Bridgerton season 1, episode 3 recap – what happened in “Art of the Swoon”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: December 25, 2020 (Last updated: 4 weeks ago)
View all
Netflix series Bridgerton season 1, episode 3 - Art of the Swoon


It’s all getting dramatic in “Art of the Swoon” as relationships get juicily complicated and sexual tensions reach boiling point between the two lead characters.

This recap of Netflix’s Bridgerton season 1, episode 3, “Art of the Swoon” contains significant spoilers.

We have recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

Bridgerton season 1, episode 3 begins with Simon and Daphne dancing; the couple appears to get more intimate each chapter, but of course, they are both claiming this is all “an act”. Daphne is dreaming about a potential kiss with the man — she’s in trouble! Lady Whistledown writes in her latest musings that she believes Daphne is waiting for her only suitor of worth, hinting towards Simon.

Get out and get married

Penelope tells Marina Thompson that a letter from her lover hasn’t arrived yet from Spain. Lady Featherington tells Marina to re-enter society and find herself a husband. Marina doesn’t want to because she’s still in love with her long-distance lover. There are two major heartbreaks in “Art of the Swoon”, and Marina is one of them.

Finding a husband is so exhausting!

Daphne is continuing to go through her list of suitors, and her mother tells her to pick the man who is her dearest friend. Of course, all this marriage market approach is exhausting. In the next scene, Daphne and Simon attend a social event together. Lord Weaver, Lord Hardy, Lord Tompkins ask Daphne if she’d like to dance and Simon acts jealous while she mingles and gets to know the men. Meanwhile, Lady Violet Bridgerton and Lady Danbury discuss that Daphne and Simon are a perfect match. There’s a lot of plotting going on, and we must wonder if there’s an easy solution — for Daphne and Simon to break the ice and go for each other.

Siena wants to move on

At a social gathering, Siena Rosso attends and speaks to Simon. Anthony is also in attendance, and he looks uncomfortable. Siena asks Simon if she’d like one of her performances; obviously, she’s an opera singer, but she’s clearly on about a different performance — this series likes to imply sex. Later on, Simon does not show up for Siena. He’s clearly too distracted by Daphne.

A sly question by Daphne

Daphne asks Anthony why his close friend Simon is opposed to marriage. Anthony explains how Simon didn’t know his mother and barely knew his father and implies a different upbringing. Daphne looks sad when Anthony describes how Simon has lived most of his life alone. “Art of the Swoon” gives reasons for Daphne to be sympathetic and understanding of Simon, rather than be confused by their awkward friendship.

Penelope helps out Marina in a social situation

At an event, Marina Thompson is introduced to Lord Middlethorpe by Lady Featherington. Penelope distracts them from the situation. Lady Featherington is frustrated with the situation and tells Marina to change.

Looking at paintings

Prince Friedrich takes a liking to Daphne, but she’s too distracted by Simon. She decides to join Simon in looking at the artwork. Daphne tells him that their plan is working with Lady Whistledown; they bask in their glory, but they are really flirting. Daphne then looks at a portrait of a landscape, and she talks about how it reminds her of being at peace — she describes the painting as intimate. As she talks, their hands move closer together, and Daphne gasps at the touch.

Art of the Swoon

But their intimate moment is ruined as Prince Friedrich caught Cressida as she swooned. The whole crowd believes it’s romantic, but Simon and Daphne are highly cynical about the situation and giggle like children. They appear to be the outliers in regards to traditions of courting.

After the event, Queen Charlotte reads Lady Whistledown’s musing, where she states that The Crown has lost its luster. She tells Prince Friedrich that Daphne is perfect and wants him to charm her. And this is where “Art of the Swoon” starts to get complicated for Daphne…

Find a man, quickly

Marina tells Lady Featherington that she’s in love with a man who is fighting in a war in Spain. Lady Featherington asks if she’s heard from this man. She’s trying to make a point that it is useless waiting around for a man she may never see again.

While on a walk, Daphne brings up to Simon how her mother told her to marry her dearest friend, and wonders if marriage is about friendship. Simon says marriage is physical and intangible, and he cannot explain it which teases Daphne. She raises how he isn’t a real suitor, so she wants the answers from him. She begs him to tell her the truth for the success of a marriage to stay physical; Simon asks Daphne if she touches herself at night — “When you are alone, you can touch yourself // between your legs”. Simon then describes what an orgasm feels like. She is shocked by his descriptions. Sex is obviously taboo during these times.

Daphne touches herself

Afterward, Lady Danbury warns Simon that Prince Friedrich is looking for the attention of Daphne and tells him he’ll be a fool if he allows her to stray. Lady Danbury is getting impatient because she knows that Simon and Daphne are an extraordinary match.

Taking Simon’s advice

Late at night and as advised, Daphne shuts the door to her bedroom and touches herself; she imagines the brief touching of hands with Simon and their dancing. The next day, she finishes her piano piece, and Eloise tells her to give it a name.

Simon announces that they are no longer friends

Later in the day, Simon tells Daphne that their arrangement is over because she has a bevvy of suitors available. Daphne gets frustrated and wonders what she has done wrong. He tells her the Prince is perfectly right for her and that they can never be friends — he calls her a convenience and a diversion. As he walks off, Daphne cries. Simon then goes back to his estate and states he wants to leave England as soon as possible. At this point in the series, we can assume that they are both in love with each other, and Simon is painfully pushing her away due to his own personal circumstances.

A jealous Anthony visits Siena

Anthony visits Siena Rosso in an unexpected visit. Siena is clearly offhand about his visit after be broke up with her. Anthony asks if she’s using Simon. Siena confirms that Simon did not respond to her and tells Anthony that he’s jealous. He tries kissing Siena, but she pushes him off; she is tired of broken promises.

Marina is heartbroken, and Lady Whistledown is manipulative

Marina finally receives a letter from her lover. He tells her that they didn’t have anything and had no part in her pregnancy. Flashbacks show Lady Featherington writing the letter herself to fool Marina. This is her way to encourage Marina to find another suitor in her life — it’s highly manipulative.

Wipe the tears and prepare for a new day

The next day, Daphne puts on a brave face as she prepares for a new social event. Meanwhile, Lady Violet Bridgerton gives Anthony a list of women she suggests to court — she tells him that “time is of the essence”.

The ending

Daphne and Marina attend the ball. They are both ready to move on after recent heartbreaks. Daphne turns up in a white and silver sequin dress, and the men are transfixed on her, including Prince Friedrich. Simon is there, and he must be dying inside. Daphne approaches the Prince, and he asks for the first dance. The Queen looks on satisfied; Simon looks devastated, and he walks off. You have to admire Daphne here for wiping away the tears and not allowing a man to dismantle her character — she walked into the Ball with pride.

It’s all getting dramatic in Bridgerton season 1, episode 3 as relationships get juicily complicated and sexual tensions reach boiling point between the two lead characters. This is definitely an addictive series so far.

Additional points
  • Anthony asks Eloise Bridgerton if she is Lady Whistledown because she’s a good writer. She denies it.

Netflix, TV Recaps
View all