Hot Take
Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington in 'Bridgerton' Season 3

Where Was The Longing In Bridgerton Season 3?

I was promised yearning and groveling!

My rom-com trope of choice has always been friends-to-lovers. What can I say? Two people’s platonic connection morphing into romantic love makes my heart go pitter-patter — especially when one half of that duo has been crushing for years. That said, I was confident Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington’s love story in Bridgerton would be my favorite, given their two seasons of buildup and strong start as best friends. Unfortunately, Season 3 fell flat because it was missing one critical piece: the longing.

Ahead of the long-awaited third season, fans were clamoring for more Penelope and Colin (aka Polin). The long-time friends were in a precarious position at the end of Season 2 after Penelope overhead Colin publicly disparaging her, telling another character, “I would never dream of courting Penelope Featherington. Not in your wildest fantasies, Fife.”

Given that dicey state of things, fans anticipated major groveling from Colin in Season 3 as he attempted to win Penelope over. “COLIN BETTER F*CKING GROVEL GET DOWN ON YOUR KNEES AND BEG FOR HER FORGIVENESS SIR,” one fan tweeted ahead of the Netflix premiere. Another fan wrote on TikTok, “groveling is my favorite trope, man’s better be on his KNEES.”

While Colin did get on his knees for another reason (IYKYK), it had nothing to do with passionate yearning. Instead, throughout Season 3, Colin and Penelope’s storyline lacked the pining it needed to make a convincing love story, failing two of Bridgerton’s most beloved characters.


Despite fans’ expectations, Colin never begged Penelope for her forgiveness. Their actual confrontation about his rude behavior toward her was lackluster, IMO. “If you are going to make me say it out loud, I miss you,” he reluctantly told Penelope in Episode 1. In response, she called him out for his “cruel” comments before fleeing into her carriage.

They didn’t actually discuss his words until the next morning though when Colin visited Penelope at the Featherington house. “I am very sorry for my callous comment here last year. It pains me to see you upset,” he told her. “I’m not the man I was last season, and I’m most certainly not ashamed of you... I am proud to call you my very good friend.” (An apology, sure, but not exactly a confession of love.)

Colin then offered her a deal: He’d teach her how to charm her way into finding a husband to “earn back [her] favor.” So, they struck up an agreement — his heartbreaking words forgotten, without any groveling in sight.

Pen and Colin’s romance was rushed ... They were giving just besties.

As the season went on, Polin’s romance continued to fall short on the pining front. “pen and colin's romance was rushed, he didn't grovel at all AND they were giving just besties,” one fan on X observed.

Even when their relationship did progress, it wasn’t Colin in the driver’s seat. Penelope was the first to make a move, asking him to kiss her while assuring him she wouldn’t expect anything afterward. When he hesitated, she begged, “Please, Colin.” Finally, he kissed her — but after a years-long wait, many fans (this author included) felt it didn’t have nearly enough oomph to it.

“I just hate that man. And hate how he dogged her out and didn’t even grovel to get her. SHE BEGGED FOR A F*CKING KISS!” one viewer tweeted after that particular episode.


During their first kiss, Colin didn’t grab her hair, pull her closer, or show that he was at all affected by the moment. Once it ended (and Penelope *thanked* him), he looked after her, seeming slightly confused but definitely not struck by all-consuming love.

The following morning, Colin woke after dreaming of their kiss. But once again, he didn’t look hopelessly devoted, just a little lost and melancholic. Even when Penelope began to charm Lord Debling, Colin’s jealousy-fueled yearning was disappointing (see: barely there). Cressida Cowper, who had set her sights on Debling this season, looked more upset by the budding connection.

The only time Colin seemed to be well and truly hung up on Penelope was when he was with *drumroll please* other women! “Colin kissed Penelope and went straight back to a brothel,” one fan tweeted.

This second brothel visit happened in the same episode as the famous carriage scene, before he hooked up with Penelope for the first time. Maybe I have too high of standards, but that timeline just didn’t sit right with me, especially considering he proposed that episode, too.

I want him to fall for Pen so hard that she occupies every waking thought.

Even Colin’s proposal — “For God’s sake, Penelope Featherington, are you going to marry me or not?” — lacked the kind of emotional stakes the couple needed to make the full transition from friends to lovers work. It was hard to truly believe in their connection, or root for their success, when viewers never saw him work for it.

Even for fans who didn’t need full-on groveling, some more adoration was definitely in order. “I don’t want Colin to grovel, I want him to yearn. I want him to fall for pen so hard that she occupies every waking thought and every sleeping vision he has,” one fan tweeted. “I want him to realize that he loves her and to give into that feeling so unapologetically that pen is all he adores.”

That kind of devotion seems a reasonable ask, especially considering previous seasons. Remember Anthony Bridgerton and Kate Sharma reaching toward each other, hoping to brush each other’s hands while fighting their forbidden feelings? Or the Duke of Hastings and Daphne Bridgerton angrily confessing to burning for one another?


The only glimpse audiences got of that kind of ardor this time around was when Colin and Penelope made out against a door in a public street — a moment that was quickly interrupted and never revisited.

The next time the couple addressed their growing Whistledown problem (thanks to Cressida’s discovery of the author’s identity and subsequent blackmail), it was Penelope *again* asking for Colin to show up for her: “I do not need you to protect me. I need you to stand by me. To hold me. To kiss me.” Why was Penelope the one groveling? As one fan put it on X, “Colin Bridgerton didn’t grovel nearly enough and that’s just how I feel.”

The actors themselves haven’t been receiving hate — if anything, fans are requesting more from (and for) them. There’s even a petition for Netflix to release extended versions of Polin’s sex scenes.

Instead, some fans have been blaming the letdown of Season 3 on the way certain scenes were shot. Others have been pointing out how distracting it was to have so many other storylines going at the same time: Cressida and Eloise’s friendship; Violet Bridgerton, Lady Danbury, and Lord Anderson’s complicated connection; the Featheringtons’ rush to produce an heir; and Benedict’s first threesome. It was all too easy for Polin to become a subplot. Others have been pointing out that Season 3 brought in a new showrunner, Jess Brownell, blaming the disappointment on her vision for the show.

While all these factors could play a part, Season 3’s most fatal mistake was subtracting yearning from the equation.