Bridgerton season 3 episode 6 recap: Colin unearths the shocking truth

Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington in Bridgerton season 3 episode 6
Nicola Coughlan as Penelope Featherington. (Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024)

All eight episodes of Bridgerton season 3 are finally here, and although we had a bit of a wait between part one and part two thanks to Netflix releasing the season in two halves, the whole season is now available to stream worldwide. 

This season follows the romance between Penelope Featherington and Colin Bridgerton as their friendship turns to romance... and of course, it has been far from plain sailing for the couple. But while they finally got together at the end of part one, there is still the looming secret of Lady Whistledown threatening to shatter their happiness... 

Victor Alli as John Stirling, Hannah Dodd as Francesca Bridgerton in episode 306 of Bridgerton.

Lord Kilmartin and Francesca announce their engagement to the family. (Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024)

The fifth episode of season 3 opens with everyone on the ton wondering where their latest Whistledown paper is. With Cressida 'confessing' that she is the author in episode 5, there is now a shortage of gossip in Mayfair. Meanwhile, the real Lady Whistledown, Penelope, has been hiding away after her fainting incident and is desperately trying, but failing, to write a new paper. 

Colin comes to find Penelope, worried she is ill, and she tries to hide her inky hands from him. As the pair talk of their love for one another, Lady Featherington does a really bad job of pretending she isn't eavesdropping on their every word. After the pair have discussed Cressida's claims to be Whistledown, Colin presents Penelope with her engagement ring, which she is thrilled with... so thrilled with that she forgets her inky hands as he puts it on her finger. He questions her dirty hands and she claims she has been writing letters to everyone letting them know of their engagement and Colin seems to buy her lies. 

Over at Cressida's house, she is thrilled when her father tells her that the elderly man she was meant to be marrying has withdrawn his offer of marriage, but her happy mood is soon ruined when her fuming father reveals she is a disgrace to the family and will be moving to live with her aunt Jo in Wales. Her mother is more understanding, not believing for a moment that her daughter is Whistledown and trying to come up with a plan to make all this drama go away... but before they can come up with a plan, the Queen's soldiers arrive and announce that Queen Charlotte has demanded she comes to the palace immediately. 

As Lord Anderson calls to collect his hat from the Bridgerton House, it is clear that he is there for more than to pick up forgotten items and he flirts with Violet, who enjoys his attention. But soon she is distracted when Francesca and Lord Kilmartin announce that they are getting married. Everyone is pleased and now there is a second wedding in the family to organize. 

Adjoa Andoh as Lady Agatha Danbury, Daniel Francis as Lord Anderson in episode 306 of Bridgerton

Lady Danbury isn't happy about her brother's attraction to Violet.  (Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024)

Colin and Eloise talk about Cressida being Whistledown and he asks if she knew. At first, Eloise thinks he is talking about Penelope and almost blows her cover, but quickly works out their crossed wires and keeps Penelope's secret when she realizes just how heartbroken Colin would be if he found out the truth - and that she had also been lying to him all this time, as well as Penelope.  

Eloise goes to see Penelope, who is still trying to write her next Whistledown paper and asks her to give up writing the gossip and instead focus on her marriage to Colin. At first, Penelope is upset about the prospect of giving up her life's work, but she knows Eloise is right and she can't have Wistledown and Colin in her life. 

Over at the palace Queen Charlotte meets with Cressida and makes it clear she doesn't believe for a moment that she is Whistledown. The Queen tells Cressida that she will get the £5000 reward as soon as she publishes her next paper... something she knows she can only do if she really is Whistledown. Cressida panics, knowing that she has got her work cut out and her mother tells her that if she cements her name as Whistledown by publishing a paper, then no one will marry her, to which Cressida points out that no one will marry her now. 

Francesca and Lord Kilmartin are upset when Violet says they should wait to announce their engagement, knowing that the Queen isn't going to be too happy about it, having set her sights on matching Francesca with someone else. But the couple say that's why they want to ask the Queen for her blessing, and they want Violet to talk to the monarch for them. 

As the Featheringtons start planning Penelope's wedding, she is hiding in her room, claiming she still doesn't feel well, but really is stewing over the fact she has to give up her Whistledown papers. But Portia goes to see her daughter and in a rare moment of warmth she tells Penelope that she is lucky, she has a love match with a very eligible man, and she should not take it for granted. 

Luke Newton as Colin Bridgerton in episode 306 of Bridgerton

Eloise realises that finding out Penelope's secret would leave him heartbroken.  (Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024)

At church the next morning Colin and Penelope's bands are read, and to their relief, no one opposes their wedding, which is to take place in three weeks time. As everyone else files out of the church, Colin and Penelope share a moment together, where Colin presses Penelope on what it was she wanted to talk to him about. But instead of confessing about Whistledown, she tells him that she has been in love with him since the moment they met, and they dance, looking like the picture of happiness.

Outside the church, Lady Danbury, who is annoyed with her brother's flirting with Violet, tries to set him up with another widow. Meanwhile, Eloise is shocked to see Cressida hovering around and goes to talk to her. Knowing she has got her work cut out pretending to be Whistledown, Cressida asks Eloise to be her writing partner. However, secretly knowing that she is lying about being Whistledown, Eloise tells her no and that they are no longer friends. 

That night, Penelope hides her writing things under her floorboards, and burns her collection of Lady Whistledown papers, making the decision that she is going to put that part of her life aside so she can focus on marrying Colin. But in a sad reminder of what she is giving up for marriage, we then see Colin in contrast happily writing his travel memoirs. 

Under Lady Danbury's guidance, Mr and Mrs Mondrich plan a ball and invite the Queen, while Penelope throws herself into wedding planning. But things are still sour for Cressida who is struggling to write her first Whistledown. Her mother tells her that her father has withdrawn her dowry, and so now they need that £5000 from the Queen more than ever to secure her a husband from the continent or the countryside. 

Benedict, who is clearly falling for Lady Tilley Arnold, agrees to meet a friend of hers called Paul for dinner that night. He grills Benedict on his interests and when they later go for a smoke, Benedict asks him why he and Lady Arnold were never a couple if they are such good friends. Paul hints that he is more interested in Benedict than Tilley, and soon the friends ask Benedict to join them upstairs, an idea he is shocked by, and he makes a hasty exit. 

At the Mondrich ball, the Queen seems underwhelmed by the whole evening until they unveil a stunning flowery centerpiece and soon the mood lifts when Queen Charlotte shows her appreciation. But soon the drama of the evening ramps up when Cressida arrives uninvited and with her brings with her a Whistledown announcement telling everyone that a new paper is imminent. Soon Eloise is panicking and Penelope is forced to take her out of the room, while Queen Charlotte is quietly impressed and tells Cressida that she is looking forward to tomorrow's edition of the paper. 

Meanwhile, Francesca asks her mother to talk to the Queen there and then, but she refuses, telling her daughter it isn't the time. Francesca notes her reluctance to talk to the monarch and tells her that she loves Lord Kilmartin and that even if it isn't the match her mother wanted for her, she intends to marry him. 

Violet leaves the ball upset and Lord Anderson goes after her, only to be stopped in his tracks by Lady Danbury and we finally find out what the siblings have been warring about all this time. Lord Anderson thought it was because he was the family favorite, being the firstborn son, but Lady Danbury reveals it is because he ruined her chance of happiness by telling their father that she was trying to run away the night before her wedding. 

Jessica Madsen as Cressida Cowper in episode 306 of Bridgerton

Cressida is the talk of the ton after claiming to be Lady Whistledown.  (Image credit: Liam Daniel/Netflix © 2024)

Eloise tells Penelope that they have created a monster in Cressida and that she can't believe she has somehow written something coherent. She tells Penelope that Cressida now has almost as much power over the ton as the Queen and she has put all her family in danger once again by inviting her into her family home. 

Worried, they come up with a plan where Penelope will write one more paper in which she will discredit Cressida and put an end to her power. But as Penelope hastily writes and takes it to her printers in disguise and under the cover of darkness, Colin catches her in the act and finally the penny drops that she is Lady Whistlesown. Let the fallout commence! 

All episodes of Bridgerton season 3 are available on Netflix now. 

Claire Crick
Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch

Claire is Assistant Managing Editor at What To Watch and has been a journalist for over 15 years, writing about everything from soaps and TV to beauty, entertainment, and even the Royal Family. After starting her career at a soap magazine, she ended up staying for 13 years, and over that time she’s pulled pints in the Rovers Return, sung karaoke in the Emmerdale village hall, taken a stroll around Albert Square, and visited Summer Bay Surf Club in sunny Australia. 

After learning some tricks of the trade at websites Digital Spy, Entertainment Daily, and Woman & Home, Claire landed a role at What’s On TV and writing about all things TV and film, with a particular love for Aussie soaps, Strictly Come Dancing and Bake Off

She’s interviewed everyone from June Brown — AKA Dot Cotton — to Michelle Keegan, swapped cooking tips with baking legend Mary Berry backstage at the NTAs, and danced the night away with soap stars at countless awards bashes. There’s not a lot she doesn’t know about soaps and TV and can be very handy when a soapy question comes up in a pub quiz! 

As well as all things soap-related, Claire also loves running, spa breaks, days out with her kids, and getting lost in a good book.