Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 4 Explained – Penelope Has a Serious Suitor (or Two)

By Daniel Hart
Published: May 16, 2024
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Colin Bridgerton and Penelope in Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 4
Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 4 - "Old Friends" (Credit - Netflix)


Well, it’s not surprising that the halfway point of Bridgerton Season 3 ended on a banger. This is quite normal for this series. The same happened in season 1 when Daphne and the Duke of Hastings suddenly could not help themselves with their feelings. But I’ll be honest — I never expected Season 3 to escalate Penelope’s storyline with Colin so quickly. I expected a slow-burner like Season 2. Episode 4, “Old Friends,” sees Colin Bridgerton getting desperate while Penelope has a serious suitor.

Lady Danbury is Annoyed by Lord Anderson

So it appears Lady Danbury has more to contend with than pleasing the Queen in Season 3. Remember in Season 2 when Danbury told Kate that she’s had a life of love and loss? Well, she has a new challenge, and episode 4 keeps it vague.

Lord Marcus Anderson has arrived in town. Lady Danbury has lunch with him but urgently wants to finish the meal immediately. Later on in episode 4, Lord Anderson turns up at the Ball and speaks to Lady Bridgerton. He seems to have no red flags, and the Lady seems happy to talk to him. Marcus reveals he is widowed, like Lady Bridgerton, and he still wishes for a love match one day.

Later on, Lord Anderson tries to speak to Lady Danbury again, but she brushes him off, signaling to the audience that this will serve as a wider subplot later.

Lord Marcus Anderson in Bridgerton Season 3

Lord Marcus Anderson (Daniel Francis) in Bridgerton Season 3 (Credit – Netflix)

Francesca Has a Love Match, or So It Seems

In Season 3 of Bridgerton, Francesca’s story is evolving as much as Penelope’s, and she may have found a love match. In episode 4, John Stirling, Earl of Kilmarin, visits Francesca at the Bridgerton estate. All they do is sit silently and smile while the Bridgerton family looks on, confused. But then, Lord Samadani arrives, breaking up their moment.

However, with a love match comes confusion, and while Francesca appears more interested in John Stirling, an awkward encounter causes her to react and tell her mother that there are no feelings.

However, later on in episode 4, Lord Kilmartin gives Francesca a gift and states he’s not a “man of words.” Happy but overwhelmed with the gesture, Francesca leaves the Ball. Meanwhile, the Queen looks on, displeased that her match with the presumed Diamond is not working.

At times, I feel that it would have been good if Francesca got her own season of Bridgerton.

Francesca Bridgerton and Lord Kilmartin Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 4

Francesca Bridgerton and Lord Kilmartin enjoy sitting in silence with each other in Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 4 – “Old Friends” (Credit – Netflix)

Lord Debling Wants to Propose Marriage to Penelope

Episode 4 sees momentum for Lord Debling and Penelope. The Featherington family is surprised to see Penelope find a suitor, but she also seems unphased, mainly due to Colin’s lessons.

So, Penelope continues to spend time with Lord Debling. They share their passions and interests and essentially plan what marriage life would look like for them. Unsurprisingly, Portia Featherington has given Lord Debling her blessing so that he can marry her daughter. Penelope is unsure about this news, and Portia is dismayed that her daughter is still clinging on for a love match over security.

With this on her mind, Penelope tests Lord Debling at the Ball—she asks him if he believes love will eventually grow if they marry. He doesn’t give her a brilliant answer, but it’s pretty clear he’d be a good husband and resourceful. I think that’s what I enjoy about this story between Penelope and Lord Debling; she’s proven she can catch herself a wealthy suitor. She underestimated herself before.

A Desperate Colin Stops Lord Debling’s Marriage Proposal

It’s quite painful to watch Colin Bridgerton in episode 4. He continues to sleep with women, appears depressed, his mother is concerned about him, and he can’t even socialize properly. Colin has become a shadow of himself. Lady Bridgerton even has to give him a pep talk, reminding him to prioritize himself. But something sparks within him when his mother explains that Lord Debling will be proposing to Penelope.

Suddenly, his depression is gone. He arrives at the Ball and immediately interrupts the dance between Debling and Penelope. He tells her she cannot marry Debling as she will not be happy with him. A flabbergasted Penelope explains how she’s going ahead with the marriage. Things turn argumentative, so Penelope runs after Lord Debling.

However, Debling raises the elephant in the room—he believes Colin and Penelope have feelings for each other (and he’s right). He announces his plans to propose.

It Gets Steamy and Escalates Between Colin and Penelope

Colin Bridgerton Penelope kiss Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 4

Colin Bridgerton and Penelope Featherington get intimate in Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 4 – “Old Friends” (Credit – Netflix)

I’m shocked at how this episode ends, to be honest with you. My mouth was agape. Colin chases after Penelope and joins her in the horse and carriage. Panicking like Anakin Skywalker, he asks Penelope if Lord Debling proposes. What follows is Colin’s confession that he cares for Penelope, and he finally admits he has feelings for her. He spills out all his thoughts and feelings: whatever that kiss between them did in episode 3, it’s completely re-wired his systems.

And does Penelope reject him? Of course not. All those years of curiosity and pent-up hormones come to the surface, and she makes it known that she wants to be more than friends. Colin and Penelope kiss again, but there’s more physical intent this time. The hottest part is when she gives him a slight nod of approval when he’s about to finger her. She’s waited for a long time for this.

But then it escalates further. When the carriage arrives at the Bridgerton estate, Colin asks Penelope to marry him.

Ladies, shoot your shot — it clearly works. But on a serious note, seeing Penelope transform from a hopeless romantic, secret journalist to completely opening herself up physically to Colin worked far more than I expected it to.

Lady Whistledown’s Telegram

Here are a few plot points that are worthy of note in Episode 4:

  • Lady Tilley Arnold and Benedict Bridgerton have started a secret romance.
  • Prudence and Philipa both realize they may be pregnant after specific symptoms.
  • Lady Danbury tells Alice that Will should be at the Ball because the Queen will not look at them favorably if he continues to run a club.

You can check out more of my coverage of Bridgerton Season 3 with my explanation of episode 3.

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