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‘Bridgerton’s Nicola Coughlan & Luke Newton on Hope for Polin in Season 3

Bridgerton is filled to the teacup brim with drama, but nothing has been more dramatic than the Season 2 finale which saw one major secret revealed.

Eloise (Claudia Jessie) finally unveiled the true identity of Lady Whistledown as her best friend Penelope (Nicola Coughlan). Needless to say, the betrayal loomed large in the season’s final moments, but that wasn’t the only way Penelope’s life was turned upside down.

After her crush, Colin Bridgerton (Luke Newton), exposed her cousin Jack’s (Rupert Young) scheme to sell the Ton fake rubies, Penelope was left in awe of Colin’s efforts to protect her and her family. But the warm and fuzzy feelings didn’t last long after the pair shared some special moments, like a declaration of how special Penelope is to Colin along with a dance at the Featherington ball, he turned his back and dismissed her as a romantic pursuit to his friends.

To say Penelope was crushed even more by Colin than she had been by her friend Eloise’s discovery and resulting anger over Whistledown is an understatement. “They debated whether to include that or not, you know?” Coughlan tells TV Insider. “Luke Newton and I had a zoom with [showrunner] Chris [Van Dusen] midway through the season because I remember that from the book. I felt like it was really important to include it.”

“I feel like he wouldn’t have wanted her to have heard that,” Newton admits of Colin’s social blunder. The actor also acknowledges that sometimes Colin can say the wrong things, it’s his candidness that really shines through. “I think in the times that they speak, they’re both quite sensitive people and quiet,” Newton says of Colin and Penelope.

“He’s been on this trip and he’s just pretending that he’s had a great time, that he’s one of the lads and he’s been away on his grand tour. When in natural fact, it hasn’t been like that at all and he doesn’t feel that way,” Newton explains. As for the reason behind Colin’s dismissal of Penelope in front of his friends, the actor can’t say much. “It’s hard for me to say whether he genuinely meant what he said or not.”

As for Penelope, Coughlan thinks this observation will be good for her character in the long run. “If they are eventually going to end up together, she’s got to stop idolizing him so much,” Coughlan shares. “She thinks he’s perfect. He cannot do any wrong in her eyes. So, she has to start seeing him as a real human being and not this perfect boy.”

It’s an important lesson in any relationship, to be sure, but one that Penelope will no doubt learn a lot from. “The playing field definitely needs to level for the two of them ever to have a relationship,” Coughlan says, adding, “Well, let’s hope that’s going to happen.”

It might take a bit for the pair to turn into the “Polin” book fans have come to love, as Newton notes, “I think because of how long they’ve been friends and how long they’ve been in each other’s lives that he’s kind of put that to the back of his mind like that’s never going to be a possibility.” In other words, he needs to take Penelope out of the friend zone if he’s ever going to see her as something more.

“As much as there’s been some progression,” Newton acknowledges, “it’s not been the heated, steamy scenes or that relationship growth that we’ve seen from other characters. But I think it’s really nice to show both sides of what it can be like to fall in love with someone.”

As to what Colin would think of Penelope’s secret identity as Lady Whistledown, Newton has some thoughts, noting, “I’d like to think that his connection with Penelope is strong enough that he would look past that. But you never know how it’s going to come out and what’s going to happen in the future.” Perhaps it’s best to hope that love will prevail? Stay tuned to find out when Bridgerton eventually returns for Seasons 3 and 4.

TV Insider
Written by Meaghan Darwish
Published April 4, 2022