Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 5 Explained: A £5,000 Reward for the Identity of Lady Whistledown

By Daniel Hart
Published: June 13, 2024
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Colin and Penelope in Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 5 - Tick Tock
(L-R) Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton share a kiss in Season 3, Episode 5 "Tick Tock" (Credit - Netflix)


Colin Bridgerton is not messing about, and if you have doubts about his intentions since Episode 4, then Episode 5, “Tick Tock”, relieves all fears. Season 3 continues to intensify the transformation of Penelope’s life with the burden of Lady Whistledown hanging over her. However, the fifth episode brings an exciting twist, as Cressida Cowper flips the story upside down with a false confession. But before we get into that jaw-dropping ending, let’s break down a few things.

Colin Does Not Delay The Engagement Announcement, and Eloise Is Displeased

Colin in Bridgerton

Colin in Bridgerton Season 3 (Credit – Netflix)

It was adorable seeing Colin take Penelope’s hand, whisk her inside the Bridgerton estate, and announce to everyone that they are engaged to be married. Pen’s world slows down as she realizes her life is changing forever.

But of course, the issue with Penelope is her friendship with Eloise, who disapproves of the engagement. Privately, she tells Pen that she should tell Colin she is Lady Whistledown.

Not only that, but Penelope also has to deal with her dysfunctional family. Her mother, Portia Featherington, learns of the engagement via Lady Whistledown’s telegram, and understandably, she’s furious that her daughter did not tell her directly (and that she’s lost out on a secure life with Lord Debling). Cruelly, she puts doubt into Penelope’s head about whether Colin loves her, which is sweetly confirmed when Colin walks into the conversation and expresses his loving feelings for her.

Season 3 is knocking it out of the park with these impactful moments. We needed to know whether Colin proposed out of love or lust, and it’s a relief for Team Penelope that it is love.

Colin and Penelope Deliver A NSFW Sex Scene

Penelope and Colin Bridgerton sex scene in Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 5

Penelope and Colin Bridgerton have a steamy sex scene in Season 3, Episode 5 (Credit – Netflix)

If you thought that Seasons 1 and 2 brought the raunchiest of sex scenes and steam, then Nicola Coughlan (Pen) and Luke Newton (Colin) decided to up the levels equivalent to a promotional OnlyFans clip.

Seeing Penelope navigate sex with Colin for the first time was indeed something. Ultimately, her surprise that she’s having these intimate moments with him in the first place is what makes the scenes engaging. The make-up department went all-in to make it look like a hot experience, especially with Penelope’s seemingly flushed face as Colin gives her instructions. But the biggest takeaway was the lovingness between them, which was full of affirmations and care.

For fans rooting for these two, you’ve been truly rewarded.

Queen Charlotte Ups the Investigation into Lady Whistledown

The topic of Lady Whistledown has felt comedic up until now. But Penelope’s personal life being on the line feels serious, which is a credit to the writers for catching us off guard. Queen Charlotte brings the heat to discover who Lady Whistledown is and advertises a £5,000 reward for anyone who reveals the secret journalist.

This plot point shows Eloise’s brutality as she pressures her ex-friend Penelope to tell Colin by midnight that she’s Lady Whistledown amidst a Ball. Pen finds this problematic because Colin is adamant that he wants Lady Whistledown punished, and she’s not confident she would be forgiven if he found out.

And the pressure gets to Penelope — during charades at the Ball, the identity of Lady Whistledown is murmured amongst the crowd, and Pen suffers a panic attack.

Cressida Cowper Brings Main Character Energy

Cressida Cowper (R) decides to put fate into her own hands (Credit – Netflix)

But amongst the madness of the Lady Whistledown investigation is the near-plight of Cressida Cowper, who has been ordered to have an arranged marriage with Lord Greer by her father. The family feels her time is running out, so they have matched her with an older man she is not attracted to, and, despite his old age, he wants four to five children with her.

So, the Lady Whistledown investigation becomes uniquely interesting, allowing Cressida Cowper to be a main character rather than a side plot. The public knows that if Lady Whistledown is revealed, the secret journalist will be unable to marry due to the scrutiny. Plus, there’s a hefty reward of £5,000.

A desperate Cressida Cowper sees this as an opportunity to escape the forthcoming arranged marriage. At the Ball, she announces to everyone that she is Lady Whistledown (when she isn’t), believing she will be unavailable for marriage and gain £5,000 to enjoy a new life.

To say this is an ingenious twist in the Lady Whistledown story is an understatement, and seeing Penelope and Eloise’s faces, as Cressida takes all the credit, was worth the patience.

Lady Whistledown’s Telegram

Here are a few plot points that are worthy of note in Episode 5:

  • Anthony and Kate Sharma reveal they are pregnant and expecting a child.
  • The weird tension between Lord Anderson and Lady Danbury continues.
  • Queen Charlotte is surprised that Francesca Bridgerton has picked Lord Kilmartin as her marriage match.

What was your favorite moment from Bridgerton Season 3, Episode 5? Was it the Cressida Cowper twist or Colin and Penelope’s intense moments? Comment below.


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