When Netflix announced that season three of Bridgerton will follow the third Bridgerton sibling, Colin and Penelope Featherington’s love story, Polin fans were elated. However, Benedict fans were miffed since the third book in the Julia Quinn series is about the second Bridgerton sibling. They felt they were being stiffed. But they might get a budding romance involving the artistic second son of the Bridgerton family, Bennie, in the third season itself. He may not be the only one whose heart is set aflutter, and it is possibly all connected to a painting that appears in the main series and its recent spin-off.
This painting in Bridgerton and Queen Charlotte might be the clue that connects Penelope, Violet, and Benedict and reveals their fates in season three. In the first season, Benedict stumbles upon a den of forbidden pleasures at a party by artist Sir Henry Granville. The rigid constraints of the aristocratic world are left outside in this nocturnal haven where people, queer or straight, get to explore pleasure without boundaries. There he takes part in a frisky ménage à trois session underneath Jacques-Louis David’s Cupid and Psyche (1817) painting.
Well, this painting reappears again in the Tom Verica-directed Queen Charlotte, when Violet, her ‘garden in much need of tending’, is seen flushing like a teenager and fanning herself in front of it. Content creator and Bridgerton enthusiast, Cat Quinn made a video pointing this out, where she further concluded that along with Penelope (who is undergoing a major glow-up while living out her friends-to-lovers trope this season) and Violet, season three will also see the beginning of Benedict’s love story. The third book in the series shares similarities with Cinderella, which had similar themes to Cupid and Psyche’s story.
Quinn also suggests that the butterfly in the Jacques-Louis David painting, a motif associated with Penelope’s character throughout the series, ties it all together in this Easter egg that foreshadows not one, not two, but three (perhaps four) love stories coming our way.
How ‘Queen Charlotte’ sets up Violet’s story for ‘Bridgerton’ s03
It is heavily implied in Queen Charlotte that the Bridgerton family matriarch, Violet is ready to open the second chapter of love in her life. In a brief scene between Dowager Viscountess Violet Bridgerton and Lady Agatha Danbury, Queen Charlotte delves into the terrible loneliness and pangs of desire ageing women are burdened with in a society that sees them merely as baby-making vessels. Their value diminishes as they grow out of childbearing age, and society puts them in a corner further in the back. Rooted in reality, the euphemism-filled conversation between the two old friends and allies is rather hauntingly poignant.
But of course, we know that the women of Bridgerton are no shrinking lilies. They may be bound by the social limitations of their time, even in this anachronistic Regency-era London, but when it comes to matters of love and lust, these women are raring to push the boundaries.
Violet found her great love in Edmund, the eighth Viscount Bridgerton. However, he died when their eldest son Anthony was quite young, implying Violet herself wasn’t that old when it happened. Fortunately, the series created by Chris Van Dusen and produced by Shonda Rhimes addresses the fact that women, even those who found their one true love, don’t stop having desires or needing companionship just because they grow older.
At the end of Queen Charlotte, Violet giddily tells Agatha that she is opening up to the idea of finding love again. Hopefully, in the coming seasons, we will also see Agatha finding the kind of companionship she has been denied so far in a fictional story where everyone finds love as if Oprah has been doling them out like, “You get love! And you get love! And you get love! All of you get love!”
One can argue that romantic love is not the end-all and be-all of life, as pop culture would suggest. There are other bonds that matter just as much. While that is indeed true, companionship is a very fundamental human need. Perhaps Bridgerton can finally explore a different kind of love through the formidable Lady Danbury’s character, a love that does not confine women to the restrictive roles imposed upon them by society. Agatha rejected Adolphus in Queen Charlotte because she wanted to be her own person, breathe her own air, for a change. Lady Danbury’s ideal companion could be someone she can lean on as an equal.
Let’s hope they make it happen.