Bridgerton season 1, episode 5 recap – what happened in “The Duke and I”?

By Daniel Hart
Published: December 25, 2020 (Last updated: February 9, 2024)
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Netflix series Bridgerton season 1, episode 5 - The Duke and I


“The Duke and I” is tense and steamy as everything the story has worked for previously leads to a pivotal moment that will change the remaining chapters of the series.

This recap of Netflix’s Bridgerton season 1, episode 5, “The Duke and I” contains significant spoilers.

We have recapped every episode — check out the archive.

The opening

“The Duke and I” opens up with Daphne frantically getting changed. She’s extremely anxious after recent events. She then leaves her bed and speaks to her mother — she tells her that she is engaged. Lady Violet Bridgerton assumes she’s going to be a princess. Daphne corrects her and states she will be marrying the Duke of Hastings. Her mother is pleased. Daphne wonders if they can obtain a special license immediately to marry; her mother isn’t sure why she wants to marry immediately, but she’s happy for her.

The Queen learns that Prince Friedrich has lost out to Daphne to the Duke of Hastings and she does not look pleased. Lady Whistledown wonders if Daphne is concealing a scandal. The Queen wants the Prince to fight for Daphne. A lot is riding on “The Duke and I”, but Daphne is determined to marry Simon and squash rumors of what happened in the garden.

The Prince seems to take it well

Daphne speaks to Prince Friedrich and apologizes for not engaging with him. He is understanding about it, and Daphne explains how she’s in love with him. The Prince takes the news gracefully. All looks well at this stage of the episode.

Simon’s withdrawal

Daphne then meets Simon, and they walk and talk. Simon does not seem to be happy at all — he looks on the edge and nervous. When others congratulate them on their engagement and wish them a healthy family, Simon withdraws — not being able to have children is a great insecurity for him.

Penelope isn’t happy about Marina and Colin

Colin Bridgerton visits Marina Thompson — he is showing himself as a suitor. Penelope looks on as the pair flirts and keeps interrupting them — Penelope is irked by a potential engagement and raises it with her mother.

A bitter conversation between Daphne and Cressida

While trying on a dress, Daphne has a private conversation with Cressida. The conversation turns strange when Cressida recalls seeing Daphne with Simon in the gardens with no chaperone. She believes Daphne trapped the Duke in a marriage. Daphne warns Cressida about her words and reminds her she’s going to be a Duchess. Cressida wonders if Daphne can even take the Duke down the aisle. “The Duke and I” highlights the severity of being dishonored and the risk it can have socially and reputationally in the 1800s as part of the marriage market.

Denied a special license

When Anthony and Simon visit the church for a special license, the Archbishop of Canterbury denies it. Daphne is fretting as she doesn’t want rumours to be leaked of what happened in the garden. Lady Danbury and Lady Violet Bridgerton are shocked; Lady Danbury believes it is the Queen who influenced the church — she tells Daphne and Simon to give the Queen attention, but not to beg.

Marina’s plans

Lady Featherington talks to Marina about the man she has put forward for her and wonders why she is sulking. Marina is interested in Colin Bridgerton, but Lady Featherington tells her to cut off Colin. Marina tells Lady Featherington that if she marries a Bridgerton, then she will be connecting her family to a powerful family. She plans to seduce Colin; Penelope overhears the conversation.

Confiding with a servant

Daphne raises in confidence to one of her servants, Rose, that Simon cannot have children. Rose tells her that her Aunt and Uncle cannot have children, but they love each other very much. Daphne seems to care for Simon, which is why this is a dilemma for her. This is a warming scene in “The Duke and I”; it’s less about having children but more about how they feel about each other which the servant reminds her of.

Persuading the Queen

Daphne and Simon visit the Queen as advised. The Queen asks them to plead their case about a special license. Daphne iterates that they are very much in love and it was “love at first sight”. Simon denies it was “love at first sight”, but after they pretended to court, they found something greater. Simon is using honesty to persuade the Queen — he talks about how much he loves to be in her company and how much she is his best friend. These words impact Daphne — she’s shocked, and her eyes are filled in love. The Queen asks Daphne if she wishes to marry Simon. Bridgerton season 1, episode 5 is showing how vulnerable Simon has become; he does not seem to understand that Daphne is vulnerable as well.

The wedding and the party

And then it is to the wedding; Anthony walks Daphne down the aisle. It’s a small audience — noticeably, Simon is not giving Daphne much eye contact. At the wedding party, Cressida is already licking Daphne’s arse after their recent disagreements.

Don’t marry Colin!

Penelope tells Marina not to trap Colin into a marriage. Marina argues her case for engagement with Colin; Lady Featherington then delivers the news that Lord Routledge is engaged to be married, and she must speed it up with Colin. Penelope is going to be a factor in this subplot; she clearly wants to intervene and prevent any marriage with Colin.

Alone time with Colin

Marina makes sure that she’s alone with Colin in a room where they cannot be seen. She tries kissing him, but Colin tells her that he must maintain her honor because she’s a lady. As Marina walks off, Colin asks her to marry him by the end of the season. He doesn’t want to say anything as it is his sister’s day.

A nervous Daphne

At the wedding party, Daphne is overwhelmed by the occasion and finds a room for herself — there’s pressure on her to “perform” on wedding night with various comments implying sex. Her mother joins her, and Daphne expresses how it seems strange to have a husband. Daphne is nervous about having sex with Simon, and her mother tries to talk to her about it; she states that this act is to have children. Daphne raises the possibility of not being able to have children, but her mother reminds her that they care deeply for each other. There’s plenty of maturity in the story considering the time it represents, but it still works.

A new life together

As soon as the party ends, Daphne has to join Simon in the carriage to start their new life together. The family watch as they ride off. It’s quite an emotional moment. As they ride, Simon tells Daphne that they need to stay at an Inn on the way as the journey is too far. Daphne is not amused — but the same tension that was present in their wedding ceremony remains.

Wedding night

At the Inn, Simon requests a separate room. They are both acting odd around each other, and they pace their rooms. Daphne then gets upset and tells Simon that she’s wanted to be alone with him for three days. Simon believes he’s causing Daphne misery and has been in agony; he brings up the life of family and children that he cannot provide. As Daphne gets more upset, Simon tells her that everything he told the Queen is true — “My thoughts of you never end”. Audiences will be on edge for these moments — it’s like the 1800s 50 Shades of Grey. 

Burning for each other

Daphne does not understand, and Simon gets frustrated — he believes Daphne does not feel the same for him as he does for her. He tells her he burns for her. Daphne explains that if he looked at her for more than two seconds over the course of a week, he would have seen that she burns for him too — “It is you I cannot sacrifice”.

The ending

Finally, the couple kiss, and Simon tells her that he wants to show her more. Intimate scenes follow; the drama really articulates how much the couple has wanted each other for so long as it leads to sex.

Bridgerton season 1, episode 5 is tense and steamy as everything the story has worked for previously leads to a pivotal moment that will change the remaining chapters of the series.

Additional points
  • Eloise is anxious in “The Duke and I”, knowing that she will be next in line for marriage.
  • Anthony tries to see Siena Rosso, but she’s gone. Her friend tells Anthony to leave her alone. Later on, Anthony goes to a brothel to release his frustrations.
  • The Queen tells George that Amelia was ill several years ago and that she’s gone. George is confused; he’s clearly suffering from something in a mental capacity.
  • Eloise is still trying to find out who Lady Whistledown is and asks Lady Danbury. The Queen overhears and asks Eloise everything she has found out about the author.

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