Art Of The Swoon
Lady Whistledown’s gossip rags continue to spread news as episode 3 of Bridgerton begins with Daphne rejecting matches in favour of her actual suitor – Simon. Of course, she refuses to say this out loud but a dream featuring the pair dancing seems to hint otherwise.
A Prince from Prussia called Friedrich is arriving in London but for Penelope, she’s more preoccupied with the mail; mail that unfortunately doesn’t arrive for Marina. However, Marina has bigger problems when Lady Featherington decides she should be forced into marriage as quickly as possible to conceal her pregnancy.
That evening, the Prince arrives as Simon and Daphne commentate on the obvious and orchestrated meeting between him and the various different girls. The Queen personally introduces him to Daphne, who immediately giggles when he comments on her dress. After their brief encounter, Daphne tells Simon it’s his fault, especially given his earlier quip, as the two continue to get along like a house on fire.
Still, there’s no time to dwell on this given Prince Friedrich is the centre of attention the next day. With Marina back on the social scene again and everyone converging at the art gallery, Marina is less than enthused to any prospective match on the table.
The Prince eventually finds Daphne but she rejects his advances, which seems to only make him want her more. Daphne is more interested in Simon though, who happens to be in a separate room. Together, they comment on how clever they both are as they keep flirting. Eventually this sees them hold hands. At least momentarily as a cry outside sends them out to investigate. It turns out this was just a feigned swoon from one of the girls to be caught by Prince Friedrich
After the gallery visit, Daphne and Simon both head home while Queen Charlotte tells the Prince he needs to try and win over Daphne. Eloise realizes as much as she talks to Daphne about her prospective match-up with the Prince.
Lady Featherington takes Marina down to a poor neighbourhood to show her what will happen if she doesn’t marry. However, it doesn’t have the desired affect. Instead, she tries a different tact and mentions her pregnancy and the lack of a reply she’s received from Spain. Although Marina comments that it’s because of the war and distance between them, it’s clear that the seeds of doubt have been planted.
Meanwhile, Daphne and Simon head out together as the former contemplates exactly what love is and what makes a good marriage. Simon simply tells her that she’ll “know when she knows.” and gives her advice on how to self pleasure.
Lady Danbury notices how much time Simon and Daphne are spending together and speaks to Simon about his potential match-up. Given Prince Friedrich is a much more suitable match, she’s concerned that Simon’s lack of action could dissuade Daphne from matching up.
In the morning, Simon breaks off his engagement with Daphne and tells her she’ll be happier with her Prince. It’s clear this has hit Simon hard though as he decides to leave England immediately.
Eloise and Benedict share their usual smoke break outside that evening. There, they discuss Lady Whistledown and he questions whether his sister could be the one writing. Although she scoffs at the notion, it does get her thinking as she decides to try and find the writer.
In the morning, Penelope scrambles upstairs with a letter to Marina from Spain. Unfortunately the letter confirms a break up and that the baby she carries in her problem now and not his. As we cut across to the adjacent room, it turns out this letter was actually fabricated by Lady Featherington herself.
In an act of defiance, Daphne decides to show up to the evening’s events wearing exactly what she wants. Anthony meanwhile is given 14 different potential match-ups to choose from by Lady Featherington. Of course, the one that he actually wants is Siena but her earlier rejection has rattled him.
Daphne shows up at the evening’s ball looking like a million bucks and catches the Prince’s attention immediately. He asks for the first dance while Simon watches from afar and tries to hide his obvious disdain.
The Episode Review
What makes a good marriage? As someone whose own marriage lasted less than 6 months I’m probably not in the position to give advice here! However, the characters within Bridgerton are consumed by this question which drives the narrative forward through much of the run-time. From the idea of love and hierarchy to the different gender roles in 1800’s England, Bridgerton does quite a good job to bridge everything together.
However, the show’s central will they/won’t they romance is paper thin and easily orchestrated at best – even this early in the season which is never a good sign.
It seems obvious that Simon and Daphne will be together by the end or choose to be bold and go it alone as singletons.
We’ll have to wait and see of course but it seems Marina may be the wildcard here going forward, a character with much aplomb in episode 1 but somehow seems to have faded into obscurity. Hopefully she’ll get more screen-time in the episodes to come.