that conversation sort of washes all of that away because he’s lived his life thinking, “I need to be this strong man and be in charge and protect people,” and she, in such a gentle, calm conversation, is just like, “I’m fine.” Well, it’s not actually calm, is it? They’re kind of shouting at each other. But it gets to a really nice moment.

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COUGHLAN I love that scene. It makes it really emotional, the scene when we’re in the drawing room together, and she’s like, “I love you for who you are.” Because he’s someone who doesn’t feel like he’s good enough, but he’s completely good enough. He’s an amazing person who she’s always loved, and she loves him for who he is at his core.

The finale provides a family update for Polin.


What does the world of Bridgerton look like now with Pen’s Lady Whistledown secret out?

COUGHLAN I have no idea, which is quite nice actually. It’s always scary, because we’ve had to obviously hold in spoilers for two years now. So that’s why it feels so weird to talk now. We don’t know anything about season four, and I’m quite happy that it’s that way until we get into it. But I think the show will keep growing and developing, and I quite like that it sort of changes its identity every time. It’s a chance for people to see their love story onscreen. Like, were you an enemies-to-lovers couple? Or were you a friends-to-lovers couple? There’s lots more to explore. The show will always center around the family, and it’ll change each time.

NEWTON Before starting season three, before reading the scripts, we never could have predicted how the story was gonna go. So, now I’m kind of relaxed in the thought that there’s no point even trying to speculate, even from a cast point of view. We can’t ever predict it. Even if you dived into the books and read every single line 50 times, you could never predict what Jess and her team are going to do, which is a nice place to be because it means it’s only going to bring something fresh and exciting.

COUGHLAN We’re quite excited at the prospect of them just like being happy idiots. Some of my favorite stuff is the two of them, they both love a little gossip and a little bitch. So, I really just want them in the corner like, “Oh, my gosh!”

NEWTON Their house is going to be a hub of gossip.

COUGHLAN I really want us two and Eloise to hang out, and just be like, “What you say? What’s happening with you?” I just want to do a bunch of silly stuff. We have a baby as well.

NEWTON You heard here first, Jess! Like the Kate and Anthony stuff when they’re in wedding bliss, and it’s just joy. They’re just in bed cuddling. Hust nice, sweet moments.

COUGHLAN We loved the bed scenes. In between takes, you could just sit and chill on the bed, and you’re just like, “This is really comfy and really nice,”

Bridgerton season three is now streaming on Netflix. Read more from showrunner Jess Brownell about season three and see what she teased about season four.

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